Saturday, June 26, 2010

Unschooling is 'self-learning' (and I think I'm dumb)

It's happened. The "I don't know anything," and the "my school friends know this and that, and I don't" period when they are betwixt stages-transitioning from a happy, creative, self-directed kid to the gloomy, uncertain pre-adolescent, worried about where her path will lead her (without school).
"I'm 'behind' (in whose line up?) and it's your fault (naturally)."

It's okay. I saw it coming-especially since the two older girls go to school now.
And of course, she has no idea of how much she actually does know; the 'meaningfulness,' the relevance to her of all she has learned in her short life already. Learning married to context; content wedded to personal life-not what the teacher wants you to know so that you can pass a test.

The irony of it all. Pearls before swine-that's what unschooling is. How many kids would give an arm and a leg to be unschooled? As is often the case, we don't see the value in what we have.

To unschool is to self-learn; to learn about yourself. What moves you?  What interests you? How do you feel about this? What do you think about that? And actually embrace the whole you-and honor that 'youness.' You are working/learning from a place of love; of authenticity. The process is life-long.

And so, now she's discovered she would like to know things in that systematic, linear way that kids her age at school 'get taught,' and are 'given' information.'

Motivated, most likely, by fear she wants curriculum. That is okay. This too is her self-learning path and I honor it.

She is still the learner in control of her learning- a scary thought for people who want to be told what to do. She gets to experience what it is like to be told what to learn; what to know and what not to know based on other people's conception and most people's agreement and acceptance.

Because simply put: education is an agreement and nothing more. Others determine what we should know and we agree. To step outside of this is to be daring and feels dangerous for most people.

For those brave enough to march to the 'sound of their own drum,' and follow that tune, and refuse to be spoon fed from the universal diet, (in school or out of it) an adventure awaits them; very different from the 'to do list' that we are expected, and expect ourselves to follow.


Anonymous said...

I think that school-type learning is safe and unschooling is anything but. We're not used to taking responsibility from a young age for our own educations, and the thought that someone else might be more knowledgeable about what you 'should' learn is reinforced by all this meaningless dribble about 'experts'. The only expert on you and your own life is you.


Home education = doubts and questioning (Home education also equals accomplishment and great pleasure)

rfs said...

'Taking responsibility"-exactly. Thinking for oneself is definitely not something our society is comfortable with-unless you are a proven genius first. Not before.

Anonymous said...

It's a leap of faith to expect kids to understand your faith in them- that they will grow up educated and self-reflective without the comfort of school to lean on. Perhaps this is too much to ask of kids when everyone they know is going to school and learning things that they perceive are 'better things' and 'the right things' to know at the right time?
Just wondering!

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