All homeschoolers will be familiar with the classic “What about socialisation?” question. What a complete laugh, come and spend a week at our place and then ask that question!!
But unschoolers have a whole other array of queries particular to our natural way of life.
There are the concerns about the children just ‘doing what they want’. People worry that they won’t be able to wait their turn, work with others, understand basic socially acceptable behaviours (presumably those they learn from school I wonder what they would be??)
Here are some –
“What will you do if one of your kids wants to learn astro-physics ? “
(or even basic physics for that matter, or hard technical stuff that I don’t have a clue about, which is what they mean)
I would say, exactly the same as you would do if you woke up one day and decided you wanted to be a brain surgeon/hairdresser/helicopter pilot etc…. Let’s see if we can brainstorm ways we could learn about something new….. Shouldn’t be too hard!
“Aren’t you stopping your kids from experiencing the things other kids their age experience?”
Mostly of course the answer is yes and that is often the point of homeschooling! I am extremely happy for my kids not to be experiencing alot of what other children do.
In other ways, of course not. We go on camps with heaps of other unschoolers and all their parents are there too joining in. We have all sorts of great activities where the children organise themselves into big group games and play beautifully with a mixed ages all joining in. Our children experience a far richer life than many of their peers who are in school do, without a doubt. This is due to the time we have to give to adventures/projects/conversations, the time we have as a family which strengthens our relationships and the choices we make as to how we spend our time and money.
“How will they be able to function in the real world?
Um, is that the real world that they are growing up in? The one where they come to the bank with me, then I have time to have a two hour conversation about the banking system and how mortgages work… The one where the kids are already doing their passions and being paid for it? There will be no big transition to the “Real World” for the unschooled child. They are already in it. And functioning very well thank you!
How will they get into University?
There seems to be plenty of options here. Of course they can just go to school for the last 2 years and get some bits of paper proving they can sit exams.
You could get the required qualifications through the Correspondence School.
Here in NZ we have a bridging course for adults wanting to study at Tertiary level, which our kids could easily do.
I know someone who, at 17, did a one year Polytechnic course to show the university that she could study at that level.
I would also imagine that you could go and meet and talk to the lecturers, let them get to know you so they can see what an asset your child would be to the University.
There are no doubt other options, for those who can think outside the square…..
How do you know they have learned anything?
Good question. But you know when you are with your children all day, every day and have developed a few listening skills it is amazing what you pick up! Children also want to share things they have read, made or heard about. And that will impress others quite enough when they spout informative facts, present some amazing project or relate a complex game they have set up.
Also I have read a cool quote –
“Education is a private matter between the person and the world of knowledge and experience.”
Charlie, age 6 used to love Asterix comics because his older siblings were into them, but I just did not enjoy reading them out loud, (have a go and see why!) So I carried on reading novels to them as usual. A year later Charlie would still only read Asterix to himself. One day I could hear him muttering while reading and I asked him if he could read. He was pretty pleased to show me that he could read and then over the next few weeks read through our entire picture book collection out loud to me! I didn’t feel it was my business to test him, or confirm that he was reading at a certain level. But we both enjoyed the time together reading, just for fun.
My experience is that kids naturally want to share what they have read about, or heard or made. But actually it isn’t anything to do with us what they are learning. They will learn their own specialised curriculum. Perfect for their life. Trust , trust trust….
(You can also teach them some impressive maths tricks to show doubting strangers/family members!!)