Friday, March 8, 2013

Blogging about Unschooling in My Non-Expert Way





I write a post and hit ‘publish’ and then a short while later, I think, “Does that post sound like I am boasting about my family’s achievements? Do I sound like one of those unbearably proud mothers who has to tell the world about her children? Perhaps I should delete it.” I re-read my story and can’t decide and so I let it stay. But I wonder...

It seems to me there’s a fine line between boasting of achievements, and sharing stories which might encourage others in their own unschooling adventures. No one enjoys having other people's children’s achievements constantly thrust into their faces. It can get rather wearing to continually hear, “Look at me and my wonderful children!"

I think about the purpose of this blog. Do I want to use it to say... “This is how to unschool. Do everything just like we do and you’ll have success”...? No. I'm not an expert, here to tell others how to homeschool. Is there even such a thing as a homeschooling expert?

I hop from homeschooling blog to homeschooling blog and I notice something interesting. Some blogs are written from a personal point of view. Others have a tone of authority. They sound like they have been written by an ‘expert’. I do a little further reading about the 'experts' and realise that I probably have more homeschooling experience than most of them. Could I be an expert? Well, maybe after 21 years of being a homeschool mother, I’m finally getting to grips with my own family. One day I might be an expert on my own children. But an expert on all families? No.

So why do I write?

I think back to past days, when we were struggling to meet the expectations of outsiders, and we weren’t really enjoying homeschooling. We gradually threw out everything that wasn’t working, and we arrived by accident at unschooling. 

I guess I want to encourage anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation - who is looking for a better way - to give unschooling a go. I want to say, “Unschooling can work.” And to illustrate that message, I tell stories of my own children and what they are doing and what they are achieving.

I think there are as many ways of unschooling as there are families. I like that. It’s not a ‘one size fits all’ way of education. Is it even a method of education? It is more a way of life. Of course, we are all tied together because we believe in the basic principles of unschooling. But how unschooling looks in each of our families? That can be very different.

This blog is about my family and what works for us. I hope it gives people who are contemplating unschooling a little encouragement to try it for themselves. I hope it’s a source of ideas to ponder and discuss. Maybe some of these ideas will be tried out before being rejected, modified or accepted.

And if you are already an unschooler, maybe my blog will give us the opportunity to meet and swap ideas and talk unschooling. Maybe I can share your blog too. 

I realise that unschooling isn't for everyone. Some families choose to homeschool differently from us. But that's okay. We can still be friends and support and encourage each other. We can still share ideas and thoughts. We don’t all have to be the same.

So please read my posts. Please excuse any unintentional unbearably-proud-mother-moments. And please stop to chat. If you are investigating unschooling, I am happy to answer questions in my ‘non-expert’ kind of way.

Of course, there’s another reason I write: I love to tell stories, and I am capturing so many special memories I know I will treasure, once our homeschooling days come to an end.

What will I do when that day arrives? Oh yes, of course! No need to worry. Unschooling never ends

Unschooling: It really is a very special way of life.



10 comments:

  1. Sue, I think you're more enthusiastic than authoritative.You have the voice of experience which is good because I've never really listened to the 'experts';-)

    I love sharing with you and picking up ideas to adapt to my own ways. Your sharing is like strewing for me and, you're really too honest to make out that you know all the answers.

    I hope you keep writing from the heart because your stories are beautiful:-)

    God bless, Sue:-)


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    1. Vicky,

      Thank you!

      Experts? I steer away from them too! I was considering submitting some articles for a homeschool magazine until I saw the guidelines. All articles had to be written in an authoritative manner. Telling someone how to homeschool doesn't sit well with me at all. I'd rather share suggestions. In the long run, I hope that is more helpful.

      I am so relieved you think my stories are okay. Everyone should have a good sister to encourage and support them. I guess I am very blessed!

      Delete
  2. Hi Sue, I really appreciate this post, because I just started seriously looking into unschooling last month. I discovered your blog yesterday, and honestly, it's the best I have found! I have shied away from the label of unschooling because I do not believe in the more "radical" versions. Yet I feel led by the Spirit to pursue it, in a way that works best for our family. I put out a call for guest authors on unschooling on my blog, Organic Mothering. It's the Feb. 8 post, I believe, and all the posts since then have been on the subject. Or you could just leave some comments, if you so desire. It's at dancingmommio.blogspot.com. Thanks so much for your great blog! Rita

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    1. Rita,

      Thank you for your kind words about my blog! No two unschooling blogs are the same. Maybe mine speaks to you more than the others you have read because we don't radically unschool. And then there's the Catholic component too. Being Catholic unschoolers is different to being a secular unschooler.

      I can see unschooling could be a frightening concept. All that freedom! Will children turn out okay? I think my children come over as quite normal. Normal? What is normal these days? Maybe they aren't 'normal' at all! I'll try again... happy, well-balanced, motivated, well educated, loving...

      I hopped over to your blog and read all your latest posts. You've been doing lots of thinking! I didn't stop to comment as I was reading on my tablet, while in the car waiting for a singing lesson to finish. I hate typing on my tablet, so I shall return soon now I am at home with my laptop.

      Rita, were you asking me to contribute a post as a guest author? If so, what did you have in mind? How about something I have already written such as "What I Think Unschooling is All About." http://www.storiesofanunschoolingfamily.com/2012/12/what-i-think-unschooling-is-all-about.html

      Please let me know!

      I have enjoyed chatting with you.

      God bless!

      Delete
  3. I really appreciate you sharing the ways that home schooling is working for you and your kids. It really doesn't come off as bragging, and I find it very encouraging, so please, keep it up!

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    1. Wendy,

      Thank you so much for stopping to write these kind words. Sometimes it's hard to see things from a reader's perspective. Maybe I should add a disclaimer to my posts: please ignore any unintentional proud mother moments!

      Delete
  4. Yours is pretty much the only Catholic unschooling blog I read consistently...it is also the only homeschooling blog I read, ever!

    I really like the way to explain things, and while "proud mother" is no doubt present it's more the "sharing mother"; you aren't "overbearing, authoritive mother". Thank goodness.

    You know you're lucky to have a sister like Vicky! You give each other ideas & support. What a blessing. It's funny, I have a sister, Vicki. She's not a homeschooler (nor Catholic), and she lives 2000 miles from me. But she is supportive of what I do.

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    1. Amy,

      Now I feel very special because you read my blog. Thank you! I love chatting to you here. So glad I don't come over as an overbearing mother.

      We both have a Vicky or a Vicki for a sister! Vickies are a real blessing. I live closer to my sister than you do to yours, but I don't see her very often. It's been almost two years since we last met up. But we swap emails nearly every day, and read each other's blogs. You are quite right that I'm lucky to have a sister who is both Catholic and a homeschooler. We share a lot!

      God bless!

      Delete
  5. I have never felt that you were telling me how to "unschool" or "homeschool" in any of your posts. I find your blog very encouraging and it helps so much to see how unschooling really looks on a day to day basis. The only way you can portray that is by sharing what you and your family are accomplishing.
    Blessings
    Diane

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    1. Diane,

      You are so lovely stopping to write these reassuring words for me. Thank you!

      I used to read a lot about unschooling, but could never really work out what unschoolers DID. How are unschooling principles put into action? That's why I write my own ideas in the context of family stories. As you said, I can't do that without actually telling readers what the girls are accomplishing!

      God bless you!

      Delete

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