When Hannah turned five and Charlie was born (Ollie was 3) we took off in our gorgeous house bus and traveled around New Zealand for 18 months. So when Hannah turned six, we did a homeschooling exemption with very little thought as we didn’t imagine it would be for too long. We were perfectly happy with Hannah reading every waking moment and living as though she was Hermione Granger. (From Harry Potter)
Then when we settled down again the two older children went to school. It was never a happy time for them. They spent the whole time asking to be homeschooled, Hannah attended the One Day School once a week which kept her sane, Ollie never liked going and I still cry when we talk about his first day at school. Every day they came home tired, and sick of people. Weekends they dressed up and played and played and played until by Sunday afternoon they were beginning to get back to their creative, happy. lovely selves…..
It took me two whole years before I finally took them out of school. A good life lesson for me. And ever since they have been teaching me more and more to listen to them and their needs…I think I am getting it now!!!
I felt quite laid back about what we would do as homeschoolers, but without a clear plan of how it would look. But when the new school year rolled around we found ourselves playing “school at home”. Charlie really enjoyed this and still asks when we can do that again!!
Ollie hated it and we had tears and stress, it was ridiculous. Another great lesson and one of my favourite sayings (I have alot)
“Nothing is worth losing your peace over, nothing…”
We were camping three weeks later and I had a book that some angel had put into my hands called Free Range Learning (not in the library now) It was a yellow book, English and full of people’s stories of how they had come to Natural Learning. It was my epiphany! I stayed up reading until 3am, read the whole thing and then in the morning told the kids there were no more books and me making them do pointless academic tasks. They looked bemused, but I could see how they were really rolling their eyes and thinking “finally she gets it…..” Such patient beings my children!
So we went cold turkey into unschooling. When other kids were doing maths in stuffy classrooms we were out biking, playing with our new baby guinea pigs, reading under the pear tree. I had many wobbles about what we were doing, so I kept a diary of what we did, things the kids did, made, asked questions about. After about 4 months I was there. I arrived at a place where I trusted them, trusted the process, the journey and could live peacefully with our life of freedom we had chosen. I am still constantly challenged by the kids and they are the greatest teachers out. They tell me what they need, what I should and shouldn’t be doing and how to go about it…. I love it!!
Unschooling, or natural learning or really…. it is just our life. Our life is fantastic. I am so grateful for being able to live our lives like this and spend every day with my amazing children.