The phrase is oxymoronic.
Unschooling is a complete departure from anything school-like. It's living and learning without the limitations of school. That's the most basic literal meaning. But it really is so much more. It does conveys a sense of people leading their own educations which is something we value around here, but seems to imply a certain lack of structure. We have a definite routine around here and we do make decisions together on why and what we'll use or do, but does that mean we're not unschoolers? I don't think so.
Structure conjures up ideas and negative connotations: rigidness, confinement, predictability. mmmmmmmm
We started homeschooling quite 'schoolish' but our firstborn quickly cured me of all my wonderful ideas. "I don't want to do that", "Why do I have to write it out when I can just tell you, you're right here?", " That's boring", "But I don't like that book, do I have to read it?" ALL very good points, all great insights, all very wise from my child. If we let him do things he was interested in, he was immersed. If we forced him to do work he didn't want to do or couldn't see the sense in he was angry and frustrated and didn't learn much (unless it was "I hate school work.")
I am getting better at dropping the 'schoolish' ways and thinking that had me dictating every moment of his day. What we have kept doing is working together, making decisions together, reading together, making things together, drawing, painting and journal together. The fact that we routinely do these things everyday I guess makes us structured. I have come to terms with the fact that is how we are at the moment. I shall strike out structured and will find a more suitable word like routine or habit? I believe deprogramming for us as parents was one of the hardest parts of bringing our child home from school.
|Just a bit of construction before the blanket show. Gumnut was trying to work out what the most stable construction would be depending on how he laid the blocks.|
Whether a you are homeschooling or unschooling or somewhere in between it is very normal to have feelings of insecurity particularly when faced with concern or criticism from friends and relatives. Even as we settle into the world and lifestyle of home education we may still worry about how our children's self motivated, growing body of knowledge and experience compares to that of other children. We don't learn the same things or at the same time as others, we don't keep grades or test scores to compare or easily satisfy friends or relatives. We may not have a measure in units but we do see hat they continue to learn and learn enthusiastically.
I knew very little of driving a car as a child, but when I wanted my independence and wanted to drive I did what I had to, to learn how. I listened to my parents who taught me, I read the learners driver manual and took the tests, I practiced til I was confident and it worked.
Ways in which parents can help children learn things includes:
Introducing new topics.
Sharing with and helping children to seek knowledge and wisdom.
Initiating and participating in learning activities.
Providing guidance and instruction.
The unschooling lifestyle prompts us to question the true, heartfelt best interests of our children and ourselves and to embrace our true joy-seeking natures. The unschooling lifestyle encourages us to actively maintain a respectful, mindful attitude in our interactions with others in all that we do. Learning activities are not separate from the rest of family life.
And just like the metamorphosis of the monarch so our lives and home ed lifestyle is changing and growing into something better. Learning, knowledge and wisdom should always make our present and future decisions better ones and give context to those made in the past.
I have had many challenges come my way lately about how I am living day to day with my family. Things that make you re-evaluate the time we have here on earth and what are our goals as people and family living here together.
I had this message come through Facebook this week:
If you knew you only had a year more with that child, what would you expose him to? Where would you go? What would you eat? What would you watch? What would you do?If you had only ONE year—and then it was all over, what would you do? Four seasons. Twelve months. 365 days. Do that THIS year. And the next. That's how unschooling works. By living life as if it were an adventure. As if you only had a limited amount of time with that child. Because that's the way it IS. (credited to Sandra Dodd's 'DO IT')
Doesn't it just make you consider a little about how you are living day to day.
I have had the New Year to think about, news about a family member, and many other snippet challenges all this week that cause me to live more freely and rely on God to lead us day to day, for in God is true freedom.
So what about us being Christian, structured Unschoolers?
I agree that for most part children do self regulate as best they can. nonetheless, I believe that my responsibility as parent to nurture my children includes creating and maintaining a safe home atmosphere and providing nourishing food for the heart, mind and body. This includes talking with my children about God and relationship with God, at sunrise and sundown.
“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a
yoke of slavery.”
Do not worry, trust and delight in God. Those who delight in God ask for nothing but what will please God Our desires become His.
"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4)
It's all in our attitude. Our outlook determines our outcome.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish it's work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:2-6