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.