Sunday, March 15, 2015

10 Unschooling Mistakes to Avoid


I believe that the root of all evil is comparison. When you find yourself about to do the "is my child keeping up?" or "her child is better at piano then mine, and they're the same age," just stop. Don't do it.
When you look at another unschooling mum and back at yourself and feel that you fall short, don't go there. Rather, allow her to inspire you; don't feel down.

2.Believing that everyone should agree with you.

This is the attitude of any newbie. I remember how militant  I was when I first became a vegetarian (I no longer am-a vegetarian).  I couldn't tolerate people who weren't. I must have been an insufferable 'know it all.' I know I certainly annoyed people.

3. Getting offended/feeling hurt when people don't agree with you.

The world owes you nothing. If someone tosses you a dubious look or expresses doubt in what you are doing, deal with it in a mature way.  Learn not to take yourself so seriously. Laugh.

4.If there really is a problem, being afraid of admitting it.

Your kids are unruly, or they really don't seem to be 'getting it.' There might actually be an underlying cause for it. Or they don't seem to have any interests. Don't panic.You can still  raise a child that is learning naturally. Get the support you need.

5. Expecting your kids to be best buddies and get along all the time (well most of the time) just because they're unschooled.

They fight. They say they hate one another. That's okay. We can't choose our family but we sure as heck have to learn to get along. That's one advantage of unschooling. They HAVE to work it out because they spend so much time together.

6.Expecting your kids to become educated by osmosis.

This is magical thinking. They won't. You have to engage them. You have to make sure they get exposure to a wide range of activity.

7. Thinking that you are their one and all.

You are not. Share them.

8. Over-protectiveness.

Let them venture forth according to their strengths, age and ability.
Be sensitive to the needs of the changing and growing child.

9.Having to prove that unschooling works-especially in BIG ways.

Funnily enough, BIG gets redefined over and over and you realize that they are doing BIG things but not in the way you and others might have envisioned it. And remember, behind a shining star, there might be an even brighter star shining so be careful not to block that light because of your belief in the first.

10. Immediate evidence of 'learning' taking place.

Relax. You will be amazed at how what you angst over last year is all but a distant memory this year. Learning unfolds, often with out us noticing.

Note: This post was originally written and posted here.


laura grace weldon said...

Thanks for writing this. Lots of wisdom here.

Sharing on the Free Range Learning fb page!

Nease said...

I think I'm a little confused by #6. Could you elaborate more? I don't find I need to force my kids to be engaged. Honestly that seems completely against unschooling itself, but I think I must not be understanding your point. When learning is child led, they are learning about things they are already engaged about. Also, while it is good to expose our kids to different things, I think you can go too far the other way and overwhelm them with too much. Also, I've found even in our down periods, like after having a new baby, they learn tons still even though I haven't done much and spend most of my time at home resting.

beatrice ekoko said...

@Laura! Thanks so much!

beatrice ekoko said...


6.Expecting your kids to become educated by osmosis.

This is magical thinking. They won't. You have to engage them. You have to make sure they get exposure to a wide range of activity.

It is not about "forcing your child to be engaged." Forcing someone is unlikely to result in true engagement. What I mean is that it is up to you the facilitator of education/learning create, arrange, facilitate opportunities for the children to pick out what they want to pursue. I agree with you that down time offers time to ruminate or delve deeper into something of interest.

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