My Need to Prove That Unschooling ‘Works’

Our homeschooling/life philosophy is unschooling. There are many books and articles that explain what this is better than me, but mostly I feel its about trust within the parent child relationship. A child trusting that their parent won’t control, coerce or force them to do anything. A parent trusting that their child does in fact want to become competent in the world around them, and with our partnering and support, knows what they need to do to achieve this. This is quite a leap away from traditional parenting, which involves control, obedience, limits, rewards and punishments. Rebuilding this trust can take any amount of time. Maybe several years’ ‘deschooling’, for parents as well as children. Both begin to discover themselves, who they really are, and investigate life in the way that they were destined to.

Anyway, I’m still new to all this. Although unschooling ideas have illuminated multiple lightbulbs of sense within me, and I’m reading so much, I still only understand unchooling in a surface way. It’s such a different way of looking at learning and parenting. I’ve had 43 years doing things the traditional way. 

So I am constantly looking for ways to see that unschooling ‘works’. Ways to justify my actions and prove to everyone else that I haven’t lost the plot. And what my traditional, schooled mind thinks of as unschooling ‘working’, is when my children take it upon themselves to do something that looks, in an obvious way, like learning or creating. Without anyone having sat them down at a desk to make them do it.

An example. Yesterday, the three of us looked online at some stop animation stuff, and some puppet making. While I dropped Bonnie at her grandparents the older two decided to make sock puppets. Later I downloaded two stop animation apps. Anabel made a film straight away. With the sock puppets.

Andrew was over the moon, having made his first stop animation film with Lego. They then spent the afternoon working together on another one. Our friends came round later, and they all made two films and set up a cinema for us.

2015-05-22 18.03.22

(‘Lidl’ means ‘little’, & not the supermarket!)

So there we go. My own ‘schooled’ brain cant help but be amazed when this stuff happens, and it feels like some evidence to show people that unschooling ‘works’. But more and more I’m starting to realise that unschooling doesn’t need to ‘work’. My kids and I just need to trust each other. I need to notice and be interested in what they love doing, finding ways I can support them. I want to move towards focusing less on what others think of what we do, and more on my children. Who they are and what they love, today. 

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