Time to Unschool (Part 2)

Perhaps you’re thinking about unschooling. You could be wondering: Should we give it a go? Is unschooling right for our family? Yes? No?

Maybe something is attracting you to unschooling? Do you imagine children following their own interests, being passionate about what they’re doing, getting a good education?

Or is it something else? Could it be love? I hope so.

When most people define unschooling, the word love isn’t usually mentioned unless we’re talking about ‘the love of learning’. And although unschooled children do indeed have a great love for learning, I don’t think that’s the most important thing.

To me, unschooling involves unconditional love of each other. We accept who our children are, allowing them to develop their unique talents. We trust there’s a place for them in the world and they will find it. We accept their imperfections and our own too. We forgive. We respect each other. Or at least we try to do all that. We learn and grow together, hoping to become the people we are meant to be, by the power of love. To me, that’s what’s unschooling is all about.

I don’t often tell people what to do. I write my stories from a personal viewpoint: This is how it is for us. Your family might be different. I prefer to let others make up their own minds. But this time I want to say:

If you’re thinking about unschooling, if something about it stirs up your heart, just do it. Don’t have any regrets. Don’t look back and think about what could have been.

A few years ago, I wrote my story Time to Unschool:

… here we are, after nearly twenty years, our last child seven years old. And my problem these days isn’t finding a method that works for our family. No. Our problem is time, time that passes so quickly. The day after tomorrow will arrive very soon and my homeschooling days will be over. So I have to make every moment count. I have to live for today and enjoy every minute. 

And how I wish I could have had the confidence to do that with our first child.

Time moves much too quickly. Our youngest daughter, Gemma-Rose is no longer seven. She’s eleven, racing towards twelve. The day after tomorrow, the end of our homeschooling days, is getting closer and closer. But when it arrives, I will have no regrets.

When all my children are grown up, I’m sure we’ll be living with the fruits of our years of unschooling. Will those fruits be well educated children, each living perfect, successful, happy lives? No, that’s not what I mean at all. The fruits will be love, the most important thing in the world.

So will you try unschooling? If you do, don’t just do it for a week, or a month or even two. At first things might not go as you imagine. But don’t give up. It might take time. You will have to trust. Just let your children be who they are. Listen to them and not to all those outside voices. Ignore the doubting voice in your head too.
Yes, if your heart is turning in the direction of unschooling, give it a go. What have you got to lose? At the very least you’ll stop wondering, “What if…?”

And what might you gain? Something wonderful!

Top image: Gemma-Rose four years ago
Bottom image: Gemma-Rose today.
Those four years passed in a flash!


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Comments

  1. Reply

    Wow Sue. This is so powerful. Thank you for sharing this piece and your perspective. Looking back and having no regrets: what a testament to the way you have lived your life.

    1. Reply

      Amy,

      Maybe we should have no regrets regardless of how we have parented and home schooled. We are all just trying to do our best and regrets aren't helpful. We always learn something whatever we do and even if we aren't happy with our choices, we have to move on and try not to say, "What if?" But I am glad we did change pathways. I feel very blessed that we ended up here. I know I would have missed out on so much if we hadn't become unschoolers.That's why I want to urge others to be brave and join us if their hearts are stirred up by the thought of unschooling. Of course, not everyone yearns to try this way of life. And that's okay!

      Thank you so much for your kind words. It's always good to chat!

  2. Reply

    ❤️❤️❤️ this! Love and trust, the first is easy 😉

    1. Reply

      Beate,

      You are so right! Maybe love makes us willing to trust and listen to our kids rather than to outside expectations. Trust is a tricky subject!

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