My six year old Bliss Burger is sitting next to me right now at the breakfast table yumming it up on a sweet potato. He slept so well last night. Like he does every night- sometimes between his dad and me, and sometimes in his own bed.
Waking him up for school last year, holding hands on the way to the $10,000 preschool was a dream of mine. Not his. To be honest, we sought out that school for their child-focused learning, natural, outdoor setting, and amazing diet. The children helped raise chickens, bunnies, and plants. They cooked. climbed. Did puppet shows. It was oh so cute, but the little man kept telling me he didn’t like it.
Here’s the thing. I was seeking a school that would help nurture the values we have at home, allow Dougie to socialize, and um — give me a break from being his only caregiver, teacher, mommy and medicine woman. I felt he needed to explore. And boy was I right. But, the truth is that even in their open-mindendness, that school we chose was way too rigid for Dougie.
His teacher didn’t really understand him, and always had issues with what he was saying (like when he would talk about Buzz Lightyear). She falsely “accused” us of owning a TV (oh no!). As if that mattered! Our boy was talking and trying to make friends. We were ecstatic. If he’d had an awesome teacher, we may still be at that school. So, I’m stoked it worked out this way.
Ask Dougie now how much he loves his Toy Story School (which he named our at-home un-learning), and he probably won’t be able to stop talking. In fact, he’s reading this now and tells me that he wants me to invite you to join him here.
I grew up in a world that said school was necessary. I learned that education is what is necessary. I grew up in a world that said “choose a career.” I learned to choose a journey and experience many careers. I was molded by a system that said we can’t teach our kids at home, lest they turn into hermit weirdos who wear corduroy in summer. And, I learned to say, “Whatevha!”
Unschooling is peeling away at what the system has taught us for centuries. And, now is the time for re-awakening anyway. The old systems are no longer working.
But, I gotta admit, regardless of how well I know my purpose here to help others and blah blah blah –the decision to home school my son was all about him. I worried about the socialization thing first, as he was once diagnosed with autism, and well — the system tells me to worry about socialization. Then, I worried he would resent me, or he wouldn’t have enough challenge, fun, activities, friends– all that. I spent weeks and months considering this and researching my buns off.
This is what Dougie wants and needs now, and this is what’s best for him now. We all have our purposes, and those of us with children who require unschooling or home schooling have the balls and the guts to do it. Worried about socialization? Your kids will lead you. Worried about teaching subjects that you don’t know too well? Goodness, you will be surprised at how amazing new brains are. Dougie is typing, writing, spelling and reading. He can count money, pay for things at the store, make scrambled eggs, and pretty much run the place if we need him to.
We’ve been bitten by the adventure bug again, and are taking this Unschooling organic life of ours on the road. We can’t wait to spread the bliss with all of you. Take a gander at this blog for more info on our upcoming tour de love.