Thursday, January 16, 2014

Unschoolery...Why we Home School

*If you are looking for an excellent resource on Unschooling please check out these two posts. They a great source to the Unschoolery journey and information about this way of Being:

Awhile back I wrote a post about Homeschooling HERE and said this:

"Our children are protected but well socialized. They are surrounded by those who love them, those who understand, and the comforts of a house that suits their specific interests. It's a Hobbit Hole in many ways. With tended gardens, comfortable blankets, low lights, classic stuffies, magical books, and not many interruptions.

I am well aware of the fact that children need adventures and that their adulthood will be fraught with different environments. But for now, they need their haven. Their simple life. They learn quietly with guitar, yoga, voice, meditation, piano, dance, sewing, karate, swimming ect. But even the way we choose to do most of these things is unconventional. We find family who want them to learn for learning sake. We find dance teachers who believe it is about the love, the rhythm, the way the body moves, instead of about competition, exams and being the best. We find flexible programs that are not rigid in practice. While discipline is important, it is instead learned through tending gardens, plants and living things that require constant time and attention. They have a balance of magical playtime, reading, working, chores, friend time (only 2-3 good friends are needed in life) integrated school and learning about themselves. They see their differences as gifts and struggles."

I found a Ted Talks link from a 13 year old homeschooled boy who speaks about his unique way of living. I was so relieved watching because my husband and I were worried that our kids may have no other people growing up who can relate to them if they decide marriage may be an option. In that arena too we teach them there are so many different ways to live a fulfilling life. If they want to remain single but adopt  (if they want kids) or if they want to live with us/ beside us or if they want to travel the world...marriage and college are NOT their only viable options.

Our kids watched the TED talk too. My eldest exclaimed,"Hey that's almost our life!" It's worth the ten minute watch:

Most adults I know are unhappy, unaware, restless, discontent and still searching for their meaning. Even if they are in fields they love or graduated top in their class. I have different goals for my children. I want them to grow up self aware. We teach them about handling emotions, differing faiths, cognitive therapy (a word they know well), yoga and meditation for self healing, boundaries in relationships...and to live in the NOW. I tell them that they already are WHO they are in this moment. They do not have to wait to be a "grown up" to experience life. They do not have to answer the stupid question,"What do you want to BE when you grow up?" I tell them to BE NOW. When they are hopefully old and grey, I KNOW they won't look back and say, "Boy am I ever glad I took the job in that firm." or "Those years of expense in school were worth every penny and the lack of time I had with the people that mattered." Instead I want them to say, "Life is tough and beautiful. From the time I was young I learned this but I also learned that I mattered. To stay connected and compassionate, from childhood I learned to engage in the outdoors, with the few people who mattered, and with myself. I lived well despite what work I did or did not do. The wisdom I gained was not just for knowledge's sake and I learned to be comfortable with myself no matter where I was. I lived in the NOW with meaning."

Their sibling relationships are very close compared to kids in school and they have deep respect for each other. They also are taught to value two or three friends of varied ages. In adulthood we are not set up in a contained environment with only people our age and events every day. No wonder most adults feel alone compared to their old school days. I want our kids to be able to hang out with any age comfortably and to decide on friends based on compatibility and support...not age. They can learn that now too. I also want them to learn that being able to invite 10- 20 kids for a birthday party is not a sign that they are well loved. Two or three GOOD friends is enough for now and forever. I also want them to learn that friendships have seasons. (Click HERE for this concept.) Overall, I want them to live parallel culturally...They are not just another cog in the wheel despite pressure to make them so. I don't want them to believe the lies that they need to buckle down and make money or marry and reproduce or even find a dream and live it. I want them to know that is just how our world tries to justify population growth, government programs and condition workers for the jobs that need doing. It's not bad to do any of those things as long as they are aware of what it is. I want them to use that system to support their meaning. If a job at Subway pays them enough to get by so that they can spend their remaining hours relaxing in their garden - that is a great life. If they are not driven to consume or be "something" but simply enjoy their pursuits- that is a great life. If they love their guitar playing but are not pressured to "be more" within that and can spend their time with a few friends strumming- that is a great life.

We don't force them to do many events that they dislike. Of course they need to find discipline within themselves to do yucky jobs at times (like cleaning the drains and garbages) but if they hate piano after giving it a sufficient try- we do not make them continue. We ask ourselves, "Are we trying to make our children something they are not? Are we trying to accidentally fulfill one of our dreams or how we think children should look by doing this? What would be the reason for them to continue in this pursuit that ties in with MEANING or BEING? Is there another way to find that meaning or being? (There usually is.)"

My children will experience the same hurts, pain and limited options that other children will face at varying times in their life. From outside appearances they may seem apathetic or socially different, but I hope that at least they will be equipped to find their meaning in the NOW. To engage in whatever state they are with awareness, peace and confidence. Our situation has it's own flaws and it is not ideal but I KNOW it is better than a one size fits all learning system they previously engaged in (for them. Obviously there are many children who NEED to be in school or do not have a parent who can stay home to school.) I hope they will have an easier time adjusting into adulthood because they will not feel pressured with the rules or expectations ...even if they take a standard job they will know how to fit in enough yet not look at fitting in as the ultimate goal. I hope they make it work for them...or stay at home and find ways to get by creatively so they can spend the rest of their time soaking up the earth's beauty, connecting with the few they love, and savouring the little moments in their one precious life. It's going to be flawed and fraught with misunderstanding and obstacles...but I have faith that they will be able to handle the imperfections...perhaps even embrace them!

*Disclaimer: There are many different ways to live a life. Many children are better off in school  for varied reasons. Some parents truly can not afford homeschooling, however, there ARE many parents who THINK they can't but really can. We thought we couldn't and are now better off financially because we do not have school costs, we have some government support for school curriculum, we have more subsidies by having one parent at home...overall the money saved by this choice makes up a minimum wage thirty hour week job for myself and I get to be at home with my children savouring the moments. (We crunched all the numbers.) Homeschooling without the right support or facilitator can be very tough, especially the first year, but if you are a self taught parent who can read up on varied materials and mindsets, you will find your own unique groove. In reality, our school systems are failing children who are slightly different or do not fit the competitive, extroverted, contained environments. That said, there are many good schools who do their best with the few equipped teachers and many children they have. Extroverted children do especially well in school and may struggle more at home. Children who are abused at home find havens in school. There are exceptions and benefits to everything. There are also negatives to everything, including home schooling. It's simply thinking outside the box and risking what is right for your situation...whatever it is...that matters.*
 Song Choice- Bloody Well Right- Supertramp

Another post on this topic:


My Little Warriors said...

"there are so many different ways to live a fulfilling life. If they want to remain single but adopt (if they want kids) or if they want to live with us/ beside us or if they want to travel the world...marriage and college are NOT their only viable options."
AMEN SISTER!!!! seriously... my goal.. for my boys to be happy and have a fulfilled life, whatever that looks like for them!

Kmarie said...

I love that you see it that way...our culture teaches only certain ways are "right." There are so many fulfilling ways to live a life:) I always love your thoughts:)

Angel The Alien said...

I am a special education teacher, and most teachers will argue that homeschooling is not ideal because it takes kids away from their peers and because all sorts of other reasons. But I am completely in favor of homeschooling, in most situations! It actually opens up so much more of the world to them, when they don't have to have their butts plopped in a seat at a desk with 20 other kids 30 hours a week.

Kmarie said...

Angel: Thanks for stopping are does open the world in most cases...and those arguments teachers use are actually documented and depends on the context of goals for the future...We do not have peer groups of the same age, learning the same lessons, and sitting at the same desks in adulthood- its ridiculous...and most people do not adjust to adulthood with fulfilling lives from this system...they just know how to sit and work a nine to 5 and fit into the social schema...which begs the question- do we actually want that for our future? I could go on but I think you already know what I am getting at:)