What Constitution Day Means to Unschoolers: An exploration of how unschoolers celebrate and honor the US Constitution

The United States Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787, and Americans have celebrated the signing of the Constitution on September 17 as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day to recognize the adoption of the U.S. Constitution and to celebrate American citizenship. This day recognizes the adoption of the U.S. Constitution which stands as an enduring symbol of freedom and democracy that influences governmental structures in many countries throughout the world. Unschoolers typically do not have a traditional school curriculum, so how does it impact them? How does it affect unschooling families? Does it affect them at all?

Exploring Constitutional History

Constitution Day is a celebration of our constitution and with it, an opportunity for education, reflection, or experimentation. From homeschooling your children in history, to unschooling them in their civics class; from commemorating past heroes with essays about those that paved the way for us today, or even a trip down (or up) memory lane by talking about some old films about the founding fathers. What will you do? How will you educate yourself or your children on this day? Unschoolers have different approaches, but what most share is the desire to explore constitutional law and think critically about how this document shapes their life as citizens of a democracy. There are many ways to commemorate constitutional history with unschoolers – some might read biographies of prominent figures such as John Adams or Benjamin Franklin; others might watch documentaries like ‘Liberty! The American Revolution’ that examines historical documents like Jefferson’s Declaration Of Independence. For others, they might enjoy watching early film adaptations of ‘A Tale Of Two Cities’ or books such as the very popular A Young Patriot’s Handbook: How George Washington Fought For Freedom With His Own Teenage Spy Network during the Revolutionary War. It’s all up to you!

Freedom, Democracy, Self-Determination

Constitution Day is an important day for unschoolers to reflect on what freedom means in education. Celebrating this date is a great opportunity for unschooling families who want to educate their children through a democratic process where they learn by doing, creating, collaborating, and working together as a group. It’s also a chance for them to ask themselves: How can we create more opportunities for each person to engage with our government? And how can we get more people involved in government? One way would be to start a dialogue about what democracy could look like today—and then use that information to change policies and laws around voting, education, and citizenship. There are other ways that parents can make sure their kids are engaged in civic life, too. For example, instead of always looking at textbooks and lectures when studying history or civics, it might be easier to just talk about current events with your kids. Or encourage them to read the news or watch documentaries. The goal is to give your kids tools so they’re able to speak up and participate actively in civic life no matter where they decide to go when they grow up.

Individuality, Equality, Unity

A celebration of individualism, equality, and unity. For many, living in a society with constitutional freedoms is what unites them as Americans. But, who knows better than an unschooled kid? The U.S. government does not define American culture – that belongs to every individual American. That’s why for us, Constitutional Day means making our own celebrations within our own communities, where people speak freely without fear of reprisal or judgment by those in power. We believe it is our obligation to take care of one another and show love for each other. We see it as everyone’s responsibility to create a safe environment for all people, regardless of their ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, or any other form of identity-based discrimination. And finally, we know that there are values and beliefs common among all Americans – like freedom from want and fear. These are things we all share because they’re so fundamental to human nature. So whether you’re on a TV show, teaching school children about democracy, giving back to your community at home or abroad, working in law enforcement and protecting the rights of others, celebrating your individuality in whatever way you choose – all these actions contribute to America. I believe this day also reminds us how much there is left to do! To make sure that everyone can experience life free from want and fear. It may seem difficult sometimes, but by actively participating in projects together, we can bring about change. One person alone cannot be powerful enough to affect change on their own, but together we have the power to make a difference, so we’re raising our kids to make a difference in a way that they find most meaningful.

Liberty and Rule of Law

A cornerstone of a democratic society is that every person, regardless of race, gender, wealth or other distinguishing feature, is granted certain inalienable rights. One way these rights are expressed is through the United States Constitution, which protects us from abuse by those in power.
There are some dangers associated with celebration from time to time. For example, one issue that many have brought up with the Fourth of July celebration has been the celebration’s ties to nationalism and being anti-foreigner. It can be easy for celebrators to forget about the constitutional principles behind their celebration when they focus on flag waving, food, drink and all of the excitement around fireworks.
When we take the time to reflect on what our celebrations really mean and why we’re celebrating them, we get a chance to pay homage not only to our nation but also to those who created it—the people who risked everything so that we could live freely. While none of us today had any say in the drafting of the U.S. Constitution, today is a day to remind ourselves of its importance and share stories about why it was written and what freedoms it grants. We can use this knowledge as inspiration for action and protest against anything that undermines democracy here at home or abroad, as well as advocate for equality among all humans – because borders don’t actually exist.

Radical Democracy

The radical democracy that drove our nation’s formation may be as different from what we consider democracy today as it was when the Constitution was signed in 1787. Our history is not just an accounting of what has happened, but a living representation of our choices, options, and freedom. Today’s choices will shape tomorrow’s history, so if we want an America that offers justice for all, then these are some foundational steps we can take: Learn about this country’s founding documents. Knowledge can empower you. Whether you’re reading your textbook or a novel, knowing more about the past will help you make sense of where society is going now. For example, since our earliest days, people have been striving for equal rights under law—equality and justice are baked into American DNA! However, there have always been those who would stand in the way of progress.
It takes self-reflection to see things clearly enough to make better decisions going forward. Sometimes people mistake power-over others with power-over themselves. That’s why taking care of yourself (mentally, physically, spiritually) is one step on the path to empowerment. We need to learn from mistakes to grow smarter and wiser. That’s what makes us human. In addition to learning about the past, examining ourselves and making decisions based on our needs and wants will also allow us to find greater strength within ourselves. So let’s continue to strive for radical democracy—the kind that recognizes everyone as worthy of dignity, liberty, and equality. To do that, we’ll need to fight back against the forces of fascism, racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia and any other oppressive ideology. And we’ll have to stay aware of sneaky tactics like voter suppression laws and gerrymandering, but I believe this is possible with hard work and perseverance.

Who We Are vs. Whom We Are Not

Most people do not consider themselves to be an unschooler. To be very clear, unschooling is not homeschooling; it is a different way of thinking about education. Homeschooling is using teaching methods developed within the current educational system (teaching for a test). Unschooling does not follow any particular teaching method or philosophy. Rather, it emphasizes learning through life experience. It is against formalized testing, grading, instructionism and other practices typically associated with school. There are no right answers in unschooling because there are no wrong answers. The idea is that children will learn what they need to know when they need to know it, on their own time frame. In this sense, uneducated adults are just as much learners as the younger generation. Unschoolers don’t have to worry about missing out on anything by not going to school, but some parents may worry that their child will be too far behind if they never attend class or get involved in extra-curricular activities. A lot of people might find it hard to believe that we never talk about grades or tests at home! We simply don’t care what grades our kids receive, as grades are not an accurate measure of knowledge or ability. We don’t feel like we’re depriving them of something by not sending them to school. When you think about it, all the information that students can obtain today is available without ever having to go into a classroom – though most people don’t take advantage of this resource. Students who pursue unschooling are actually ahead of the game because they’ll be more informed and better prepared for college than those who were forced to attend traditional schooling. As such, we try to make sure that our children’s educations are not limited solely to subjects taught in a standard classroom setting.

Willow Stevens

Willow is a mother of six who begins to feel the empty nest, with faer oldest child living with his long-time girlfriend in another state, and the next three begin their talks about jobs and the excitement of college and living alone. Willow started couponing in 2007 to save their family some money on the grocery budget. That's how Freetail Therapy was born, so that fae could share their knowledge of saving money with others. Though the site has become so much more since then, and now includes homeschooling and homesteading info, Willow still does it all on a budget and shares how. Willow enjoys snagging freebies, snuggling with their dog, Xander, drinking decaf coffee, gardening, cannabis and of course, their large frugal family.

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