Saturday, March 2, 2013

As If I Wasn't Inappropriate Enough...

The Unschooling Experiment Begins

On one hand it is surprising to me that it has taken us 3 ½ year to reach this point.  On the other hand, I fully recognize that if we hadn’t done what we did, been where we were, we would not have reached the point we are at right now.  The truth of the matter is that it has taken me that long to get really comfortable, honestly comfortable, with the concept of unschooling.  John Holt was one of the first authors I read when I first began researching homeschooling and what he said struck chord after chord within me.  Yet, I wasn’t aware enough of ‘real life’ of homeschooling yet to be able to put what I read into the context of our own daily lives.  Now, almost 3 ½ years later, and having found a couple excellent resources to give me concrete guidance, I am ready to begin the experiment of unschooling Punky.  Yes, you may be wondering, ‘what about Punky?’  She would have unschooled out of the gate – not that she knew that was what it was called.  She’s been pushing me toward unschooling – albeit unknowingly – since the end of 2nd grade.  Punky has also been extremely intuitive, scarily so in some ways.  I *know* she is.  Apparently when it came to trusting her instincts I had a lot to learn.
 I didn’t listen to my own instincts either.  I was ‘schooled’ for a total of 19 years all in all.  That way of thinking and performing was deeply, deeply ingrained in me.  So the majority of the struggle that Punky and I have had in finding out homescooling way is directly related to the fact that I didn’t trust that *I* needed to be deschooled, even more than Punky needed to be.  Now, I know that fact to be true, it just took me 3 ½ years to make the final realization.  It’s ok though, I am right where I am supposed to be.  If I hadn’t been ‘there’, I wouldn’t be ‘here’.  So, while I wish I’d come to the realization sooner, wish I’d trusted my instincts sooner……wishing doesn’t get me anywhere; focusing on where I am now is what will help us move further along our path.

Hubby is deploying for his 1 year remote this coming week.  Punky and I have a year to keep busy while we wait for our family to be reunited.  Instead of merely ‘waiting’ for the year to pass as we blindly go about our normal lives (or as normal as it would be with hubby gone) doing the same old same old, we will take this opportunity to embark upon a new adventure, an adventure that will hopefully transition us into a way of living and learning that keeps everything fresh, exciting, and enjoyable!  To begin this experiment, I have decided, along with Punky who was given the chance to voice her opinions, that we will follow the advice I found in the book ‘Deschooling Gently’ by Tammy Takahashi.  I love books that I connect with on a personal level but also provide concrete suggestions.  It’s my schooled habit to want to follow a guideline, a check-list, a program.  I know I need to deschool myself from that, but in all the information I read on unschooling (there is a suprising amount out there – and some of it is a bit too militant for my personal taste) this was one of the few books that said, ‘here’s how you can begin this process’ while also saying ‘but do what works for you, your children, and your family’.

So that is where we are right now.  This week, after we bid what I know will be a weepy farewell to the man in our lives, Punky and I will begin our experiment, the process of deschooling, and that will hopefully transition us into unschooling.  I fully expect that our unschooling will not necessarily look like what any other unschooler’s learning looks like because I now understand that unschooling means simply following whatever natural living and learning paths are best for my family.  No one can tell me I’m doing it ‘wrong’ because what is right for someone else may very well not be what is right for me.  So we will deschool and I have no idea how long that process will last because that is a bridge upon the path of our new journey that we have yet to cross.

~Mari B.


  1. I loved Deschooling Gently and found it inspiring! Good luck with your experiment in unschooling. I'm sure you will find it to be a joyful way of approaching life. :) We are about a year into it now (with several setbacks because I haven't quite let go of many things)!

  2. Yes! I am so glad you wrote this because I was 'fighting' the unschooling method too...I am a recovering teacher. LOL We have gradually gone from complete homeschooling to a hybrid homeschool/unschool model. My middle child wants to return to school but the youngest wants to stay home. If we go with that, it will definitely be an unschooling model for next year.

    Enjoy your time with hubby! Prayers and positive wished send your way!



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