Have you ever heard about unschooling? I didn’t until I watched a few TED talks about it.
I will be home educating my daughter as some of you already know. Many people think this is weird, and see home educating as something hippies do. The hippies of the 60’s knew what was up. They realised that they have just spent all that time in school being told what to do, what to wear, what to know and how to act. Even for the average person coming out of school, it is like suddenly being free. Unless you walked straight into a job that you were prepared for; sitting in the cubicle following orders. Next minute you are quitting your job and having a midlife crisis. It’s not a midlife crisis, it’s that you are only now figuring out what you actually want and giving yourself the opportunity to have freedom of choice.
Many kids leaving school now days are not prepared for real life. They don’t know about bills, tax, mortgages. How to have safe and loving relationships and be confident. How to learn in the way that works for them. Learning is so important for living, it is not about reading something then answering a question on that topic, then never looking at it again because you’ve got the A* to prove you know it. If you had to take all the tests again that you took in school, right now. Would you get the same results? If the answer is no, then you did not learn it. You were just ticking the boxes so you could go outside and play. Playing in the trees, in the rivers, learning about insects and animals. Playing games with your friends, learning about socialising… learning how to be happy.
I’m sorry, I have yet to pinpoint something I learnt in school that has greatly helped me in life other than being thick skinned from not ‘fitting in’. When I left school, I had to learn to learn. I taught myself to research and discover what I enjoyed. I went to university and still didn’t know how to learn. I knew how to tick the boxes so that I passed and it took me 5 years to finish a 3-year course. It was in the midst of university that I started learning about things – this is what I deemed procrastination. Through this, I realised what learning and investigating was. Now I’m learning so many new things. I learnt about nutrition and exercise. I’m learning about love, kindness and empathy. I’m learning to love myself no matter what people say.
Imagine if I knew how to learn like this when I was a child. Imagine all the things I would have learnt and remembered. I’m not talking about things like learning to talk and read. I’m talking about passions. When did you first have a passion where you were given the full opportunity to explore it until you were done. Do you remember a time when you were so engulfed in what you were doing, and wanted to know everything about it. That is learning. School don’t encourage learning. They encourage the ability to be taught. They have a curriculum to follow and nothing is allowed to get in the way of that. Being taught and learning are two different things.
Another example is that feeling when you finally move out of the family home. You feel free to eat what you want, be who you want, do things when you want. It usually takes some time for you and your mind to settle into the freedom. Imagine if that started right from childhood. If you had your parents guidance on being free and letting you make your own decisions consciously. When you leave the family home you already know yourself, you’re already prepared. Life is that same because you’ve been living your life the whole time. Just this time you’re creating your own journey. No shock transitions. It’s all one big smooth transition.
Mainstream schools inhibit this inward growth and the ability to find out who you are without leading you to a midlife crisis. Mainstream schools dictate your life before you have a chance to know who you really are. Our Millennial generation is often called lazy. It’s not that we’re lazy, it’s that we’ve been ticking our boxes our whole life and we don’t just get to walk into a job like our parents did. We’ve been ticking boxes but for what? There aren’t enough jobs for us! We don’t know how to learn and as a result, we seem stagnant. It’s not until after we leave school and finally find out what our passions are, that we think we can pursue the jobs that aren’t readily available. Or create our own businesses to supply our own need.
This is the book that really helped me understand the concept and helped family members understand. Free to Learn: Five Ideas for a Joyful Unschooling Life
Schools need to get with modern technology so that the kids today are ready for life. Until then my daughter will be home educated. I will be following the unschooling way. Learning with passion. That’s what life is about. It’s taken me 24 years to learn that, I want it to be innate for her.
Learning is life.