So we are about a month out from when the kids should have gone back to main stream school in term 3. I have felt so many emotions over the last few months since we seriously considered home schooling, then eventually decided to take the plunge into unschooling. From happiness to complete fear, the spectrum is huge. However overall the kids are amazingly happy and I feel that we have made the right decision to bring them home to learn.
For unschooling to work well, their must first be a period of deschooling. This is a process where we literally all take a step back, breath a sigh of relief and just live. Do what we enjoy doing, allow the stressors and worries of school to dissipate and just go in to holiday mode for a while. Experts say that for every year you attended school or a school/institution of sorts, then their needs to be about a month of deschooling in comparison. Even us as parents need to go through the deschooling process. This is where the fear for me kicks in.
I have feared the kids are not going to learn anything (I’ve already been convinced this is not the case though), fear that they will become used to doing nothing (far from the truth), fear that we will not bother learning anything (this is not the case as we as a race are natural learners) and fear that I will never be able to peel my kids away from technology that has now become a HUGE part of our lives since commencing unschooling.
This last one has been a big one for us as our son received a new video game for his birthday just one month ago. Since that time he has been playing it a lot. Like a lot, as in up to 16 hours a day (yes… cringe). I have been assured by many that this is a phase, just sit back relax, spend time with him whilst he games, allow him to teach you the game, bring him sustenance and just be. Allow yourself to be available if he wants to show you something, if he needs your help to work through something, basically be free to do so and just be chilled about the whole thing. I thought oh yep, I’ve got this. I’m naturally very relaxed, hence being drawn to unschooling as opposed to homeschooling or school at home… We have never had screen restrictions before, so I didn’t feel that he would feel the need to submerge himself so much in a game, however he absolutely has this time and the whole thing has just taken my breath away.
It’s been a huge thing for us as a family. I’ve had to sit down and assess my feelings, chat with my hubby at length to reassure him that I’ve got this covered. However I wonder… Why do I/we feel like this? Is this fear we have a legitimate fear? What are we actually fearing? And how is this fear making us feel both physically and emotionally?
My son is happy! Like a mean super, super happy. He’s learning a bunch of stuff. His reading is improving as he’s reading things in the game that he wants to read, he’s meeting and socialising online with like minded people whom love the game (as well as a few not so nice people, which lets be real, are out there, however we are dealing with this as we go due to having open communication with each other), he’s learning problem solving techniques, he’s making and managing money in the game, making purchases… Their are so many elements he is learning. I tell myself and reassure my husband all of this, yet we still have this fear.
Perhaps it is the stigma of gaming or spending too much time on screens or online that is ruffling us. I’m learning that this idea is a farce as I have read so many peer reviewed articles (check this blog post out, it links to loads of further research) and feel that I have a good understanding now. Perhaps it’s the fear of judgement for allowing and well, you could say enabling him to be able to do this… I even fear publishing this post for the backlash and judgement that may come of it. However I’m doing so in hope of connecting with other parents just starting out and finding all of the unschooling information out there, just too perfect and unrealistic to conquer right now in your home.
So for now, we are riding the wave, communicating our feelings with one an other, feeling through each and every day trying not to look much further ahead than next week whilst trying to find a workable middle ground so that everyone in our home is comfortable and thriving on this journey. I’m finding that there is no one thing that any one can tell you will work. We are all amazingly beautiful and unique individuals, all on our own journeys. So for now we will just try small things, whilst watching and taking it all in. Enjoying this beautiful precious time hanging out with our kids – Michelle x
I hope you have enjoyed this post…
P.S. There is more to come on the adventures of our daughter, whom loves art, art and more art xxx