22 February 2010

unschool monday :: why?

We are fortunate to live in a lovely neighbourhood. The school two streets away is deemed to be one of the best around, with a high school next door. It has great facilities and lies right on the river. The educational programs are supposedly great. A princess went there for goodness sake!! Yeah, ok, its a great school. So then why do we choose not to wander round there with the owlets? Because we can. We have tried to provide a non-competetive environment for our owlets.Praise and rewards based systems do not fit with our home life. When it came time for us to find somewhere for big owlet to begin her learning, we discovered that many of our options didn't fit with our parenting... and our owlets are unhappiest when in situations that involve competition and rewards and lots of structure... for example, at a party they will happily dance around, but would prefer to sit out musical chairs. So that ruled out the local school. The Steiner school was lovely and big owlet attended for two kinder years, but it was still not 100% right for us... and expensive!! We could afford to travel to Europe several times over for what it would cost us to send the owlets there for all of their schooling!! Lets do that instead!!

But what about me? Do I get time to myself? Yes. As learning happens all the time, Huz is involved too, so its not all on me to edumacate while he's at work. Sometimes we'll do maths at bedtime or writing at the dinner table, figuring out how to write THE! in carrots.

So I have nights to myself and for the moment an afternoon a week where the owlets spend time with their grandmother. There are also playdates, sleepovers, weekends... They'll want to spend less time with me soon enough. Often people will comment "gee you must really like spending time your children".. Sure, but its not a life sentence. We make it work week by week just as any family does. "Oh, but its such a big commitment!"... Actually I found it harder to commit to handing our children over to an institution or teacher for most of their days. I think we took the easy way out. We know exactly what they are learning and when and we know that their needs are being met. If there comes a time that their needs are not being met and school can meet those needs, then we'll look for the right one. I have one or two in mind when and if that happens... I think if we said this is forever, no room for change, we'd all go mad. We just keep checking in and make sure we are all happy. So far so good...


  1. I appreciated reading that Lauren, we all need to do what is right for our children and us! You are right, that can change over time, it's best to be adaptable.
    Sometimes I think that with children we strive so hard to give them the optimum - that's ok we love them!
    As for os trips - what a great experience for children! My mum and dad took us to Italy for 3 months when i was 8, so much of that trip remains in me.
    I long to give my children that same experience one day


  2. That's a very interesting point - my 4 children are hyper competitive, in a good way, they are bright, sporty & don't mind losing, coming 2nd, having friends 'cheat' etc, as i explain that is life & what can happen. For me it's about good sportsmanship & sharing, they were naturally competitive about who could eat dinner first, tidy their rooms (yes really!!) & always racing each other around the garden. It's fascinating to watch & they are now state athletes.
    We change schools every 2-3 years & so we've seen 4 different state/ territory style schools & they are all quite different. You do what fits best, for us, our children thrive on the social side of school & love the different teaching styles. I'm very patient but i feel refreshed when i do their homework as i've been doing my work all day. That said, Olympic assignments to print off, love Posie

  3. ps...not a big fan of musical chairs either!

  4. Love this post! I am so often asked about our decision to homeschool our munchkins. I only recelty started asking others about why they send their children to school, which sometimes has them staring blakly back at them surprised by my asking. But, I think its important for everyone to ask themselves why they do things, even those who do what the majority of others do.

    I usually answer that we do it for the same reason they send their child to school. It's what suits us best right now :)

    What I love the most is all the things I am learning for the first time alongside my children, despite being 'taught' it in school lol Too busy talking back then.

  5. Thanks for posting that. It is a breath of fresh air to read your views in this institution addicted world of ours.

    Your blog repeatedly shows readers how easy, parent and child friendly, productive and beautiful unschooling is in action. Thank-you!

  6. great post!! Thanks xoxo

    I think we took the easy option too :)

  7. what a great post - my pirate sits out all the competitive stuff, would rather dress up and be in character than play sport, and needs his space. School is tough for him but I try and make it so that he has the space he needs outside. I don't think I will ever be a soccer mum!

  8. Your "I think we took the easy way out" made me smile Lauren... for lots of reasons. I am really enjoying reading your posts about unschooling. Thankyou so much for taking the time to write them/


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