Some people will tell you if you unschool everything except maths, you’re not really an unschooler. For how can we say to our kids, “I trust you will learn everything you need to know… but not maths”? We either trust or we don’t. Nothing else makes much sense. So yes, I do understand that point-of-view.
But before I upset anyone with my opinions, I want to say I also understand how difficult it is to let go of maths. If you look back through my posts, or listen to my unschool maths podcast, you’ll discover there was a time when I required my children to do some formal maths every day. I didn’t trust enough either.
Looking back to those days when my kids filled out worksheets or did online maths exercises, I know I still had lots to learn about the unschooling philosophy. But this doesn’t mean we weren’t on the unschooling pathway. The particular point we were at was the point just right for my family at that time. As I learned more, and listened to and observed my children, my understanding and trust grew, and I was able to throw off more of my insecurities and old ideas.
But what would have happened if someone had stopped by, after hearing about my insistence on maths, and said, “You can’t call yourselves unschoolers!”? I might have felt squashed and discouraged. I could have thought, “If that’s what unschooling is all about, then it’s not for us,” and given up. But no one challenged me. No one judged our unschooling and so we have been able to explore and grow at our own pace, and our unschooling way of life has deepened.
So if you’re ‘unschooling except for maths’, I think that’s quite okay. I hope you’ll stick around and keep sharing my posts, perhaps join in with the discussion. Who knows? One day you might, like us, throw caution to the wind, and let go further. I’d smile if you did, because I want everyone to experience what we have found. Good things should be shared! Letting the unschooling philosophy extend to maths, and then to all parts of our life, has been truly amazing for us.
I define unschooling as allowing children as much freedom to learn in the world, as their parents can comfortably bear.
We are all different and should be able to do what suits our families without criticism from anyone else.
What do you think?
PS: You might say, “Why worry about labels? They’re not important. What does it matter if people think we’re really unschoolers or not?” And I agree with you. But labels can be helpful. How would we find each other when we feel like sharing with like-minded people if we didn’t have a label to start with?