Unschooling is an amazing journey but its not without its challenges
OK.. so if you’ve read my earlier posts about unschooling, I’m sure you sensed all my “happy feelings” oozing out of the seams like a cream filled doughnut. I love unschooling. I love having my kids home with me where they are able to learn with freedom, discovering who they are, their own limitations and exploring their environment that surrounds them. I’m so glad that I don’t have to deal with the education systems and all the social trouble that comes along with that. I truly am so thankful for the freedom to choose this lifestyle. I honestly would never want it any other way.
However, this does not mean that everything is all unicorns and rainbows. There are often times, even more than I care to admit, where I ponder whether I’m screwing my kids up. Especially when the 4 older children are all scrapping like a bunch of territorial roosters fighting over hens.
We still have typical family dynamics
Yes you read that right. My children fight. Just like any other family where there is more than one child. Take heart, this is a normal function of family and a very important element to humanity. Home is a safe place where we learn respect for each other despite our personality differences. Relationships are hard, no matter what kind of life you live.
I’m not a picture perfect calm, smiling mom all the time. Some days are too much and my peaceful parenting goes out the door, in a not so peaceful or quiet way. On those days I go to bed with my voice ringing in my ears. Hoping tomorrow is a better day. Unschooling does not instantly turn your family into the Brady bunch, even though spectators may expect it. It takes dedication, vulnerability, hard work and a true desire to learn and grow.
There are times I find this lifestyle so very lonely.
I feel this way of living, has segregated me from other moms for the most part…Of course there are other factors to this than just unschooling. However, Unschooling is a big one for me, as I find it very hard to relate to other moms when it comes to academics and… well…life in general, as unschooling permeates our whole life.
I believe there may also be a good chance of being viewed as a bit of an extremest. This has the added bonus of people treating you a little like a leper, afraid they’ll somehow catch your extremest disease! haha!
Yet, I crave community!!! No.. I‘m desperate for it! However, since our way of living is not the “norm of our society” , there’s an added challenge to finding our “tribe”.
The barrage of questions that come with our “teaching” style can feel invasive.
It’s the expectation that our kids be in school. So when your out and about you’ll get many a strange look, followed by many questions. We have all adapted and generally are able to give short generic answers. Along with the questions, we are often scrutinized and held to a different, higher standard than the typical schooled child. Mainstream thinkers may even have a misconception that you believe your better than them and the system. If this is the case, than they expect your child to show proof of this betterment by being far and above the “average”. Of course, being unschoolers, we follow our children’s lead so they would be deemed “behind” according to the system and some of these mainstreamists will feel justified in their judgement.
Attaining further education
Another point to be made with unschooling, is that it can be difficult to get further education. Please notice I did not say impossible. There are many ways to get into collages and universities, such as challenging entrance exams or taking upgrade classes to attain credits. Where there’s a will, there’s a way! The hope is that our children will have a love of learning and will do what is necessary for them to achieve their goals!
Possible financial loss
Unschooling often requires one parent staying at home. This may result in going from two incomes to one, possibly making it difficult but still very doable. For us this does mean limiting paid outings and extracurricular activities. We find though that we are all very content to not be apart of the crazy business of our culture. However, we absolutely do our best to give our children opportunities to explore their interests.
I feel that there’s a lot of hype around unschooling. So I felt it important to acknowledge some of the issues we have faced and could face in the future. However, just like anything else in life, there will be challenges and decisions to be made.
I know in my heart this way of life is right for us!
I have no doubt…. well, sometimes I doubt my ability to effectively help my children pursue unschooling/life to the fullest. But I’d bet I would feel that way no matter what lifestyle we chose. It’s at those times I must remind myself that no one is perfect and I can only give my best! Lets extend ourselves and our kids some grace, enjoy the ride of life and go splurge on some ice cream!