That’s me and my Mama back in 1969. I feel old.
Before I dive into what Christian Unschooling means to me, I want to zoom back in time and tell you a little bit about ME.
I was a typical kid, raised in the 70’s and 80’s. The fall of the year I turned 5, after a wonderful start in life, being nurtured by my loving parents, I found myself thrown into a world that would change me forever.
My clothes were brand new. I recall sitting on our toilet seat, while my Mom pulled on my tights. A few photos were taken and the next thing I remember is the smell of pine cleaner and walking up creeky hardwood stairs, into my new school.
School. A place I would spend approximately 1/3 of my life for the next 18 years.
I clung to my Mom, while the teacher encouraged other children to play, “Duck, Duck, Goose”. I just wanted to go home. I wanted to hang out with my Mom. I was only 5. But, sending your kids off to school was just what you did.
I was officially a government kid. I quickly learned how to open a small carton of white milk, although I don’t think I ever really mastered it, because… can anyone, really? I learned how to make a book cover out of a paper shopping bag. I got fresh air…. when I was told I could. Instead of just running into the bathroom, I had to raise my hand and get permission to pee. Even if I was hungry, I couldn’t eat until I was told I could eat. And I had to learn ONLY what they chose to teach me. Nothing more; nothing less. (at school, anyway.)
And the years went on. I public school taught me some things that I still retain to this day, but most info. was lost due to only cramming to pass a test, then moving on to the next thing.
I made many friends. I lost many friends. I was popular. I was an awkward geek. I felt secure. I felt insecure. I learned fast. I learned slow. It really depended on the year, the class… if I truly cared about what they were teaching….my clothes……my bookbag………..the moon….. oh, I don’t know. School is so weird. Well, it is to me now. Back then, it was just normal.
And summer. OOOOOOH, how I loved summer. Freedom from learning (or so I thought, because learning to me was in a classroom), sleeping in when I was tired, enjoying ever sunny day; playing outside for hours. It always went by so fast.
And oh how I wanted to vomit when “school” was back in the air. All around me. Commercials about sales at stores, Kids getting new “school clothes”….the fair coming to town. It seemed like, as soon as I was getting into the good vibes of summer in Maine…. I was sitting at my desk, with my new boat shoes, pin-striped jeans, and my LLBean canvas tote…full of…..TEXTBOOKS. Gross.
That’s my childhood in a very small nutshell. I could never say I loved school. Some people did. I kinda-sorta-not-really liked it and hated it at the same time.
So, backing up a bit. What exactly DID I retain from K-12? Going to my Sherlock Holmes’ Mind Palace of deep memories from my past…aside from the basics of addition, subtracting, reading, spelling, etc… I remember things like my multiplication table, about 5 of the Presidents (I DID know ALL of them), that formaldehyde smells disgusting, the capitals of a few states, a bit of Algebra, absolutely nothing about chemistry except that h2o is water…. oh and co2 is carbon dioxide. I really loved the periodic chart of the elements. I still do. It’s pretty.
I’m sure there are other little tidbits, if I really cared to sit and think about it anymore. But reality is, I’m now a stay-at-home-Mama, which was always my dream, and most of the things I learned in ALL those years, was useless. Not that all school is useless… I’m just talking about ME, remember?? AND I am, obviously, talking about homeschooling vs. public schooling. SO, even if my dream was to be a doctor, being subjected to all the UNNECESSARY information you learn in public school and not being able to FULLY learn the things MORE RELEVANT to what I’d need to know to become a Dr… seems like so much wasted time to me.
I love this quote by Carolanne Wright (a contributing writer for Wake Up World)…
“Unschooling is a method of homeschooling that puts the learning in the hands of the learner.”
As a Christian, I could never let my kids have full control of their education, but I’d say at least 90% of my kid’s lives are in their own hands.
I teach. How can I not? “Mom, what color is that? Mom, how do you spell, ‘balloon’? Mom, what is that bug? Mom, why can I see the moon during the day?” When? Where? Why? How? How many? Aaaaaallll daaaaaaay loooooong. And it’s wonderful and exhausting at the same time. BUT, it’s my job.
I also teach… when I observe, due to a child’s non-interest, that there are gaps in their learning. The things I find very important. Like: math to my 14 year old daughter, writing to my 13 year old son……. manners to my 9 year old son. Usually, there aren’t many gaps I find THAT important, but language arts & math are biggies…..and not burping to make people laugh. 🙂
In Part 2, I will move on to how we became a homeschooling family and how we fell into Unschooling. Then my Intro will be over and I’ll start blogging about my personal life as an unschooling Mama. Feel free to ask me any questions along the way!
Bye for now! ~ Bridget