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Letting Go – Deschooling For Parents

Letting Go – Deschooling For Parents

Most of the unschooling parents today have had to learn to trust and let go of our own “old school” conditioned beliefs on learning. It is very natural for a parent to have some uncertain feelings when allowing their child the freedom to learn and grow in an environment that they themselves never experienced. If we can achieve a level of trust, we as parents can relearn our own love of learning and enjoy this natural process with our children.

For many of us that went to school, we learned that “learning” required a time, a place, and a ton of homework. For me it was a negative experience and I loathed the weekly ritual. Our “free-time” was either scheduled, earned, or usually from some form of a reward either for our good behavior or for selling boxes of candy to raise money for the facility. Never a time chosen by ourselves when we wanted this break or rest. Fortunately, both of my children, Autumn and Chloe, are natural- learners. Over the years, they both have taught themselves most of what they know, either from library books, websites, weekly field trips, and living life NOT behind a fence for 35 hours a week. They even have their own ebay business just for kicks. While living side by side with the girls, and by allowing them to pick and choose their activities, my old “schooling ideas” thankfully have become a part of my past.

Being able to seek what is enjoyable for us to learn about is so important. Watching and evolving with my children as an unschooling parent has been such a rewarding and educational experience and continues to be a way of life for myself. By allowing myself to let go of my old institutionalized methods that I attained from attending a private school and a public school, and by having very disciplinary type parents, I have rediscovered that learning is a fun part of life, not a required activity to achieve a grade. While Autumn and Chloe are such different human beings with completely different likes and interest, unschooling has allowed each of them to evolve into such interesting and happy people. Thankfully by researching and learning about deschooling, my participation in this phenomenom called unschooling would never have been attained if I hadn’t deschooled along with my children.

I would like to leave you with one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite unschooling pioneers. John Taylor Gatto, from “How public education cripples our kids and why.”

“After a long life, and thirty years in the public school trenches, I’ve concluded that genius is as common as dirt. We suppress our genius only because we haven’t yet figured out how to manage a population of educated men and women. The solution, I think, is simple and glorious. Let them manage themselves.”

written by Kimberly Sharpe Slage

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2 Responses to “Letting Go – Deschooling For Parents”

  1. Laurel says:

    I have sought out where to post my question…this excellent article is the closest I could find to my query:

    What does one do when one had been deschooling from homeschool for years (letting go of vestiges of “school at home”, trying on many types of curricula, programs, personalized plans, lists, yada yada yada), yet the teen son appears to have limited interest to learn “deep” about anything? He talks incessantly (for days or weeks) about a subject (without much two-way discussion), without finding out more about it (lots of conjecture and repetition). He then orders me to accomplish a particular task for him (basically to work nonstop until his goal is attained), yet loses interest immediately after I:
    a) cheerfully suggest he do that task himself along with an encouraging word or
    b) help him get on his way with it (ie give him google search ideas or suggest a trip to the library).

    He appears to be… rebellious (I may have lost his heart somewhere along the way)…or has possibly “learned helplessness”, insecure in his abilities? OR does he really think he knows a LOT and needs to know no more?…may this be from too much “praise” received from the tasks I have seen him accomplish?

    hmmm. Any thoughts?

  2. Carla says:

    This is a well-written article on a fascinating topic. I love the idea of children enjoying learning and having it tailored to their needs. John Taylor Gatto’s title says it all: “How public education cripples our kids and why.” I thought I was the only one who thought that!

    Great blog.

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