The Point of Unschooling


Today I read this blog-post of one of my favorite bloggers: In Praise of the Unexceptional and it struck me – I do this, all-the-time! I somehow try to legitimize our unschooling with how much my son is learning… “He speaks three languages, so were good”, “he does 9th grade algebra, so see – it’s better than school”…

And that is not the point …

See – if he was in school, he would still speak three languages, and probably be at the top of his class in math. Because that is who he is. And because we are the parents we are, we expose him to the things that let him learn those things regardless of school. And because he learns “schooly stuff” really really easily. I went to school for … God knows how many years! 20? Something like that. And I hardly know how many languages I speak. I does not prove that schools are good at teaching languages. Neither does my sons speaking 3 languages at the age of 7 prove that unschooling works.

That is not the point.

The point is – that he enjoys learning. The point is – that he is learning at his pace. The point is  – that he is happy. And even if he wasn’t excelling in the academic subjects, unschooling would still “work” – because by not being with peers all day, being measured against their academic achievement – he would not feel stupid, or wrong. Or because he would be learning all kinds of other things – that were relevant to him. Not necessarily to me, or his dad – or grand-mom, but to him.

Somebody said to me “but you would expect your kids to go to University – you have a Masters degree!” Well no, I don’t expect it. If they want to, then yes – I’ll do what I can to help them. But if they don’t want to do that – then I’ll support them in what ever it is that they want. Even if that is something as unexceptional as being a stay a home mom or farmer 🙂 Or just being them – with what ever dreams they have – and those dreams don’t need to be exceptional, but they need to be theirs.

And that is the point of unschooling – to let the kids do what they want, when they want it. In childhood and for the rest of their lives.

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