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Dear spectator … a letter to non-unschoolers

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Dear you,

I understand our lives look different. I know our way of schooling and learning is not conventional nor does our life follow the norms of society.

We know you care and wish to see our growing family thrive. Please know that we recognize and genuinely appreciate your concern!

But I also want to let you know that I have not journeyed this decision by easy roads. I have not chosen a life of going against social norms just to follow the latest “trend”.

I have spent countless hours agonizing over my children’s futures. In every way imaginable. I have stayed up countless nights researching, and educating myself; desperate to discover a more fulfilled life for them. Feeling very deeply that there just had to be more than what society offers.

No… this decision has not been made lightly!!

I do not claim to have all the answers. Yes, I am confident in our decision and choices we have made for our children at this moment. It will most likely change over time as we learn and grow. That’s OK!

Please know that as concerned as you are that my children receive an education, I am even more concerned!!

Unschooling to me means seeing “education” in every area of life!

Believe me, I am so aware of the responsibility I carry of helping my children grow up to be well-rounded educated, capable, functioning adults. A responsibility that causes me to work even harder in so many areas of our lives. One that keeps me evaluating, checking in with intentions, and assessing my motives and goals.

Again, it is a conscious choice I have made and continue to make daily. No one is more deeply vested in the success of our children’s lives than we as parents. It is by no means the lazy choice as you may have perceived it to be.

Of course, we can not teach our children everything.. there is a time and place for other people/places of education. This is why we as parents work together in a partnership with our children to encourage and meet the needs and desires of each unique individual child.

My kids are my passion.

Please do not judge me based on what you “think” you know and see. I brave writing about our experience as unschoolers despite knowing the scrutiny I am under because I love it and I long to live a life of freedom from fear and shame. Also, I hope to inspire others to step out from under the thumb of expected conformity and to truly experience and live life as they desire.

I/we have a choice of how to live…. my kids have a choice…. I want to be sure they know it…

Educating/unschooling is so much more to me/us than just numbers and letters. It goes deeper; a whole-life approach. Focusing also on the unique qualities, strengths, weaknesses, gifts, interests and individuality of each child. I desire them to have a strong sense of self. Or in other words to be “educated” on their own inner workings. To be individuals with unique thoughts and conclusions… not just know a memorized answer taught by an institution.

Our focus when it comes to educating is that “school” is always in!!

We learn everywhere, all the time!!! Learning IS life/Life IS Learning!!!  “Learning” is not just done in a classroom!

A love of learning and a desire to learn is vital in life. At least in my opinion. When are we not in need of learning!? If anything, the need to learn becomes even more apparent as one grows up. Which makes a love of learning, in the beginning, all the more important.

What if I’m wrong!!??

Let’s think about this for a moment..

What is really driving this fear and what is the worst that will happen?

1. They might be behind in academics ….

  • OK… but if you were to peek into the typical classroom you would see a good percentage of kids in school are either not passing or are barely scrapping by. The system continuously pushes children through to the next grade.  I myself could not read till grade 7… thank you system! I remember being totally humiliated reading to a grade 3 student who could read better than me. And NO this did not inspire me to want to read more…

However,  this common occurrence in school is acceptable but unschooling is not!??

Upgrading is ALWAYS possible. And who knows, perhaps they will be ahead as I hear so often from homeschoolers whose children go back into the school system.

2. What if there are requirements not met for their desired life or education?

  • Our approach encourages self-starters with a passion for learning and discovering answers for themselves. To equip them with the skills and mindset to accomplish what they need in order to meet the desired goal.

3. What else?? Socially awkward… really… who isn’t?!

4. Legal requirements?

  • I’ve done my research. No, they will not take away our kids. Yes, it is totally legal.

Yes, we are doing things differently but does that mean it’s wrong?

Perhaps I am wrong … perhaps you are wrong… Perhaps we just need to recognize we are all different and therefore lead different lives. In any case, all we can do is what we feel is best. There is no guarantee in life…no matter which choice of schooling kids go through… life is uncertain and short… why waste it picking apart what others are doing?  Let’s make a little more room for individuality and diversity. Be happy in your chosen life and be thankful we have a choice! Then choose to be happy for those whose choices are different from your own.

We are a diverse people… why do we think everyone must do everything the same…

It’s not an easy choice living so different; so let’s instead, hope the best for those willing to challenge the norms of society to provide a different lifestyle in hopes of a better life for their children.

hope I am teaching my kids to question “Normal”… I hope they go against the grain to achieve a life they love… Please consider for a moment that just maybe that is exactly what the world needs!

With genuine care and consideration;