Saturday, February 18, 2012

How much time do you have?

Sometimes people say to me, "You're patient with your own children but pushy with unschooling parents." I don't go door to door asking people if they know about unschooling, and whether they'd like to know more. If they come where I already am, though, I might press. And when I do, it's because of the possibility that they will run out of time.

My kids have their whole lives to memorize 7x8 if they want to.

The mother of a twelve year old has VERY little time if she wants to help her child recover from school and spend a few unschooling years with him before he's grown and gone. She doesn't have time to ease into it gradually. If she stalls, he'll be fifteen or sixteen and it just won't happen.

If the mother of a five year old is trying to decide how much reading instruction and math drill to continue with before she switches to unschooling, I would rather press her to decide toward "none," because "some" is damaging to the child's potential to learn it joyfully and discover it on his own. And "lots" will only hurt that much more. "None" can still be turned to "some" if the parent can't get unschooling. But if she doesn't even try unschooling, she misses forever the opportunity to see that child learn to read gradually and naturally. It will be gone forever.

That's why I don't say, "Gosh, I'm sure whatever you're doing is fine, and if you want to unschool you can come to it gradually at your own pace. No hurry."
photo by Sandra Dodd

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much Sandra for pulling this one back out. I am so grateful for your willingness to share your experiences, wisdom, and frankness about living with our children in a way of life that promotes learning so naturally.

    I am glad I came to it when mine were younger (7y/o and 3y/o) when we decided unschooling was a better path for our family than "school" at home.

    I was always trying to figure out what happens next with parents who espouse to attachment parenting after the baby/toddlerhood years. I never could quite put my finger on it until I discovered unschooling, and more so, radical unschooling. It was my "a-ha!' moment to the question I so longed to be answered.

    I loved everything (and still do!) about being responsive, gentle, and engaged with my children in their wee years. I did not want to lose that joy, connection, and peace to "homeschooling." Home educating our kids was a natural step for us to go, but we just had the wrong idea about it.

    Since the discovery (of unschooling) I never looked back. I took the opportunity much like a winner does crossing the finish line to a race..arms up, huge smile on my face, with joy in my heart, a sense of relief and gratitude, and ran.
    Thank you Sandra...


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