Sunday, March 04, 2012

This feels painful.

I haven't done much with other unschoolers or homeschoolers in the last little while- in the last few years to be honest.
My one unschooled kid has her own rhythm. She has many friends with whom she hangs out every weekend.
During the week, she's busy with whatever it is she is working on and of course she has a pile of classes she goes to- soccer, rock climbing, art. She's on Facebook every day with friends and all this seems to keep her content.

Still, I thought it would be good to check in with home based learners in our community- see what's going on.
What I've discovered is there is a fair number of homeschoolers out there organizing workshops, events and so on but the atmosphere I've encountered at some of these events is far from joyous.
Instead, I can't help noticing that there are a lot of anxious people doing this thing. They tend to be homeschoolers as opposed to unschoolers (very few unschoolers out there that I know of).
It feels painful. It feels grim and serious. So heavy. There's the feeling that 'we need to be the best.' 
Learning is not about being excited about something; it's about covered a unit. It's about showing off what we know. It's less about collaborative and supportive inquiry, more about competition and every kid to herself.

This is a disappointment to me. I was hoping for a meeting of adventurous minds. I hoped to encounter people who believe in learning for self-discovery and community contribution.

That's not what I'm seeing. I see a lot of tired, strained looking mothers out there. Very uninspiring.
I'm okay. I've got my few unschooling friends from the days when my older two were unschooled. 
But I worry about new people coming to unschooling. Who do they turn to? Where do they go?

As to those pained home educators, I suggest you take a walk around your city; relax, have a piece of cake, let those 'teaching moments' pass you by once in a while. It's all good. 


Arijah said...

Thank you! you took the words right out of my mouth. "Stuffy" is how I refer to them. A bunch of stuffies.
It is disheartening to a degree when there aren't a lot of resources locally, but it's not discouraging. We're able to find support online. <3

I'm always learning as my kids are my greatest teacher. They've taught me how to play again.

Too bad the rest of the world forgot how.

rfs said...

@Arijah- thanks! Playing is that sweet ingredient that is missing. Thanks for pointing it out.

Dorla said...

Oh you are so right...was talking to a friend about this last night. And to everything else you can add "these moms are also "clickish"...If you are not approved by the circle of friends you can forget joining the activities.
This can be a very lonely road.

Sandra D said...

It is funny that you should post this, because as a more traditionally homeschooler having recently met a group of unschooling parents, I felt very left out and was shunned and almost scolded because of the methods of teaching I use. I was left out of conversations, or told, "but you wouldn't understand that kind of learning with what you do".
I think it is good to remember that every coin has two sides. Not all of us are haggered, tired and stressed out looking. In fact, the majority of my homeschooling mom friends are just as fresh looking as any unschooling mom I've met. Different approaches do not mean better, just different.

rfs said...

@Sandra-Prejudism has no boundaries-that is true. I too have heard unschoolers say "Oh I don't want to hang out with them. They're home schoolers."
So yeah- I hear you.

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