I can’t really say how long we have “officially” been unschooling, perhaps weeks or as much as a couple of months… D, my 6yo, went to montessori preschool for three years, finishing up his kindergarten year last spring. As my husband and I talked over what to do for his first grade year, we knew we wanted to avoid public school if possible. However we also knew we couldn’t afford private school tuition, especially here in the SF bay area. So then we started talking about homeschooling… and in my research, I found out about unschooling.
As a montessorian (I have a primary AMI certification, though I never spent much time working in the classroom), unschooling felt like the next natural step in child-led learning. I felt instantly drawn to the idea and fully believe in children’s ability to learn what they want and need in their own time, though I have to admit that part of me may just be attracted to how much easier it seems than homeschooling with a curriculum. So, we decided to homeschool, using the unschooling approach, for this first year and “see how it goes.”
At first I looked at homeschooling as an alternative option, something to do until we could afford private montessori elementary tuition. However as I have learned more, and as we start down this path, I am finding myself thinking that this may be a long-term thing. I am ever hesitant to make long-term predictions about our lives– we have taken so many twists and turns that I never would have anticipated in a million years, and I have no idea what else the future will have in store for our little family. But, this feels good. It feels natural. In the moments when we really immerse ourselves in unschooling, when I let go of any worries about “keeping up” or comparing to what we “should be doing”, when I allow myself to believe that this really can be this simple, this easy, this enjoyable… in those moments, I can see us being life-long unschoolers. I also really, really love getting to explore and learn right along with my kids.
Now, a disclaimer– I also have a younger son, Q, who is 3yrs old, and who just started going to montessori preschool in the mornings, which I suppose is fairly un-unschoolish of us. I do still like the montessori method of education, and I think he will get a lot out of his time there. I feel a bit conflicted about sending him to school while keeping D home, but to be completely honest the biggest reasons why Q is in school right now are 1) he is much more social and outgoing than D is and I feel needs more of that social interaction, while 2) D revels in having time at home, with me, by ourselves, just the two of us.
So here we are, starting down this path, trying to find our way. In the past I have used blogging as a way to sort through my thoughts and feelings, and to connect with others who are in a similar place. So here is this new blog, for this new beginning.