Unschooling…does it actually work?


Now here is an interesting question and how on earth do you  measure the success of natural learning?

For some it may be whether they reach the national standards.  This is  the brainchild of the New Zealand Government where all 6 year olds must be reading at  the same level, all 8 year olds have the same spelling age, all 10 year olds know their times tables…..you get the picture.

For me however it is very simple.  Are they happy?  How can you tell if your child is happy?  Look for the following signs…..their face is alive with the joy of what they are doing, they are totally present in the minute, they are  “on fire” with what they are doing, they want to keep on doing it for hours/days/weeks/years, food and sleep fade into insignificance, they talk about it/or are completely, silently absorbed.  They smile, laugh, hug, run, swing, sing with joy.

If you think that maybe this is too simplistic, that there should be more to childhood, or indeed to life then look around.   I know so may adults who are searching for their passion, realising that the only thing that does really matter is to be happy.  I meet so many adults who still don’t know what to be when they grow up.  I talk to so many adults who come from a place of fear and won’t chase their dreams in case they fail, or think they are too old, or don’t believe they can afford to.
All I see I am doing is giving our children a head start.  They should hit adulthood  running.  Becoming adults who know themselves, know what they like to do, trust in their ability to create the life of their dreams.   They won’t be needing to attend workshops and read self help books, they will be showing others and inspiring them to  lead a happy and passion-filled life.  Because they already are themselves.

How do you measure success in your life?  Is it your bank balance, or the amount of times you laugh each day? Is it having nice clothes or furnishings or that wonderful feeling when you wake up feeling excited about your day ahead?
What do you wish for your children?  I truly believe that if you questioned parents from around the globe, their bottom line would be that they want their children to be happy.  It may take a while to get them to admit that, but what other wish would you want for your children?
Good health maybe?……from what I can tell that is easier to achieve when you are happy.
Prosperity?   Same thing, live your passion, be true to who you are and all good things will follow.
If you still want your child to be in a particular career, then maybe  you need to look at your own undiscovered passions and start living your own life.

Charlie living his dream with his market stall as part of a vibrant market our homeschool group ran. Kids had stalls and bought and sold their wares using 10c as the currency.

I have learned, so far, that life is more about what you are being, not so much about what you are doing.  As Neale Donald Walsch says in “Conversations with God”  we are human BEings.
So isn’t it better to be joyful, happy, compassionate, excited &  healthy, than to be doing a job for it’s monetary reward/status?

I believe children are people too.  So why shouldn’t they be happy, live their passions, enjoy life….just like we are all striving too.  If my children are smiling, laughing, learning, enthusiastically engaged……then YES, for us Unschooling works!!

              The test of the correctness of educational procedure is the happiness of the child
– Maria Montessori


7 responses »

  1. I love this! Succinctly and passionately puts the case that I want to be reminded of everyday as a ‘wannabe’ unschooler. Actually, even though I might not be as ‘strictly’! (funny term for unschooling anything) unschooling, I’m finding my approach/my way based on my son’s happiness barometer (but a little on mine too, if I feel he’s OK with it, I might do something that makes me happy too e.g. my gentle introduction to art history right now. And I think that’s OK because we have to do something each day whilst we stuck at home in summertime Bahrain! Even he gets bored of Lego and action figures!). Anyway, that’s how I feel right now. It’s only been 4 months. Still loving your blog!

    • Good on you and thanks. I learned a big lesson my first year that unschooling is all about you! And being a great role model for your children by pursuing your passions too. That is a very healthy place to be operating from. Plus you, and you interests are a big part of establishing you family culture, which is unique and wonderful!
      Bored of Lego!! No way!! Ha ha!!

  2. Pingback: How much do you steer young unschooled kids towards your own interests if they aren’t yet clear about theirs? Month 4 of Learning at Home | homeschoolingmiddleeast

    • Thanks Penny, I couldn’t work out how to reply on your blog to that post…So just wanted to say….I see one of my roles as taking my children to the world and bringing the world to my children. Because how will they what Ballet /Art/Live theatre/snow etc looks like and sounds like and feels like if they are never exposed to it? I have written a post about an impressionist painting exhibition we went to which helps explain what I want to say in answer to your Pingback. You don’t steer them. You show them. You let them join in as much as they want. You let them find their own level of interest, as you will see in my story I will do! 🙂

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