November 18, 2013

Experiencing unschooling

Raising a child who has never attended any formal schooling, social conditioning or structure, is both a challenge and an amazing journey.

My youngest daughter is six years old and has never been to any day care, kindergarten nor has she started school along with her friends and peers in September.

The decision to not school (or condition) her in any way, on any level was not one that I made after “careful thinking” or long term planning. It was more an intuitive decision, one that came very naturally, according to our way of living based on my values.

The matters that concern me are not the usual worries that most people have about the distant future or her academic requirements. Although it might seem irrational, even naive, nothing much concerns me except helping her to become and remain a whole human being. I know, she needs inner cultivating for that and not all that society wants to impose on us, based on surface pretences.

Observing her closely, she has as much to teach me as I have to give to her. If she did go to school, I am certain she would fill perfectly for an ADHD diagnosis and suffered because of the discrimination. For me, she’s a healthy, lively child, who can concentrate and sit still when she is inspired, respected and allowed to explore her world, which fascinates her.

I am not even sure “how” we learn so many things. It all just flows naturally, it’s never “schooling” or “teaching” in the formal sense. She has a rich vocabulary, way above her age, loves books, singing, dancing, role playing, and is currently learning to type on the computer. She has so many interests that she (nor I) knows the meaning of boredom. We learn everything in multi-sensory ways and the subjects that she wants to explore come alive, using many different tools and real-life experiences.

I know from myself, that when I need information on a new subject concerning my work, I go for research, in my own way and in my own pace and by-pass the diplomas and the formal structures altogether. I have discovered that the later do not provide much, except maybe an image, a false identity that neither myself nor the new world that is emerging needs anymore. Substance and not the wrapping is what matters.

Socializing is a huge myth that amazingly young children already know the truth of it. It is not something we need pursue but a natural connection with people of all ages and races, according to heart-felt communication. There was absolutely nothing that I needed to do in this area. She instinctively knew which people to allow close to her, she is willing and open to new acquaintances and does not bother about age, sex, race, or any other social imposition.

That which amazes me most is that people usually make decisions of fear, with the distant future in mind and not with that which they already know or that which is important and essential NOW.

Is the future society based on our past experiences of our unconscious creations or should it be formed day to day according to our vision of it? A difficult question to answer, not in theory, but as experience in our daily lives. That is what we REALLY give our children; what we ourselves have conquered.

There isn't a moment that I am not grateful for having the courage to unschool her... in a country that unschooling is illegal and most children are bored, unhappy and seeking an identity.

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