|My awesome mom, letting me practice my fine art technique|
I speak at a lot of conferences, and am sometimes the only homeschooler, much less unschooler, in any group. I get asked a lot of the same questions pretty frequently. Recently, one of the first people I met in our first homeschooling park group, started a blog with her mom. They also get asked some of the same questions -- this blog is in response to those folks.
So! The question - will you homeschool your own children?
Like I said, I've been asked this question since I was about 10 years old. For many years, it was just a vehement "yes!" Since then, and now being married to a very real husband with a different background than mine (he was not homeschooled) instead of a hypothetical one who of course agrees with every decision I make, how I arrive at my answer has changed. I still say yes, but I have three conditions:
1. I will always have to do a better job than the alternative.
2. I will make decisions based on prioritized values that my husband and I determine, together.
3. It does no harm (to my family's happiness, to my relationship with my husband)
|Painting on the most available canvas|
2. I will make decisions based on values that my husband and I prioritize: There are going to be things I want my kids to learn, but I have to be able to think big-picture to make day-to-day decisions. For example, I already know that I really want my kids to play piano. But more than that, I want them to appreciate music. So if there is ever a situation where my desire to have them play piano might damage their appreciation of music, then I have to make the choice in favor of them appreciating music. My mom said that she made her decisions based on what made our eyes light up. I have some ideas as to what my guide would be, but have not had this particular conversation in enough depth with my husband to say definitively (I would imagine it will be a number of conversations, continued over the rest of our lives). And if we strongly disagree? That brings me to point #3...
3. It does no harm, specifically to my relationship with my husband or with my family. If there is a clash about homeschooling that is so strong as to do harm to any of these relationships, I choose the relationships. I think it is more important to have a happy marriage, working together and on the same team for our children, than it is to homeschool. Now, based on my experience and what I've seen happen, I think that unschooling does amazing things for all types of relationships. So I do not have much fear in this area. But it could happen - I've seen it happen. I've seen mothers cling so hard to the label "unschooler" that they alienate their partners. I've seen people want so desperately to Be Unschoolers that they forget other values while they hang on to the title. First things first, I suggest losing attachment to the name. If my husband doesn't like the idea of "unschooling" but does like the idea of supporting our children in their interests, respecting them, engaging with them, etc. then why do I need to call it anything? At this point, the principles of unschooling are a part of how I live my own life. I can't imagine the personality transplant that would have to occur for me to not treat my children this way, no matter what the extenuating circumstances.
So. Will I unschool my own children? Yes!
Were you homeschooled? Do you agree? Will you be homeschooling your own children? What other questions do you have for a grown unschooler? Ask in the comments!