Sunday, May 17, 2009

I am becoming more vocal about my belief in unschooling. This is partly because I am growing weary of the questions and have deveolped some standard answeres but it is also because my faith in the approach is growing stronger. These two reasons were illustrated beautifully for me recently when a mother whose children are traditionally schooled was very interested in what we do but finally said, "I want my children to go on to college though."

I admit that at first my feathers were ruffled; I want my kids to go to college as well and besides, she seemed to be implying that I was falling short and not preparing them well enough. It was a brief encounter and I simply smiled and gave my now standard response that I do too, in fact I've spoken to people who work in admissions at nearby universities. But as I went about my day I couldn't help coming back to this conversation. Now, a few days later, it is still floating around in my head. I finally figured out that is because I only addressed her concern- why unschooling/homeschooling is just as good as traditional school. I did not however address my concern- why I believe this way is better for my kids than traditional school.

So, I thought about the goals I have more kids; they do include college, if they so choose, but that is not my ONLY goal for them. A few others I think are vital:
-fearlessnes in the pursuit of their dreams
-the ability to accept failures as a stepping stone on the path to success
-the ability to define success for themselves instead of accepting the world's definition
-to appreciate what makes them unique as well as the uniqueness of others
-recognition that although we are all unique we are also connected
-creativity in play, in work, in problem solving, in LIFE
-the ability to think critically and logically
-the courage to think for themselves
-trust in themselves; in their ability to learn, in their own goals and dreams, in their intuitive knowledge of and abiltiy to meet their own physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental need

I think all of these things are vital to a healthy, happy life and I believe the path we are traveling is the best way I can help them reach these goals. I also believe that, at least for my own children, traditional school was a huge obstacle to many of these goals. So, next time someone tells me they wouldn't homeschool or unschool because they want their children to go to college I'll still say that I want my kids to go to college too. But I might also have a few other things to add.

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