It’s funny, because everyone knows there is no such thing as the perfect parent, perfect child or even perfect family. Catch someone in a rational moment and they will tell you as much. They may even admit to their own faults and imperfections, if you know them well.
Why is it, then, that when discussing unschooling, people nitpick at its’ imperfections? Even though, in my humble opinion, they are far fewer than the imperfections to be found in our compulsory educational system.
Or, on the flip side, why do people say they ‘could never do that’ when told about unschooling, going on to say that they don’t have the patience for it and that I must be a saint.
Ha! That’s a laugh. Amy – The Saintly Patient One – is not a moniker anyone would hang on me, I can assure you.
The question is not – or should not be – is unschooling perfect. Of course it isn’t. And neither are the families who learn this way. If you’re looking for perfection, you’re not going to find it here.
But is it the best option in a rapidly changing world where technologies come and go at the blink of an eye, economies rise and fall in the span of less than decade and easy access to information has made learning about any subject available to anyone with a computer? I believe that it is. It has a lot of things going for it, including constant exposure to ‘the real world’ which schools like to say they are preparing kid for, but which they don’t. Not really. It is my belief that when children grow up as an integral part of a family, with all its’ rhythms and routines, they acquire a sense of comfort and a confidence not as readily found among children who from a very young age spend the bulk of their time locked away (literally, these days) in school and apart from their family. Unschooling gives them the skills to navigate the world, and it does it with no fuss or pomp or announcements of “Look at the Real World Skills we learned!” Unschooling doesn’t need all that.
Time and time again, people who meet my children for the first time tell me things like, “They’re amazing. You’ve done such a great job with them.” I don’t say this to brag. I say it because I don’t think I’ve done anything extraordinary except allow them to learn on their own and not force them into the mold of school. They are their own people; more so each and every day. I think pretty much any child who is brought up in love and respect will respond in kind. Kids learn what they see and experience. It’s not some great parenting secret or skill.
Life is the best teacher. The world is the best classroom. Unschooling allows constant, unlimited access to both.
Not perfect, but as good as it gets.