As I have said before, we hadn’t planned to home educate and when we took Rayne out of school we had no time to research or plan how we were going to do it. I joined an amazing online network, Explorium who helped us make our decision and continue to help us understand how to go deep in relation to learning through our passions but other than that for the last 7 months we have been totally winging it! I had heard the terms ‘deschooling’ and ‘unschooling’ being thrown around some of the home ed groups we joined and heard that it took 1 month per every year the child had been in school to deschool but it is only now that I have actually found some time and head space to find out more about them. What I have discovered is that we are already on the right path to deschooling and unschooling. When I think about it, it was inevitable really due to the way we choose to raise our little people, so instead of us finding unschooling, I think unschooling found us!
I finished reading “what is unschooling” yesterday which has a chapter about deschooling in it. The author, Patricia Laricchia says to deschool it is best to not do any activities whatsoever for a while, to give the child a break to really find out what their interests are, rather than what we as parents think they should be doing. Well if you read my post Less activities and more time to play you will know that I managed to come to the same conclusion instinctively, without any guidance (yay me!!) I should add this was after about 6 months of totally overdoing the activities! Having confirmation from an experienced unschooling parent though makes me feel better about my decision to decrease Rayne and Rose’s activities to the ones they have chosen to keep.
We had a home day today and I tried really hard to follow the advice from Pat’s book in relation to unschooling and I am not going to lie, it was hard!! My biggest challenge was being able to give my all to Rayne and Rose while they were playing or watching their favorite TV programmes. I really don’t like one of the TV programmes Rayne watches; it has ‘canned laughter’ in the background that gets on my nerves and it is very stereotypical, but she loves it so I sat down beside her and watched it with her. Usually when she watches it I tell her to turn it off or go in another room as I don’t want to hear it. Even though I don’t like the programme, from watching one episode with her today I could clearly see that she is learning from it and the stereotypical characters and story lines are a great conversation starter for lots of learning.
Another thing I need to get out of the habit of doing is comparing Rayne’s knowledge or ability to do something with other children her age. Why do we do this? Why do we think there is a ‘behind’ or an ‘ahead’ when it comes to learning? Is this to do with the deschooling I need to do from all the years I went through the educational system?
I am now going deeper into my learning about unschooling, I have more books to read and have joined some groups and subscribed to podcasts so I am sure there will be more reflecting further down the line!!
Here are some of the things we got up to today…
Rayne and Rose have been watching Lord of the Rings with Sy so this morning the three of them chose their characters and reenacted the film for about an hour. They then decided to make Isengard, kinngdom of the Orcs out of Lego!
Rayne asked for a McDonalds for lunch. I thought about how I could answer her without just saying ‘no’ and came up with an idea to make our own Happy Meals using recyclables to make the packaging!
We used paper from inside a shoe box to wrap the burgers in, a food box to make the holder for the French fries and brown sandwich bags that I bought last year to put it all into! Rayne enjoyed customising hers and I did Rose’s while discussing consumerism with Rayne!!
Rose has a cough and sore throat and asked for an ice lolly. We didn’t have any so we decided to make some using fresh strawberries, frozen banana and coconut milk! Rose learnt that they had to spend time in the freezer to become icy before eating them!
I would love to hear about your unschooling journey. Please feel free to leave a comment…