This past week we took the children in for a visit to the doctor and she asked Sean how he was doing in school. He laughed and shrugged, saying he didn’t know since I never gave him his report card. She asked him how he was getting along with his peers andf he told her he was doing fine in band. When she asked about other classes, he laughed and said he was always fighting with his classmate. Danyl pipped up and said “Yeah and the principle is always on the computer so he doesn’t see us goofing off” Doc looked at me and said the words everyone else says when they find out my boys aren’t in public school “Their education is so very important. I hope you understand this” Well, yeah, I know how important it is. Both Mike and I have degrees DUH.
My boys are unschooled. Sean “goes to school” one period a day, when he goes to the school for band practice every morning. Danyl hasn’t set foot in a school, officially, for three years.
Some people tell me I have to keep records of how many hours a day the boys are learning, what the topic of learning for the day is, test scores and grades. They look at me with disgust and horror when I tell them that my boys don’t take tests, they don’t write reports nor do they do worksheets (unless they want to. They ARE available for them to utilize) Most people get it when I say the boys are homeschooled but are baffled when I say they are unschooled. Here comes the comment I always get “their education is so very important” Well DUH, no kidding, I never thunk it.
We tried the online academy but they were too bossy, always getting on to Danyl and Sean if they missed a week of their online time without permission. At one time, Dans teacher was calling daily, to berate him for not making his written reports on time. She threatened to remove him from the school so, he stopped working completely. His explaination was “well, she’s going to kick me out of school. Why even try?” I have to admit, I see where he’s coming from. The last time he talked to her, he handed me the phone after saying “I’m not doing it and unless you come here personally, you can’t MAKE me.” We pulled them both from classes that night after a family pow wow. Neither of the boys were happy and they were both of the opinion that school sucked and they weren’t learning anything that they didn’t already know. I gave them both the standard GED test and they passed everything except the paragraphs.
We started deschooling on March 1st, 2012. For those that don’t know what that is, “Deschooling is not just the child recovering from school damage. It’s also the parents exploring their own school and childhood damage and proactively changing their thinking until the paradigm shift happens.—Robyn Coburn” We are relearning how to be ourselves and discovering what makes us tick, mentally. None of us have had the opportunity to really find things we ENJOY learning about because, well, we had to have the scheduled family time when the boys weren’t in classes of some type. Now, with the start of deschooling, we are able to find out what inspires us to learn, what makes us… US.
In the past month, Danyl has discovered that he loves poetry and building things online. Sean has discovered that he likes history and, like Danyl, building things online. Sean still loves to play the trumpet and is teaching himself how to make videos online. Video production has taken a front seat in his mind and he’s even taught me a thing or three. Watching my sons begin to find their creativity and hunger for learning again brings tears of joy to my eyes. They are too young to be as stressed out as they were in school. A couple months ago we told the boys that they might have to go to public school next year and Danyl had a full blown panic attack. For heavens sake, he’s NINE! That’s when I began looking into unschooling. So far, so good.