Uncertainties of unschooling

By | April 5, 2010

Posting an email response I made on a group I belong to.

“What if things don’t fall into right places and then one day your child will ask, why did you do this to me?”

The way I see this, no matter what I do, I will have done some things well and messed others up. If a child (or anyone for that matter) wants to put blame on me, there will always be ammo. There is no way to predict how things will unfold. I can only act to the best of my ability and in line with my beliefs right now.

That said, I imagine a child who suffers decisions made by others, whose individuality is not nurtured, whose desires are not respected is likely to harbor more resentment from always living to someone else’s tune. So its not really a equal choice problem to school – unschool, since once out of school, there is no reason for the child to suffer from living another’s idea of appropriate. so, in fact, I would be removing many resentment triggers by unschooling.

How will you face it?

By facing it. There are no short cuts. I will need to get buy-ins from many people lovingly involved in his life – be it through stubborn, gentle, persuasive, argument… It is a journey with each person you’d like remaining lovingly involved.

Are you sure what you are doing will work for your kid?

Nope. I am sure that this is the best choice I can make.Hindsight is twenty twenty. Now takes courage in belief.

Why don’t you send her to another good school where they don’t conduct exams?
Why not IB or IG, they are international and fine quality education?

This is really something that needs addressed before committing to unschooling. Its not going to help anyone to jump in the sea and long for a pool. For me, it is basically four things:

  1. Childhood is fun. No point investing over a decade of this precious time working hard to learn things never needed beyond exams.
  2. I would like my child to learn things that will enable him to meet the world as an empowered individual (as opposed to fortified graduate)
  3. I believe many things that are a natural result of syllabus are harmful to the emotional growth of a person. (Just think of an education system that makes kids competitive, collaboration is denounced as cheating, and then corporates spending huge amounts of money to get their genius top-ranking interns able to work functionally as a part of a team)
  4. It feels unnatural for me to be sending my child away from family for long periods, no matter how safe the other environment is. Safety for a child is not about my assessment or some authoritative certification, but the immediate experience of familarity, comfort and attention. I used to breed horses, and never separated colts from their dams till they were of working age. I even tried to work them together as far as possible till I observed them grazing separately and forming their own relationships. I have worked mares in an emergency with foals trailing along. Why would I do any less for my child? I think there is something seriously wrong with a society that forces children to be independent of their parents and expects adult offspring to feel attachment for their parents. It can be conditioned with heavy doses of shoulds and guilt, but to be experienced, where is its foundation in a vulnerable child learning to survive without parents in situations that challenge them most? This child simply doesn’t need parents for their emotional well being. They grow up to spend all kinds of money and effort over their parents, but their idea of a good time wouldn’t include them. I wouldn’t dream of sending my son anywhere out of sight of me or a family member without my son initiating it, or (in an emergency) being okay with it. Simply put, when I’m an old, drooling bed ridden idiot, I’d like my child to care whether I want to go to that wonderful old age home.

I guess my thoughts are rather extreme on this subject, but I believe them completely, so here I am.

One thought on “Uncertainties of unschooling

  1. shyama

    wow! SO good to hear someone else say this: It feels unnatural for me to be sending my child away from family for long periods, no matter how safe the other environment is.
    i’m really sorry you’re having these concerns with nisarga — having more or less wasted (i’d now say) my baby’s infancy worrying over whether he was “on track” with all the things he ought to have been doing, i think i can imagine how you feel. i wish there was somehow i could say to help — some super counterintuitive thing is prompting me to suggest supposing you tried not more independence but actually less? along the whole “attachment parenting” line, supposing you carried him more, wore him actually pretty much 24/7, and just let him soak in being with you till he’s had enough? (that is, if he’s okay with your wearing him — i never could with mine, he pretty much hated it!)
    sorry for the totally unsolicited and probably wholly misinformed advice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *