Anytime I do an interview (and I don’t do that many) it serves as a reaffirmation of why unschooling works for us – why we do what we do.
On Friday I was interviewed for an academic piece – there is irony in there somewhere, I’m sure – and was asked how I came to the decision to basically go against all the cultural norms in education and pursue something so far off the beaten path that most people have never even heard of it.
It’s a good question, and I had to think about it for a few minutes. Now that we are so many years in, it’s just our life and seems the obvious choice; but there must have been a time when I thought my own kids would go to school….right?
In my case, wrong. Not for the reasons you might think, however. I’ve never been one of those people who imagined what her life would be like when she was grown. I never daydreamed about my perfect husband, or the fairy tale wedding or how many kids I’d have, etc. So I never thought about my own kids going to school because I never thought that far in advance.
However, when Maya was born, the idea of homeschooling was in the back of my brain.
Where did it come from?
The easy answer is that we had friends in the city who homeschooled their kids, and their kids were amazing; comfortable around people of all ages, creative and happy. There is no doubt they were a large factor in our decision to keep our kids out of school.
Our association with them, however, only affirmed something that I think was planted in my brain many years before, by my senior English teacher. I’ve written about my experience in his class, and he was the first person in my memory to come right out and say what we all suspected; school is mostly tape recorder learning. Garbage.
Why am I telling you all this? Because every now and then I think it helps to remember how we came to this place. My daughter is 13 and a lot of her friends are choosing to enroll in high school next year. She has no desire to do so and is confident in her own life’s path, but as parents and kids all around us discuss this high school versus that one, and all the amazing programs available and auditions and tests etc., I find that there are days when I’m the one wondering if we are still on the right path.
And then I get asked the question, “How did you come to the point where you chose unschooling?” Answering the question for someone else always assuages my own doubt. I’m reminded that my kids’ life and learning and the life of our family – that we now sometimes take for granted – is definitely still the best path for us.
So if you’re having a day of doubt, ask yourself the question. Answer it out loud for yourself if you need to. How did you get to the point where you chose unschooling? Remembering the answer – speaking it aloud – is a great way to reaffirm the life you are living and to see it with fresh eyes, all over again.