So many adults are still searching for their passion in life. The message I constantly get is to live your dream, be true to who you are and do what makes you happy (your passion).
This is the underlying philosophy that forms the basis for my parenting and naturally for unschooling. There is no distinction between parenting and schooling. It is just our life.
Our children are born knowing who they are and what they need to be doing. With unschooling we are letting them do what they need to do, learn what they instinctively need to learn. Trusting your child is paramount to unschooling (an awful term, ‘natural learning’ is more apt). When you have a baby you trust that your baby will learn to crawl, walk and talk and they do! That desire to make sense of the world around them does not go away, it only intensifies and becomes more specialised. Following your passion leads to greatness.
Everyday life, when your children are learning naturally is a lot like the summer holidays in other school-going families. We all have lots of fresh air, exercise, plenty of sleep. The children take a lot of thinking time, which has been an inspiring learning curve for me. They really do think deeply, remember things and work out well without any adult interfering. My role is very much one of support, and mentor, chief questionanswerer, alongside being a full time parent.
We tramp, camp, read, play, cycle, have adventures, make things, socialise with friends (yes unschooled children have a fabulous social life!), attend workshops
and courses when we want to. We go to swimming pools, libraries and museums when other children are at school. We work out lives so we are all (me included) getting our needs met. We all have time for our passions and interests, time to be healthy, time together as a family and time to just lie out on the lawn and read for hours if that is how the day unfolds.
We have created a life that values time. Time together, alone, time to finish a project, time to chill out, think, ask and answer questions, have dates and be spontaneous when an opportunity turns up. Our children do not stop learning and when you realise that it makes you really think about how they are spending their childhood and how you, too, are spending your life. Lead the life you love, be happy otherwise what is the point?
Top Three Questions about ‘Unschooling’ Is unschooling the same as home schooling?
For some families, home schooling is about replicating the school day at home, fine tuned for their particular children of course.
Unschooling does not look much like school as there are no formal lessons. Learning takes place when children create their own opportunities. The children are encouraged to follow their own interests and lines of enquiry.
How do your children get opportunities to socialise?
Like most children ours have friends from the different circles we move in. They have friends from our home-schooling group, friends from Ashhurst and further afield. Their friends are from a real mix of backgrounds and ages. They have friends they make movies with, swim with, play music with, share books and play Lego with.
What about adult life? What will your children do when they are older?
They will continue as they have done so far – they know what they want to do and they take active steps to achieve it. If they decide to become an architect, vet or artist then they will take the exams and do the work like anybody else. Large businesses (including Fonterra) actively recruit from home-school groups around the country.
Jane Higgison & Dan Fyles
Editor’s note: The Higgisons featured on TVNZ current affairs program Sunday on the 20th March 2011.
You can see this episode at tvnz on demand http://tvnz.co.nz/sunday/video. Click on Episode 4
The story on unschooling, entitled Free Range Kids, was the second story of the show. Click
2 to go straight to that story.
From the Smiths:
Updated 30 January 2012: Life for Those Left Behind (Craig Smith’s Health) page 6 click here
Needing help for your home schooling journey:
Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling: