There will be many articles on unschooling in the near future, as it is a huge subject, mostly still unknown.
Unschooling is much more than choosing not to send my child to school (public or private). Schooling in its broader meaning is everything that has to do with our social and cultural conditioning.
Whether we are aware or not of the extent that this continuous conditioning, it nevertheless shapes - without our conscious consent - who we are. There is not an area in our lives where this subconscious conditioning has not and is not affecting. It could not therefore, leave our roles as parents and educators unaffected.
That which concerns me the most is the ignorant, irresponsible way in which we are bringing up and tutoring our children. This is not about blame or guilt. It is about taking responsibility of being aware who we are and who we want to be.
What we fail to realize, on a large scale, is that our children form their basic personality through WHO we are in our lives and all that we unintentionally teach them through example. Schools, later on, “do their best” to shatter their uniqueness, teach them to doubt who they are, through comparison and continuous examination, and lure them into seeking temporary satisfaction, conformity, all backed up by disconnected information they call "knowledge".
Think of a child who is growing up without (or the least) conditioning – schooling. A child who is free to express and experience herself, who does not discriminate according to color, race, age or gender, who makes her whole environment a learning ground, who is happy, psychologically stable, recognizes her own and others uniqueness equally, and wakes up each day to a whole new experience. She is creative, imaginative, resourceful and does not know or understand the meaning of the phrase “I am bored”.
Think of a child who is allowed her own pace and way of learning, who is not structured in a linear way (we are born with our creative right brain active, only introduced to left brain thinking much later), until she herself finds reason to doing so. She finds interest in everything she is introduced to; be it nature, a new toy, a new person, a book, a new experience, and expresses her unique contribution within all of these. She finds no need to compare herself, to be antagonistic, to rush or to suppress herself. She is empathic, realizes the need to be responsible and give to others because she understands universal law by nature… it’s amazing how these children understand and mature naturally and effortlessly.
Now, why would someone send such a child to school? To learn what? That which others think she “should be learning”? To socialize? It comes naturally to her. To ensure her future? Which future? The whole world is in turmoil and needs reforming. Who will give her back her childhood, when adults strive to revive theirs? Who will ensure that she will be happy with what she chooses in a system that judges and evaluates according to social standards, the “norm”?
I see too many young people who are unhappy, still searching for their Self, unhappy with their choices, stranded and lost in bad (for themselves) habits, discontent with their studies, their useless diplomas, disappointed at the whole social status. But by then, when they are well into their teens and early adulthood, their wings have already been clipped. What do we expect them to do? To take responsibility for all that we have denied responsibility for creating? Are we not putting too much weight on their shoulders?
We have built societies based on (internally) lacking people, on surface values. We have degraded the most important roles: parenting and tutoring. We do not have time to bring up the children we have decided to bring into the world. We are out working, trying to survive and meet all our responsibilities, which, for the most part are fake. I don’t want to go on… we can all see what we are creating if we really want to…
Is this sounding too pessimistic or do we have a problem with staring the truth straight in the face? Only when we recognize a problem can we fix it. The whole social, personal structure needs total transformation. I can do something about my own choices and the way I want to live my life. And this is how we change the educational system and all which concerns our society, our habits, everything that does not work anymore. We can do it by choosing not to conform, not contributing, by choosing to differentiate ourselves from what we disagree with, peacefully, confidently and honestly.
Even if this means walking into the unknown, even if this means we stand out in the crowd… we need to begin by being true to ourselves and living up to our ideals, our highest desire and truth. It might be an unknown road, but what is known is obviously not working. That for me is enough to begin creating the new; day by day, with each decision and each new revelation through experience.
I believe we owe our children the best of us and we owe our Self our willingness to stand up and stand our for what we believe in. And we can begin by declaring who we want to be...
We trust our children and ourselves to provide the most inspiring, self-guided learning grounds for our children, through experience, within life and not excluding real challenges.
We are not disconnected from each other, no matter where we live, what we look like or how we think. Our children are our global connecting ties, which motivate us to expand and connect.