Free your mind, and the rest will follow . . .
I can’t be the only one who remembers that song can I? I know, it kind of gives my age away, but it so often pops into my head, especially since I have been homeschooling.
I am a public school product. From the ripe old age of five until my forties, I have been in a public school setting in one way or another. That, my friends, is a lot of time to be in a system. I have been a student, a teacher, and then a parent of public schoolers. Only when my youngest daughter began struggling with her public school domain, did I stop and reevaluate our choices. After prayer and discussion with my husband, we pulled my daughter from public school and began our home school journey.
My daughter and I have struggled. We have triumphed. We have had times of discovery and times of battle; with each other, with the world around us, with curriculum. I am sure my fellow home school friends can relate. With each battle or triumph, we learned to store up what we had learned and keep it in our arsenal for another day. What we have discovered is not earth shattering or mind blowing, but for someone such as myself, it was very, very eye opening and scary.
Then, we discovered a path to unschooling.
Our Unschooling Journey
Now, I am not an unschool professional. I don’t really know if there is such a thing. I am, however, and advocate for it. We didn’t start out unschooling automatically. No, we have been through online classes, stacks of curriculum, and so many other various routes of home school. With my public school brain kicking in from the get go, I am surprised we have survived so far. Our first few months of home school were so similar to a public school classroom a stranger would not have known the difference had we not been sitting in our living room rather than a classroom (and the fact that there was only one student). I planned each day to go like clock work, just like a typical day I had as a student. Each detail planned, every second of the day accounted for. It only took us two years to figure out that it is OK to step back and free ourselves from this.
I am in no way saying that forming your homeschool day into a structured environment is wrong. I loved it. It was my happy place. I thrived in that setting. It only took me a few years to figure out one very, very important thing: my daughter did not. She is different. Therefore the structure and confinement and schedule I craved and needed, she was withering in. I had to find a way to help her grow, blossom and learn; in her own way. That way turned into unschooling.
How to Ease Into Unschooling
Our little trip into the unschool world began rather innocently at first. I had never heard of it. I began by allowing my daughter a little more freedom in her schedule. We progressed to moving away from her desk and allowing freedom of her learning environment rather than one particular setting. We found ourselves following along with her curriculum but then digging a little deeper into things that interested her. She was starting to bloom. We were both growing.
Only later did I discover that mystical, mysterious word: unschool. There is a term for it? Is it chaos? Are they learning at all? I had to know more. I have heard the little saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” my entire life. Well, I am here to say this “old dog” is learning a lot of new tricks. I am growing and learning alongside my daughter and watching her thrive.
We are working day by day on how this whole unschooling process works. I am learning to free my mind and let go of notions that have been ingrained in my mind since I was five. My daughter is learning to trust her own heart and mind to lead her in the direction that will help her blossom and grow in her own way and in her own time. I won’t claim to know it all. I will say I am on a journey of learning and I am loving the ride. I hope you will join me. Maybe we’ll learn a few new things together.
Remember, free your mind and the rest will follow . . .
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