Since it is such a taboo phrase, it is something that I have been hesitant to mention, but we are Radical Unschoolers. We have always been a bit on the “weird” side of pretty much everything. We don’t vaccinate, we prefer to treat medical issues naturally and while we don’t have the most natural or organic diet, we do enjoy growing much of our own foods.
I will admit that we are new to unschooling, since I didn’t even know about it until a few months ago, when we pulled our kids out of public school. I was fed up with all of the Common
Crap Core, non-stop testing, constant homework, crying fits and early bed times. Then there were the issues that the kids were having….. As my kids kept getting more homework piled onto them, I started to think about things. I told my kids that they could go outside and play instead of doing their homework. I was pretty much always against homework to begin with, but I seemed to hate it more and more as time went on. If my kids were going to spend 4 hours on school work around the kitchen table, why not just homeschool them!? That’s how we started out.
Preston was in an afternoon program at school to help with his homework, so once he got out of school, he went to that program for 3 hours, then came home. He was literally gone from the house from 6am to 6pm, Monday through Friday. We had a strict 8pm bedtime here, because they needed their sleep in order to get up early the next day, so he only had 2 hours of family time; of which, an hour was spent cleaning up from dinner. He was no longer my child, he belonged to the school and they allowed him to come home, have 1 meal and get some sleep! My other children were home earlier, but they too had a few hours of homework to do. I couldn’t handle all the stress and I didn’t think they needed to stress out either! I pulled them out of public school and began homeschooling them. We did two and a half to 3 hours of school work per day, with no days off. It was working well for us, but my kids still felt forced and a little stressed out. Sure, they had more play time than they did before, but it still wasn’t right for us.
And after homeschooling for about a month, I decided to give unschooling a try. My kids are happy again, they are learning and they are thriving, and my stress is GONE!
Math and reading are tools to help my kids get what they want. They may not learn them at the same schedule as other kids, but they will learn them when they need to. I didn’t understand basic math until after I graduated high school, my ex husband graduated high school without knowing how to read. I do not think either of those things are ok! I think the public schools failed us, and I know that I won’t fail my kids like I was failed. I can’t say for my ex, because I broke ties with him, but for me, math clicked when my passion for coupons arose. With passion comes learning, and it isn’t easy to learn if you hate doing it or feel forced to do it.
I run a business teaching people how to use coupons, because that is what my passion was. I work for myself full time, as our only source of income. Granted, I am far from rich, but we get by and I am happy. I would rather be doing what I love and getting by, then doing something I hate and being rich. That’s all I want of my kids too, to be happy in life. Owen has a passion for cooking, he wants to own a restaurant. He learns math by working with recipes and reading by following the instructions. Preston is currently in love with loom bands. He is selling them to his friends and he asked me what a good price would be, and I told him that he needed to sell them at a price that would make him a profit, but not so much that he would be considered to be ripping people off. He asked me what I meant by that, so I explained that he would have to figure out how much each band cost him, and charge enough to cover that cost, plus some. I told him that he should be charging double what it cost him. So he had to figure out how much each band cost (he figured out that they are about a half of a penny each) He then had to figure out how many bands it took to make a bracelet (about 84) and then he had to multiply in order to come out with how much it cost him to make one, then multiple again by 2 to get how much he should charge. There is math all over, and it can be fun. It doesn’t have to be worksheets all the time.
I was recently asked “ok but what happens if they want to get a job, a part time one as a cashier and such. you need basic math skills for that. You can’t learn it the day you go.” and my response was simple, “Have you seen some of the cashiers? They don’t know basic math, the computer does it for them. I want my kids to do what they love though. Being a cashier isn’t a job that anyone loves.” I hope more for my kids than to be a cashier for some national chain store. I hope that they follow their dreams and make a living by doing what they love, and I hope to do my best in order to help them reach those dreams. I am not raising my kids to work for other people, but to work for themselves doing what they love, whatever that may be.
I am still learning. This whole way of life is new to me, and it’s not an easy change, but I love it! It fits our family perfectly and I am glad to see my kids happy again.