Sometimes when I’m hopping around the unschooling blogosphere I stumble across places where I don’t feel I belong. As I read the posts, I can feel the high emotions: “No one can tell us what to do with our own children. Society is wrong and we’re going to fight the system.”
And although I agree, I don’t really see myself as a person who’s willing to put on my tough boots, arm myself with strong language, and head into battle. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to do anything about the situation. It just means I prefer trying a gentle approach, if I can do this without compromising my children’s way of life. For of course, if I ever do have to choose between my own family and outsiders who want to control what we do, I can be as tough as anyone.
Can a gentle approach be effective in changing people’s minds about unschooling? Sometimes just the word ‘unschooling’ can raise people’s hackles. They won’t even listen so it’s no point talking. They have misinformed preconceived ideas about what unschooling is. Most times I can shrug my shoulders and not worry about what other people think of our way of life. I don’t need to convince anyone that what we’re doing is actually okay. They have no influence over our lives. Or do they?
It is very inconvenient but there are actually some people in this world who do think they can make rules about the way we raise our kids and how we educate them. I’m talking about the educational authorities from our state governments. I can understand why they think they need rules. They don’t want any kids falling between the cracks and missing out on their right to be educated. The rules were made to protect children. But these rules can seem very unnecessary, especially to us who are living an unschooling life.
So how do we deal with what appears to be an unfair registration process? Do we stand up and be very vocal as we fight? As a group, I think we should. But is there also a less confrontational way we can use as individuals? Can we unschool without compromise, and still remain within the system? Is there a way to present our children’s learning to the education department which ensures they are impressed, despite the fact our children are unschoolers? Can we change people‘s minds gently?
I talk about all these things in today’s podcast, as I report back on last week’s homeschool registration visit. I hope you’ll listen!
(In my podcast, I know I sound like an Evernote salesperson. I did get a bit carried away with enthusiasm!! I do realise there might be other systems which are equally effective at showcasing unschooling!)
Photos: In my podcast, I mentioned how Gemma-Rose has been making notebooks. This one started life as a hardback novel. Gemma-Rose enjoyed showing her finished book to our Authorised Person when she came for our registration visit!
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