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Last week I discussed “a request we often get from home schooling parents.” So, how do we respond to that request for help in escaping school? How do we direct those who desire to switch from status quo school based education to real education at home?
I do have a few quick answers to encourage parents in their quest to escape school, but it is not that easy. My answer is usually in the form of “look at what school does and don’t do that.” Another similar answer is, “do what the school is not doing.” My favourite is simply summarized as “just be a family.”
However, before proceeding with this topic, one should address a very common misconception about unschooling, one undoubtedly created by unquestioned adherence to status quo systemic education.
Most importantly, unschooling is not, and I mean NOT un-parenting. This concern is so deeply rooted in the intransigent normalization of school that people do not even hear themselves when they express it.
One need only ask one question to put this issue away. Has there been any documented example of a school giving birth to a child? No? Then un-parenting is more likely a school based problem. Case closed.
Unschooling is NOT unlearning. One cannot stop learning from taking place any more than stopping breathing, sneezing or other involuntary actions. Even though most learning requires some kind of action, it will happen.
All that is required for learning to take place is to have the opportunity to learn. Parents are usually best equipped to provide the appropriate opportunity for each child’s learning experience.
Unschooling is NOT undisciplined. Truthfully, sometimes the only discipline learned in school is how to survive in a system made to program children. Discipline is best described as doing what you have to do even when you do not want to do it. Family life provides ample opportunities to learn discipline, with or without books.
Unschooling is NOT unstructured. Family comes with a built in need for structure. Most things related to structure are quickly learned and remembered. No need to worry about that.
Unschooling is not “unChristian.” In fact, the Bible gives us no directives to send our children to school, but rather instructs parents to train and teach their children. This, of course, questions the legitimacy of Christian schools, but that is another issue for some other time.
Unschooling is NOT disconnected from society but rather uses it as a training ground for producing contributing members to it.
Unschooling is NOT necessarily without use of curriculum, although many understand it well enough to be comfortable without using curriculum. However, one must understand that one needs resources to learn. Needless to say, books, magazines, computers, internet, etc., etc. are always involved in some way.
Unschooling occurs when parents become comfortable with the idea that children cannot be created by anything other than parents; that parents are best equipped to train and teach their children; that learning is natural and simply needs an opportunity; and most importantly, they believe that the children will do just fine if the fundamental skills are taught and the children are encouraged to apply them in learning what interests them.
One more thing. While unschooling does NOT adhere to public school programming and accreditation, it does NOT restrict students from transitioning to the post-secondary level.
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