In my book “How to Treat Your Toddlers so Your Teenagers will Talk to You ” I speak a great deal about the choices we made regarding education for our daughters. I explain that we gave our children the option to stay home for school and therefore refer to that practice as “home-schooling”. The truth is, during the years our daughters chose to be at home, what we did was more like “un-schooling” and even that does not adequately describe it.
The facts: we simply let our children live their lives and included them in our lives within the context of our value system, our financial reality, our spiritual, emotional, intellectual and cultural choices, and gave them a great deal of freedom to explore the world – each from her own intuitive place; that’s all.
Sometimes that found us sitting them down with worksheets and pencils but more often than not it led to a lot of reading, playing Pooh-sticks in the park, singing together, visiting with other “un-schooled” friends, and countless trips to Grammie and Papa’s house.
I remember when I was first considering the radical (and it was still pretty radical at the time) choice to keep our children home from school, I was reading about other home-schooling families. What I found was very encouraging. The stories of children who had been allowed to simply continue living their lives in a fairly unstructured but supported way, were the most appealing to me The fact that many of these children were reported to have entered high-school or college at the top of their class gave me great hope.
But I have to admit I was skeptical at first that such an outcome was possible in my family. Maybe the only people writing about this stuff were really smart people with freekishly smart kids. How could I be sure that allowing my girls play their way through childhood would net similar results. I wanted more information, more details. In short I wanted structure, a fool-proof plan that I could follow so that my girls would not be left behind, so that they too could later choose to enter the “real world” and excel at anything they wanted.
You see what was going on there. I was needing reassurance that what I was letting my girls do would not come back to bite me. I was still stuck in the old pattern of belief that there is a right way and a wrong way to do everything and I wanted to know the right way to make sure home-schooling was not a failure in our home. I was working from the very mindset that I was trying to avoid having my children adopt; success vs. failure, right vs.wrong. It was crazy.
So I’m here to tell you that I do now have and answer and I am prepared to reveal to you the way to successfully “educate” your children at home…YOUR WAY or better yet THEIR WAY.
I could give you detailed notes about our process and our choices but that would not make keeping your kids at home a “successful” venture. There are as many ways to home-school or un-school a child as there are children in the world and the key to everyone of them is to FOLLOW and FACILITATE. Follow your child’s lead and help him get access to the experiences that interest him. Allow your child to create her own methods of learning and she will never lose her joy for the same.
If you are just starting out, I know you probably want more information – the “secret for success” – but that’s all I’ve got. It’s not about the end results, it’s about trusting yourself and teaching your children to trust themselves as well. That is victory.
Please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org and look for new posts every week starting in January 2012
Tags: children, college, high-school, home-schooling, parents, un-schooling