"A person's freedom of
learning is part of his freedom of thought, even more basic than
his freedom of speech."
- John Holt
Why did you choose unschooling rather than some other form of
I always knew that the way
"everybody" lived didn't feel right to me. I used to
imagine that, when I grew up, I would live on an island with my
family. From a very young age I struggled to understand what life
really meant. As I grew, I came up with some answers. Life for me
is truly feeling the earth underneath me and seeing the things
around me. It is enjoying every moment with the people I love. It
is making another person smile. It is thinking and dreaming,
feeling pain and feeling joy.
When Dagny was a baby, I started to ask
myself new questions. Does it matter if we know our multiplication
tables? Is accumulation of knowledge the goal of life? Should
there be a goal of life? Why should we spend her childhood
apart from each other when we both want so much to be together?
Can we step off the well-worn path and find our own way?
When I learned that unschooling was a
possibility, I was thrilled that we could continue to live as we
had been since Dagny was born. I found the answers to my
questions, which in reality I had known all along. Children belong
with their families. Nothing is more important than living in
connection with the ones you love and sharing life's experiences.
We can't help but learn as we live full and interesting lives
When we rejected the kind of life that comes
with a roadmap, we were able to question what it was we wanted
from our lives and to determine what we do not want. We want joy.
We want to know that we lived consciously and in the moment. We do
not want to mold our children. We want them to have the freedom to
choose their lives. We do not want to ever feel that we wasted
time we could have spent together.
Our major reasons for unschooling have
nothing to do with academics, but of course there are reasons we
choose not to teach our children. We believe that children
(humans) seek out knowledge in the same way they seek out fun or
food, and we believe that adults can do a lot to interfere with
that desire to learn. We don't believe that repetition is
necessary or that there is a list of things that every person
needs to know. We believe that turning the relationship of parent
and child into a relationship between teacher and student is
detrimental. We want our children to own their learning and to
learn for their own reasons, not to please a teacher.
Jon and I have determined what it is we live
by, what matters, and what does not. It has evolved and will
continue to evolve as we face new challenges and joys in our
lives. We want to choose the lives we lead, and we want our
children to have the opportunity to do the same.
Ultimately I'd say that the reason we choose
to unschool is because we want our children to be truly free.