I bought “The Brainy Bunch” last night and read it today. It basically told me what I had hoped. That you CAN unschool, without having it be radical whole life unschooling, in that, we can still have rules and boundaries. I mean, that is what we were doing, but reading that another family was doing it that way made me feel better.
I agree with most of the philosophies of unschooling, but I think rules and routines are needed in my family. I had been worried that it had to be an all or nothing thing, and I wasn’t 100% keen on Radical Unschooling, although I could see positive points to it, when done from birth.
I was a strict parent and my kids were publicly schooled for many years. My oldest is 14, and was homeschooled for first grade, then public schooled from second to eighth, while the younger children were put into public school from the beginning, and only pulled out about 6 months ago. Switching to “the other side” completely caused complete chaos, so we “backslid” to some rules, and are happier there, but I find that the kids aren’t interested in formal education.
I know they are learning while doing what they love, but I think that I need to implement a schedule like the Harding’s did. Wake up, basic chores and self-care, math, writing, reading at their own pace and what they can do, then whatever they want afterward/fun stuff. It doesn’t have to be overly structured, do this lesson now and this one tomorrow, as long as they are moving ahead. I feel better now, knowing that we can unschool, without being radical about it. Unschooling is something that I fully support. I feel that children need to be interested in order to have a love of learning, however, I also feel that I can’t just leave it completely to their own devices. My 11 year old wants to be a Chef, however, sometimes he will say that he wants to work at McDonald’s as a cook. Knowing how well my son does at cooking, McDonald’s would be a huge waste of his talent, and I wouldn’t want to see him there, unless, of course, he owned a franchise. That would work well for him, I think. He would need business knowledge on top of his love for cooking though, and might need a nudge in the right direction to get him there, to show him what he would need in order to get to where he wants to be. Lay out the available courses for him and let him decide if it is worthwhile to do them, if he truly wants to get there, they will be.
Well worth $10 even if they had a lot of bigoted Christian faith based phrases in there like “While I am convinced homeschooling is an exceptional avenue in educating one’s child, it is equally dependent on a CHRISTIAN faith….Without the faith ingredient, your child may be smart…..but still as unwise, foolish, and possibly EVIL as can be.”
It did take me a lot of personal strength to continue to read on after that phrase. I told myself that their religious beliefs were just that, theirs; and that I could continue reading to see the perspective on the rest of their life, without having to take away any of the beliefs that I didn’t agree with. There were many faith based quips that I didn’t agree with, but looking past those, I think they really have the right idea when it comes to education.