Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Not-Back-to-School Day!

Today is the day we celebrate our decision not to go back to school.

Six years ago, at the end of a year of part-time Kindergarten for Taliesin (which we thought was sort-of-unschooling, or at least homeschooling, at the time), we swallowed hard and accepted that actually it was school. And we would never be happy with school. Tali wasn't happy; we weren't happy. It just wasn't for us. I had to find a way to tell the school's director. I put it off for days, until I suddenly found myself on the phone with him for other reasons, and nervously blurted out something like: "We've decided to try full-time-homelearning...?"

He grinned audibly. "Oh that's wonderful! I just know Tali and you will be so happy."
I felt like my feet were lifting off. I could feel wings sprouting under my heavy shoulder blades.
The joy felt like a whisper of feathers on a great, big, warm wind:

We're not going back to school.

We're not going back to school.

We're not going back to school.


I didn't really know what unschooling was, and I fought it for the first while. I was afraid to be radical, but also wanted to embrace it. I called us life-learners. I set up what I thought were simple schedules, open 'learning times', even though I felt that learning happened any time... but every year we are growing.

Eventually we embraced the word unschooling as I became more comfortable with our radical nature. Yes I know we don't fit in. And quite frankly, that's why we're doing this: because I think the 'norm' is wrong. I will go right out there and say that even though many people feel it's right for them, I think having kids in schools is causing untellable harm to our society. It's wrong. I've looked on from the outside for long enough, now, that I see from a different angle. I know that will alienate people. But part of embracing the unschooling is embracing our authentic selves; our true feelings, and our true beliefs.

Unschooling is certainly not always easy. It means we have less income; there's less time for me to develop my career, and there's a lot more onus on us, as a family, to help our kids grow strong and healthy. We, like everyone, find and face challenges all the time, but the more I see that the challenges are only to be solved by changing myself (instead of re-working the kids' lives), the more we get through them intact, and the more we emerge stronger and happier.

And we are happy! Nearly every day I look at my life and I feel truly truly grateful for all that I have -- and our decision to unschool is right at the top of that 'all'. I love that my career is evolving around my kids and that they are witnessing exactly how one develops a career. I love that they see the downs and the ups. I love that we (and they) have so much responsibility, because I see how much they embrace that; how mature they are becoming in their considerations and dreams. I love that their dreams are intact. And I love that I can say that, despite the bumps along the way, every single year, on the whole, is even more wonderful than the last. I love that I am able to share my children's lives with them, and that we've found ways to grow, together.

Happy Not-Back-to-School Day, everybody!!

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