Woman at party to Willow: "So where is it that you go to school?"
Willow: "Oh I am Unschooled actually"
Woman: Gives "look from hell" according to Willow
Woman: "But you do know all of the Presidents right? "
The ridiculousness of this is beyond words for me. I would have said "yes I do, now you repeat them back to me in order please so I can see if you know them" or I would have called her out on her inability to shame me.
Who gives a shit if she knows all the presidents of the United States? Really? I can guarantee you that the majority of kids graduating from traditional school don't know them either. But you know what my kid does know...she knows what a President is and how to look up all the past presidents if she chooses to do so or for some insane reason she needs to regurgitate a bunch of useless information.
All I can say is that Willow was very polite and thanked the woman for her concern over the fact that she didn't know all of the past presidents of the united states.
What that women missed was an opportunity to really see Willow. I mean, she didn't really care in the first place, just making idle conversation at a party but this is one of the problems with our society. For some reason, children are all boxed into a one size fits all expectation of education and it is absolutely pointless.
When you are in college or you are an adult people don't ask you these shaming questions. They ask you "what do you do" or "what are you studying" or "what are your hobbies" If the women had actually been interested in Willow's knowledge she would have asked her something along those lines, And she would have been blown away with her knowledge of animals, her vocabulary, her conversation skills, her adorableness...I could go on.
I always try to understand where questions like these are coming from. Was this woman a Historian so knowing information like that is super important to her...was she a teacher? Although we have always had super positive experiences with teachers, Was she a Lawyer? Who knows. What I really hope to see is a shift in our society where kids are not shamed by adults.
I am not writing this to defend our lifestyle. We sure love our life. I can't imagine doing things differently. I do understand that it wouldn't work for everyone and I don't expect everyone to do what we do sort of thing.
I just have had a lot of people ask me lately "what is Unschooling" I think most people have heard of homeschooling but not unschooling. But while unschooling is a form of homeschooling, homeschooling is not unschooling.
Homeschooling is basically doing school at home. That can look differently for many families, book curriculums, project based learning or online schools for example. I know several people that when told we were homeschooling pictured us sitting around the table checking off workbooks and such. That is so so so not what we do. Now, I am not saying anything negative about those that choose that method of home education. If it works for you and your kids more power to you! We just don't recreate school at home.
I have been at this a long time. So long that I don't really think about it. It's just how we live. And let me tell you its an amazing life. Our learning is not separate from living. I love that I can call my kids my friends. They are some of the most amazing people I know and I have learned so much from each and every one of them.
I started out on this journey because I adore my kids. I could not imagine sending them away for hours a day. I watched them learn to crawl, walk, eat solid foods, talk etc...I didn't teach them those things. They taught themselves by watching, by trying and having the innate, organic need to learn. Why does that suddenly stop at age 5? Why must they suddenly be taught everything by a trained professional? Or honestly, it starts before 5 these days with the crazy preschool applications and sought after schools for a 2 year old. The truth is it doesn't need to stop. As an adult I have taught myself gads of new things.
Unschooling is trusting. Trusting yourself and trusting your kids that they will learn what they need to know when they need to know it. This means EVERYTHING.
We don't divide up our days into classes and check off that they accomplished "xyz".
Do they get into college? Yes and they do just fine if that is what they choose to do. This is always the big question like for some reason college is the only way to be a successful adult in this world~
My adult unschooled kids...
have all learned to drive and received a drivers license
passed the GED or received a High School Diploma
gone to college, and even graduated
they can cook, clean, sew, build things, fix a flat etc
held many different jobs
I am trying to think of all the things I have heard people say wont happen if you don't force your kids to do it...there is more I am sure~
I am a mom to 5 amazing kids and 2 partners and married to my best friend and love of my life for 28 years now! We co-habitate with 2 cats, Asha and Gustav, 1 dog, Juniper Wren, and 2 Chinchillas, Ozwald and Turbo. We have lived in Salt Lake City for 15 years by way of Tennessee and Oregon. I love to be with my kids, knit, run, craft, sew, paint, travel, hike and play :) I love our crazy life!