This week, I want to talk philosophy - educational philosophy, unschooling philosophy. I know, that sounds a bit… lofty. But we need to.
We’ve spent decades letting other people tell us what education is, or what learning should look like. Unfortunately, most of us weren’t listening to the right people! But we’ve been conditioned to “trust these experts” when it comes to education and even parenting. Educational research has been shouting about changes that should happen - in classrooms, with children, in all kids of learning situations. The problem is that school systems are big bureaucratic machines that don’t make changes easily - and, they’re not listening!
So when we think about home education, we tend to duplicate what’s familiar to us.
This happens for a variety of reasons - mostly centering around fear. We’re doing something quite unconventional, so we want to move through the fearful part and get to some comfortable spot as soon as possible. But the “comfortable spot” may not really be in your (or your child’s) best interests. Yes, it alleviates the fear to some degree, but what if we sit with it for a bit and explore what’s there?
So much research has been done about how children learn. The homeschooling advantage is that we can look at it, apply it, and create a truly customized learning experience - no bureaucracy or red tape to sift through! And then, when we see something not working out right, we can pivot right away. These are huge advantages!
Since we’re moving away from a one-size-fits all model, it will take some self-discovery and introspection. You have to give yourself some time to figure out what’s right for you and your family. Your ideas about all of this will change over time as you see what works and what doesn't - and your fears stop guiding your choices.
I believe we have a lot of wisdom inside us. We certainly have a lot of personal experience in these areas - we've been students, children, teens, and now parents. We've also worked, volunteered and been around a lot of humans over several decades!
Because of all this Life Experience, I believe you know a lot about what works and what doesn't. And in those areas where you'd like to grow your knowledge base a little more? You're finding resources to do just that. Like right here!
When I first started homeschooling, someone told me,
You're going to have to develop your OWN philosophy about children and how they learn, including how you want to parent and connect with them.
To be honest, when I heard that, I thought, "Uh... okay."
I had no idea what she was talking about. I was focused on finding cool opportunities, great science kits, etc. But over time, I learned what she meant.
Underlying beliefs influence how we connect with our kids and within our families. Obviously, many of us need a lot of deschooling, when it comes to the learning part.
But focusing on being intentional about what we're trying to do, and why we're making all this effort, can really help.
For me, it had to do with believing that children were inherently good - they weren't always trying to "get away with something." It was coming to see that curiosity and loving learning as a natural part of being alive - not something I had to orchestrate or make happen.
Most of us carry good and bad memories of our own childhood school experiences. And because we spent so many hours IN school, we have to look at those years to dismantle it a bit.
What was necessary? And what simply wasn’t?
In an effort to tap into your own banks of information, I have a few exercises for you to do. (In my Creating Confidence Membership There's no formula. It's about identifying what YOUR priorities are, what YOUR OWN experiences have been, and opening up to the idea that these are your choices to make - not in stone, but where you are right now. You have the flexibility to change it a little as you go. This is going to help you gain some clarity on what you'd like to bring forward from your own experiences, and what you'd like to leave behind.
So that’s it from me for ths time. Have a great week with your families, and I’ll see you online.
Ready for more Unschooling Resources?
Sue Patterson has created a variety of worksheets and PDFs to help you be successful at unschooling.
All you have to do is tap into her group membership program: Creating Confidence.
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