Take every negative thing you’ve heard about this form of education, and throw it out the window. Please read this post with a fresh, open-minded perspective and give my article a chance!
First, backstory time….I went to public school through 3rd grade, and started 4th at home…We used My Father’s World and my mom was (sub-conciously) trying to model our home education after public school….Which was just not wise for me. We had a STRICT schedule and I was so ‘pushed’ to do a lot of school that I wasn’t really learning anything. We did EVERY SINGLE THING, PROJECT, WORKSHEET OR PAGE ASSIGNED. So, yes, it was stressful. (This is by no means a reflection on MFW..They’re a great curriculum…It just wasn’t for US.) THEN, we took a major break for around a year because births, deaths and moves were happening so much that we just couldn’t focus on sitting down for hours straight and doing school. So, when we moved into our current home, we decided to do something that was a MAJOR leap of faith for us. We started unschooling.
Flash forward to 1 year in this home. We’ve taken a lighter attitude to our education, and I’ll have to say, I’ve never enjoyed learning so much until now! Every day we learn about something different and we use movies, the internet, books (LOTS OF READING) and discussion. Just last week I was doing nothing but history and I was studying WWII and reading Hitler’s Last Days by Bill O’ Reilly. This week, I’ve taken a break on history and I’m now working exclusively on Geography, Science, and Math (specifically pre-algebra). With this format of learning, we HAVE FREEDOM!! If we want to have a 1-hour Bible Study, or a 3-hour science project, or if we want to meet up at the park with some friends on a gorgeous 70 degree day, WE CAN! If your child has difficulty in one subject you are able to cut out time (and not feel guilty for pushing aside other subjects) YOU CAN!
My mom (because of my age and personality) has allowed ME to choose material each day AND had given me the time I need to dabble in my interests like: photography, blogging, baking, reading, hosting Bible Studies and even NaNoWriMo! I wouldn’t have had the time, energy or inspiration to accomplish these tasks if I was doing 4-5 hours of coffee table education every day.
There have been many stories of moms who chose to be different, who fought against the tide and all the ugly looks sent their way, and their kids graduated High School (and college) with flying colors. So, you can force your child to sit down and learn their phonics and their sight words, and by some miracle you might be able to get them to pay attention, they seldom enjoy it. What a pity, right? If education is supposed to be self-lead, and kids ought to be teaching themselves, shouldn’t the foundation of their early years be enjoyed? Will they learn as fully and richly later on if they start elementary with a bad taste in their mouth? It’s time we do something different. Something that challenges us. Yes, it’s scary. But isn’t the rest of life just as un-predictable? It’s worth the “risk”.
So, can you honestly say that your kids are spellbound by the events in the Revolutionary War? Are they addicted to scouring the pages of science picture books? If so, that’s so wonderful. They will do well in life if they love to learn… But if they don’t, I strongly suggest you pray about this topic, unschooling has worked wonders in my life!
I find such magical freedom in the thought that if I wanted to spend my “hours of school” sitting in a corner reading a living book, well I most certainly can! THAT my friends, is true freedom.
-By His Grace,
P.S. Do you have any questions about the unschooling attitude/lifestyle? Do you unschool?