Growing up, I was both un-schooled and homeschooled, and wouldn’t you know I have retained the most from the years that I was un-schooled. I was choosing the topics I wanted to learn about and would regularly go to the local library and take out 10 books on the same subject.
Today, we have the ability to look anything up on the internet and can get as immersed as we desire in whatever topic we choose. The access to information we have now is an extraordinary opportunity to be self-sufficient in ways we’ve never before experienced.
Raising a child in this way inspires me to remember every day that I am my own sovereign being. I choose to inspire them by example, not preaching or teaching, but simply by sharing my own process.
Sometimes this requires hardcore honesty that some parents may not be okay with.
If you can’t focus for eight hours straight with only a couple breaks you may be called unproductive or your job could be in jeopardy. In the classroom you could be diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed a drug, or be graded and tested in a way that isn’t supportive to you, resulting in “poor ratings” as a person. Traditional schooling is relatively new in our culture and stems from religious doctrines and creating soldiers who can be controlled.
A poor rating academically shouldn’t ultimately reflect the rating of who you are as a person. How does that set you up for the rest of your life? You are told you can perform only menial laborious jobs and “not to set your sights too high” when looking around for more schools to further your education; schools that are supposed to “train you for life.”
People are doing this without even questioning it and blindly going along with the system when they should really be asking themselves: Is this ok? Do I have a choice to do something else? Can I make shifts in my lifestyle that could support a new way?
I don’t want to be teaching my children to only enjoy life after 5pm. Or only on the weekends. Or only on vacation. I am always reminding myself to enjoy life in every moment, no matter what that moment looks like. I can only hope my children absorb this and are able to apply it in their own life. If we’re teaching our children to always need a vacation or weekend away from life, what life are we living? What life are we leading?
Any normal “school day” for Wilder, our 6-year-old, might look like this: a foraging hike through the woods with his papa, learning about wild edible foods and maybe making a primitive fire along the way. This can be followed by refreshing scenery at the ocean with mama, whilst learning about vernal pools, periwinkles, hermit crabs and all the other creatures along the shoreline. Maybe on a rainy day we spend most of the day inside working on art projects. This week Wilder decided he wanted to illustrate and write a book, all his own ideas.
“What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, not knowledge in pursuit of the child.” — George Bernard Shaw
To use a real life example, I love following an impulse when I get one, right in the moment. I notice how it makes me feel really good when I do this. I love seeing my child get an impulse to learn more about something and follow through with it right in the moment, or some time that day while the thought is still fresh. I would never want to put off learning or curiosity because my child is going to eventually learn it in school “at some point.”
Un-schooling opens doors to adventures, to more life enjoyment and to a huge variety of knowledge. May you be inspired to explore this in your own life and take steps in whatever way suits you and your family.
Drawing from her creative homeschooled upbringing, Camille enjoys crafting up just about anything from herbal elixirs + salves to hats and jewelry to busting out new websites for fun. She draws inspiration from being in nature, experiencing delightful culinary creations from her hubby, observing and hanging with her boys, playing music with her band and dancing. Get more with Camille here.