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...