Sunday, December 19, 2010
My 15 year old is grade 10 at the local high school. She's been attending public school for over two years now. An unschooler up to that point, she tells me that she still considers herself to be unschooling. She explains it this way; "It's my choice as an unschooler to have gone."
I've since been thinking about the idea of unschooling in school and if this is actually possible.
What I see from my daughter's experience is that her unschooling mindset is allowing her to bring to the school context something fresh and stimulating. She, as an unschooled agent is sharing her way of seeing and being in the world; doing things that are helping other kids understand learning in a light that is different from what they are used to.
She likes doing well (that is getting the good grades) but at the same time she knows that it's all a game that she can drop any time she feels like it. She knows that her future success does not depend on the outcome of her marks.
Unlike the kids who when the teacher asked the students what they think school offers them, what's the best part of school, the kids answered, "A chance to get a good job."
"And?" the teacher asked her eyebrows reaching in to her hairline; urging them on.
Blank faces. "You come to school to learn to think." She said, a touch of disappointment.
"No. We don't learn to think at school," the class burst out laughing.
But I digress. Back to what my daughter brings to school. What keeps this kid in school then, is the fact that she is following her interests which currently are rights for gay and lesbians etc and also her current passion which is all things anime/manga-from the graphic novels, to the costume play.
So driven is she that she has gained notice at the top.
The principal stops her in the hall to express his admiration of the work she is doing with the GLBTQ group: "I stand in awe of you," he tells her. The teacher in charge of the GLBTQ urges her to take on even more leadership in the new year. She has already started organizing workshops that the group will be taking to local middle schools to help educate the youth there.
Singlehandedly she has created an anime/manga club against the indifference and lack of support that the teachers showed at first and now in its second year, as a fund-raiser, she has been making holiday greeting cards with manga characters which her dad helped make copies of as well as showing her how to make buttons to sell.
In short, she raised close to $100 for the group in a day through her art, and selling the cards. The only other person to raise money in the group managed a grand total of $1.
This indicates to me that the self directed person that evolved out of unschooling continues to act in the world -even in the restrictive world of school-on her own terms.
I like to think of her as a gift to the school system.
Readers-I'm interested in hearing your thoughts. Do comment!