Just two days ago, I was telling Jeff that some days, I feel I'm not doing my best "job" as a homeschool Mommy. It's hard not to compare Reese with his friends (to myself of course, never to him!), and it's such a challenge not to feel like Reese must learn to read NOW because So-And-So can do it, and he has to learn to write his name NOW because Susie Q. Friend can do it. Jeff gently reminds me that Reese can do so many wonderful things, and has had so many wonderful experiences in his life so far, that those other things will come when he's ready.
Of course, I know this in my heart. But my darn Teacher Head says that "I have to do it THIS way" and that if So-And-So and Susie Q. Friend can do it, then Reese needs to be able to do it.
Obviously I have a way to go with listening to my heart, and paying attention to Reese's actions and needs...someday I will be able to just let life happen & give Reese the peace and freedom to learn what he needs when he's ready. Right now, it's almost a daily battle within myself.
So, below, is Kelly's entry, and my inspiration for today!
[Someone on UnschooingDiscussion had written:]
I'm just not that equiped to convince authorites that what we are doing is right and ok.. and my kids are ok..... I'm glad for those that are 'unlikely' to get into trouble... but what about my family..I'm still not sure we have what it takes to 'look good' or even it that is possible?
Kelly Lovejoy responded, enthusiastically:
I am armed to the teeth. I'm ready for any legal fight that would come about should we be targeted—and woe to the poor soul who who attacks us!
I'm pretty damned likely to be pegged as a target. Loud unschooling mom who puts on conferences, lets local homeschool e-lists know that they *don't* have to do worksheets or give grades or test. My car's a rolling advertisement for unschooling! Yeah---I'm high on the "wanted" list!
A huge part of my confidence is knowing that what I'm doing by unschooling is R-I-G-H-T! Unschooling is the only way to learn. I KNOW that in my heart. I have NO doubts. Not a one.
I also can read and understand the state law. I follow it, in that I document what I must document. I'm not required to test or grade, but I do have to keep a portfolio. I have a high school diploma. I'm on time with signing up with an accountability association. So legally, I'm covered.
I can't imagine not "looking good" to some ridiculous authority figures. Honestly!
And first, THEY'D have to prove that what I'm doing isn't working. They really don't want to tangle with ME!
I could simply compare my boys to their schooled friends and look sparkly within five minutes! I have children who are interested in life. Who seek out new things to do and learn, places to go and see. Comparing one good day in school with one bad day unschooling—what's that bumper sticker? "A bad day fishin' beats a good day at work"? Even days we spend in pajamas watching movies is tons more sparkly than one school day!
There are days when we do little, but we only have to "school" 180 days each year. So on our "down days" we just don't document. That doesn't mean we aren't LEARNING—we're STILL learning! We just don't have to write anything down.
Do you REALLY have over half the year when you do NOTHING???? Technically/legally, you don't have to! But is that really the case?
OK, I realize that I'm a bit hyper and that we may do more than the average family. We have lots of interests. We like to travel. We surround ourselves with critters. We DO a lot. We DO.
Also, I know that, if I were to be called into court to justify what we do as "education," I could back up everything we do with well-thought-out answers. I even have a list of books and websites—and REAL LIVE PEOPLE I could call on to testify for me!
It helps, I know, to have one child I could "graduate" now. He's 17 and past the legal age for complusory attendance. But we'll just keep on doing what we're doing. At nine, my other son could be fodder for a legal battle. But I'm more than confident that I could take on the system.
KNOW what unschooling IS. Know what it isn't. Read here, at unschoolingbasics, at alwayslearning, at alwaysunschooled, at shinewithunschooling, at unschooling.com, at unschooling.info. Go to conferences. Start your own local unschooling group. Hang out with other unschoolers and those that understand how unschooling works and why. Discuss it. Make your mouth form the words; make your fingers. Get confidence! BE confident!
DON'T surround yourself with doubters and nay-sayers. Make a new circle of friends. A new extended family if you must. But DON'T be intimidated. The more confidence YOU have in unschooling, the better it will be for the whole family.
And I can't say this loudly enough: If you belive in unschooling, DO IT NOW! Don't wait! Jump in NOW! Your children aren't getting any younger. If they're IN school, pull them OUT. If they're just out of school, the healing needs to begin yesterday! If they're babies: well, GOOD ON YOU! I wish I'd discovered it so soon!
If you believe you can or believe you can't—you're right!
If you think you can't provide a rich, stimulating environment for your kids, maybe they *are* better off in school. Send them.
But if you know that the whole wide world is rich and stimulating, then GET OUT THERE! DO things, BE with your kids. Find cool places to go. Bring new things home. Quit bitchin'!
If you knew you only had a year more with that child, what would you expose him to? Where would you go? What would you eat? What would you watch? What would you do?
If you had only ONE year—and then it was all over, what would you do? Four seasons. Twelve months. 365 days.
Do that THIS year. And the next.
That's how unschooling works. By living life as if it were an adventure. As if you only had a limited amount of time with that child. Because that's the way it IS.
As my Aunt Ceilie used to say, "Enjoy it while you got it. You're going to miss it when it's gone!"