15 February 2010

unschool monday :: unschool social

So the next question we usually encounter when we chat about our owlets learning is: "But what about socialisation?" The simple answer is that they do loads of activities with kids their own age... gym, ballet, school holiday activities... we meet twice a week with local home educators and their families to play in the park... Big owlet's closest friend is home educated too... But beyond that, we like to think that they are learning in a more natural social environment day to day. They encounter people from many different backgrounds and witness a range of social interactions in a trip to town. They spend time with the neighbours, extended family, experience life with a community around them. They do not spend days with children their own age and adults who work with children, but people of all ages, working in different fields and living in the real world. If they want for company, we find it for them. We meet their needs, surround them with community. Simple really. "But what about developing a tolerance for others, even those you don't get along with?" Try spending 24/7 with a strong willed 3yo and see how your tolerance level is...Seriously though, they encounter all sorts of people in daily life and witness us dealing with social situations. They are living in the real world already. "But what about social etiquette, and how to behave in the real world?" Well they miss out on learning to sit up straight, raise their hand to speak, ask to go to the bathroom, queue up at the tuck shop, sure... but we treat them like people and they manage to figure out most stuff. The owlets are free, but that doesn't make them completely wild... well not always...

You can read more about socialisation and kids here...


  1. Ha. I'm completely exhausted after the last two days of socialising: homeschool pottery class, science museum, homeschool sports group, ice skating, play dates, etc. Not to mention just playing with friends in the neighbourhood when they get out of school.

  2. It sounds like your kids have a lovely life with all they need. I am a big believer in having lots of different adults and kids in our lives and how the little ones get to see there are many different ways of being and socialising, especially with just me and my pirate.

  3. I so love the way you've written this...we're all new to the homeschooling/unschooling movement, but I suspect we've all been radical unschoolers all along:) And one of the biggest problems I've had with formalised schooling is the age ghettos that are formed - that are intensely competitive, jostling for position, disempowering and the rest - compared to hanging with all age groups and learning to adjust behaviour to trying to impress the older kids and learning to be gentle with the younger ones...and as for the whole tolerance issue, I reckon that school is just the advertising agency that tries to make us all think that society is okay how it is...that was a quote from an unschooling page and I can't remember who said it, but it conveys what I believe. I think it's insidious to try and make our kids endure harrassment and bullying and put downs in the name of getting them used to being in work environments etc and having to deal with people they don't like. I deal with people I don't like by not hanging out with them, which is perfectly fine, because everyone has the right to surround themselves with people who love them and affirm who they are. And I would hope that my children have the same kinds of freedom!! I love your blog and what I've read so far...I don't suppose you live in the environs of Adelaide do you? You and your owlets seem like people we'd all really like to hang out with! Thanks for creating such a beautiful blog!!

  4. Why why why do people think that the only place for children to learn to socialise is school? Aggghhh! Having spent 13 years at school and being back in school as a teacher, I believe there is lots of anti-social behaviour that children are exposed to and involved in at school.


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