Un-Schooling World

We all learn in different ways. What is most important to note here is that EDUCATION is what is most important. Some love the homeschool environment because it gives them the freedom to learn what they truly desire to learn. Others are not self-motivated at all, get bored easily, and need a different environment in order to learn the lessons they need to learn.

 

My son, after trying out 2 years of public high school, realized that he valued the freedom and stress-free environment of a homeschool setting he had had from second grade through 8th grade. My daughter, on the other hand, seems to prefer to attend public school. She got bored at home and unfortunately did not learn the skill of self-motivation here. There are many skills she needs to learn and perhaps she will need to learn them during four years of public high school. Having been accepted into the cheer team may be a great aid for her! She learned during her first year in public school that in order to stay on the team she needs to indeed keep up her grades so that should motivate her more during her second year, and hopefully beyond, to make sure her homework is turned it and that she studies for her tests.

 

Public school has many temptations for kids - dating, sex before marriage, and vaping being on the top list for 9th and 10th graders and adding alcohol and drugs to higher grades. The fact that my brothers and I attended a private school and were not homeschooled helps me see God can help us stay strong, so I just keep praying for her, though her faith right now has dwindled quite a bit. The most important thing as our kids grow up is that they learn to make the right choices, and many times that learning comes from making mistakes, sometimes several times, before they actually learn that lesson. 

 

I want both my kids to be children that value integrity and that are able to live completely independent from my husband and I after they reach the age of 21, which is the age both my step-kids moved out and started living on their own. I want them both to learn how to manage their money properly so they are not constantly broke and in debt. I want them to learn to say no to drugs, alcohol, vaping, smoking, and sex before marriage. I can't protect them all their life, so I just pray God will protect them and help them learn the skills they need to learn in any way they need to learn them; that means sometimes they will need to learn through dealing with the bad consequences of their actions. We just have to continue to love them even when they make mistakes and wrong decision and talk to them in one way or another until they learn the lesson. 

 

The point I want to make in this blog post is that we all learn in different ways. Some learn best in a homeschool environment, but others don't. I believe it is wise to homeschool them at least through 8th grade, but not all are suited to continue this style of education through high school. Work with them and simply love them and respect the way they prefer to learn. Make sure you stress the fact that it is LEARNING that is most important here, regardless of what way they choose to do so. Education is to be valued throughout our lifetime and that we must never stop learning until the day die. 

I am grateful for the opportunity God gave me to homeschool my son, Emmanuel, and my daughter, Ziedite. I wasn’t an expert at being a teacher when I started out, but it was a good reminder that God gives the skills to those who He calls and who obey His calling. 

 

There have been days where I have felt I wanted to tear my hair out. I was learning so much about homeschooling and unschooling and how amazing these styles of education are, but yet my kids weren’t seeing the benefits of this and wanted to go to public schooling. They wanted to trade their freedom to simply do what everyone else was doing. I would get so frustrated and angry until finally I surrendered and realized I was just their guide. They had to learn to make their own choices and decide on their own what was the best way for them to be educated. I had to just give them a good foundation, guided by the Lord.

 

Once I surrendered to God, my son, who had been in public high school for two years, realized that homeschooling really was a better lifestyle, so he came back. He followed the musical desires that God has put into his heart and learned to play the guitar on his own. He volunteered his time in yearbook committee at the Community Homeschool Education Program, west location, where he had done 8th grade since we figured that would be a great transition program into public high school because they gave him the books to follow. His time was his own and he had to learn to manage it well, which is a great skill to have in life. He was happy to graduate six months ahead of the 2017 graduates. His high school diploma, which better-paying jobs require, was in his pocket. God continues to guide him and teach him new skills daily, and I’ve learned to just relax and just be there if he needs me. Through Him, I realized first-hand that kids love to learn, as long as they are not forced to learn. We are actually all that way. Unfortunately, so much emphasis is put on grades in school that when people think of learning outside of a school setting, they run from it. We can teach our kids in homeschool environments that it’s learning that’s important, not the grades. It’s not a high school or university diploma that says how smart we are…. though society requires these…. It’s what they truly have learned, and what they will continue to learn throughout their lifetime that is most important. Right now he actually chose to take improv classes… He researched where to learn and pays his way with his allowance. 

 

My daughter will be hitting a cross-road soon. She will be graduating from 8th grade in June from the Community Homeschool Education Program, where she has made some good friends, and she is not sure what she wants to do. She is faced with choices. All we can do is pray that God will help her make the best decision. Prayer for wisdom is the best way to go about these hard decisions. She is at an age where she needs to decide if homeschooling is for her, or if she wants to go into a system that will take away her freedom of time. Currently, she keeps up with her classes at appointed times during the week - we do her work together, though sometimes reluctantly. She also has no stress about homework and attends Kidnastics and loves it! She is so happy to be there and has recently gone into Level 3 there. She is also in ballet class on Fridays since she loves dancing. I am not sure if she will have the time to pursue her love for dancing and tumbling if she goes into the public school system…. I don’t want her to feel overwhelmed with all the homework she will be given and the lack of time she will have to hang out with friends and to pursue tumbling and dancing, but will she be able to keep up with her classes if she is in this environment? I know there are some good lessons she will learn if she decides to be in the public school system, at least for some time, but at the same time, I am not sure if this is the best choice for her. I am just leaving it all in God’s hands. He knows what is best for her and I know that He will guide her. She has to make her own choices, learning from her mistakes. We all do! I surrendered her into God’s hands. 

I believe that the school systems as they are now can damage many kids emotionally, especially in the higher grade levels. The reason I think this is that not everyone is cut out to learn in the same way and not everyone enjoys the core subjects, plus not everyone learns the best via textbooks. For example, some may love math and totally understand it all when they are taught and this is reflected in their grades. For others, though, the basic level math skills, the foundational, may be enough, yet they are made to feel dumb by their peers if they “don’t get” the higher levels of math and if they don’t do well in their tests. Due to that, many resort to cheating on tests in order to not feel the pressure, even if they know that by cheating they are only fooling themselves. This grade system is actually very degrading to most kids! It makes the kids smart and skilled in a particular subject proud, many times to the point that they degrade those that don’t do well, and it makes the ones that “don’t get it” feel stupid. 

 

Is homeschooling the best alternative? Well, it could be, but we do need to keep in mind that many are not self-motivated individuals. However, if we do homeschooling as it originally was intended to be done, this could be a wonderful alternative. The reason I say this is because real homeschooling is all about teaching the basics - reading, writing and fundamental math, as well the basic geography and history of our country and the world (no need to go into major detail, unless they love learning about the past at that age, though). After that, we, as parents, should just allow them to lead with their interests. It could be that they love books and a particular subject, so you dive into that because they are hungry to learn. On the other hand, it might be that they are totally into dance, gymnastics, art, music, etc, and books are the farthest from their mind at that time. Being homeschooled,  they have the time to explore those interests and see if they want to pursue a career out of them. The key is help them understand that they are NOT stupid if they don’t follow the way, the plan, to get educated that the majority out there follows. Each of us are individually created and have unique minds, interests and talents with which we can bless others for the rest of our life and “work life” will not feel like a horrible burden once we get into “working age”. 

 

You may or may not agree with me on this, but this is my heart-felt opinion and wanted to put it out there for you to ponder. Let me know your thoughts on the matter, if you are inclined to do so, but without any hate-words. 

Education is fundamental to success. However, the way we learn varies from person to person. It’s important for all of us to learn new things in all stages of life, but we need to choose the way is best for us to do so. Once we figure it out, we need passionately pursue knowledge and wisdom, without worrying about grades or degrees.

 

When I look around, and even when I went through school myself (elementary, high school and four years of college), I notice way too many complainers and not many truly wanting to pursue their education. Some enjoy sitting down and writing reports because they love to write about that particular subject; for others, this is torture and so they procrastinate in doing the work, which makes both them and the teacher frustrated and stressed because normally the work is not turned in on time. Too many times students are given so much work every day of the week, including the weekends, that they don’t have time to enjoy life and relax at any time, which makes them hate school. Why? Isn’t school supposed to be about helping our kids and young adults see how amazing it is to learn and give them the skills to succeed in life?

 

In the unschooling lifestyle, we give our kids the freedom to learn, but not all will take this freedom. Some will be self-motivated and be thankful for the freedom they are given and pursue learning with all their heart, but others will just sit back and waste time, which is not what this way of life is all about. Freedom to learn is to be cherished and used properly, or else we will find ourselves homeless on the streets somewhere, or always dependent on our parents and others for money, always wishing we could have more money to do things and buy the things we desire. One day, these kids may wake up and realize they need to have an education in order to succeed so will strive to do what most everyone else around them is doing… go to public or private school, where they feel tortured daily, but they feel that it’s the only way to succeed in life, though this is far from the truth, and so they continue the path and never really enjoy the life of freedom they were once offered.

 

Those that do succeed and find the joy in learning as they are unschooled, end up continuing to desire this lifestyle of freedom and so they study a few courses here and there, or maybe even get a degree, but only to help them get what they desire in life. Their love for learning is shown in the papers they write and the grades they get because they WANT to be there; they are passionate about learning. They have become self-motivated, which is a key to success in life. Some will get jobs, but most will pursue a lifestyle where they don’t depend on anyone else for money and where they can work around their own and their family's schedule. They seek financial and time freedom and so the most likely thing for them to do is pursue a career in network marketing, a career open to everyone no matter what the gender, social class or level of education. They wake up each morning with a desire to just learn more and help others succeed, and as they work as a team, everyone is propelled forward. It’s a life of blissful freedom for all!