Please Reconsider Homeschooling

When people are beginning to turn away from school, I can appreciate that homeschooling would feel an attractive (potentially temporary) solution; it’s definitely more relatable to what one has traditionally come to recognise as education. Unschooling can feel a huge stretch. And well I mean it is.

But I want to offer something up for consideration; that’s exactly why you shouldn’t consider homeschooling as a pit stop.

When a child attends school while their parent is respectful and there is a level of detachment from the demands of schooling, home can become a safe space. It’s an illusion of course, the parent is complicit in the actions of the educational system they choose to invest in but it is a more passive role and easier to delay this realisation, to distance yourself from culpability.

When a child’s school is their home? Then any expectations originate directly from the parent. The safe spaces become blurry.

Sure, you might not require the exact same conditions are met or for the same amount of time as school. But to some extent, autonomy is compromised in a similar fashion to that experienced through mainstream schooling.

In the end, school at home merely becomes the same regime with a different dictator.

Though unschooling is often spoken of within the umbrella of homeschooling, in reality homeschooling is more closely related to schooling than it is to unschooling. Homeschooling and schooling are based off of the same assumptions and motivations, ones that unschooling rejects.

Both schooling and homeschooling begin from the premise that there is a set base of knowledge required of a person to prepare them for entering society; intellectually, socially, economically and politically. It is also presumed that this is best delivered by an external authority, in linear fragmented packages.

Unschooling does not assume these foundations. And if you start building there? You are only making more work for you to undo.

Homeschooling is not a gateway to unschooling, it’s a bridge that maintains your connection to schooling. By working to preserve the constraints of schooling and requiring your child to do so also, you are avoiding processing them. And creating further roadblocks. You are conditioning your child and you have no idea how that will effect them or if that is reversible.

What if instead you just waited. I really want to stress please just wait. You have time, your child has time.

It is far easier to start control later (not that I would ever recommend as such) than to have to dismantle it once you have begun. And your child deserves what they deserve, even if you still need to decondition towards appreciating that.

You have time, your child has time but they won’t always. So just wait before you start taking any away. If you really can’t instantly stretch, there’s no rush, sure. You can unschool whilst uncomfortable, you can unschool whilst scared.

But you can’t unschool while schooling.

Just because you’re not ready to move towards unschooling, doesn’t mean you have to walk further away from it. So maybe just wait before you introduce schooling.

Just wait and see what happens. Just wait and continue to live life as you had the first five years.

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      1. Concerns? No. I read through it twice and I’m still not entirely sure I understand what your point is. The final two paragraphs felt entirely disjointed.

        You seem to like assembling sentences out of really big-sounding phrases. Sometimes simple is better. You don’t need to dress up every sentence in a suit and tie, AND a top hat, AND a gold watch, AND a cummerbund, AND cufflinks… when just a nice shirt and slacks would suffice. As a reader it can be difficult to wade through the excess. And please, for the love of pizza, never begin a sentence with a conjunction. (See what I did there?)

        I think you are promoting unschooling, or organic child-directed learning, as a good thing. I agree. Where you lose me is being stuck on a strict definition of homeschooling as being only one type of educating process involving recreating a government school classroom, curriculum, and schedule in the home. That is utter hogwash. I have never heard anyone who educates their children at home, regardless what method they choose, make such a claim. Homeschooling is commonly known as a catchall term which includes many different means to the same end.

        1. That’s kind of the point; homeschooling is a means to the same end. And it was never the path to the end that created the flaws with the education system but the whole concept of an expected outcome.

          Oops, I did it again. I personally love sentences that begin with conjunctions… I write how I want a sentence or paragraph to sound, not so it can be easily dissected through the lens of arbitrary rules.

          The words I choose aren’t for their length but because I want my message clear. If I use different words, it changes the connotations and leaves room for misinterpretation.

          I do wonder though; if my generalisations don’t apply to your experiences, then why would you take it to be speaking to them?

          1. ” I write how I want a sentence or paragraph to sound”

            It makes you sound unintelligent and uneducated. If you like it that way, rock on.

            “I want my message clear.”

            Judging by the comments you allow through, you are failing in that mission.

            “… it changes the connotations…”

            Are you aware that “connotation” and “denotation” have markedly different definitions? Silly, arbitrary rules!

            “…if my generalisations don’t apply to your experiences, then why would you take it to be speaking to them?”

            They do not speak to my specific experiences.

            If you believe in organic, self-directed education and wish to write and not have people misunderstand what it is you are writing about, you might consider educating yourself by taking a course in English.

            Please do have a lovely day.

          2. My purpose is not to sound intelligent or educated, it is to share my opinion and I do not believe one needs to be intelligent or educated in order to earn that right. I also recieve many opinions that differ from your own. I expect some level of misunderstanding because I am coming from a very different perspective than what most have come to expect, even within unschooling and respectful parenting circles.

            Connotation is the word I intended; I’m talking about the conditioned meanings in words, there are some I avoid because they have been corrupted to mean something different to their original intention.

          3. Rob, your comments to Jessica are shockingly rude. Why do you feel it appropriate to be so condescending? Do you go around lecturing everyone on their use of language?

            Jessica, I admire your ability to respond calmly to such rudeness. Thank you for your example, and for your work in standing up for children’s freedom. I look forward to a time when it isn’t such a controversial idea.

  1. Perfectly said, perfectly understood. And I agree. We are passionately unschooling and are strong advocates for creating a new paradigm for education thorough self-directed learning. All the best, Carly

  2. Wow, so sorry you have to wade through such rudeness! There are much better (and nicer) ways to disagree. Thank you for being so graceful about that sort of interaction. His wording actually made me feel sick.
    As for us – I think we struggle with wanting to maintain some sort of control.. though that is a personal issue of mine and something I am trying to deal with. I think we are actually unschooling..even though I keep making schedules we never actually get around to putting them into place – haha.
    Would you consider it unschooling even though we have some curriculum? It is never forced, just available for if/when our littles are interested. Currently our 6 year old is obsessed with ReadingEggs.

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