In 2005 I created An Unschooling Life, a blog detailing our unschooling experience after adopting our three children. Over time, An Unschooling Life became a hub for unschooling support and advice. The blog has been featured in print and digital media and was home to the popular Unschooling Carnival. I’m in the process of updating and moving all the posts to this blog where they will be housed under the An Unschooling Life section. This post was originally published on June 16, 2011 and was written by Kimberly Sharpe for An Unschooling Life.
Being an unschooling mom does have it’s moments of absolute frustration on many different levels. Not so much with the belief system that this philosophy of learning does work, and it does, but with the criticism from family members and society as a whole.
Although the term homeschooling has been around for a long time, understood and supported by many families, churches, governmental institutions, and the like, unschooling, for the most part, is an alien method to most.
Unfortunately, many people that do unschool receive a ton of negative support and criticism. How does one deal with such ridicule? Does this ignorance of the unschooling lifestyle affect your children and their daily communication with others? Can you politely and lovingly devoid yourself from having an uncomfortable oral discussion with a family member or a complete stranger in a shopping market? I believe you can, although it hasn’t always been easy for me or my children.
So how does one handle the unschooling criticism debate?
I’ll be honest, my youngest daughter Chloe usually doesn’t tell people that she is an unschooler, she simply tells people that she is a homeschooler. She has gotten tired of explaining her philosophy and how she loves to learn about cats, dogs, pigs, chickens, ferrets, rats, and the Holocaust. Her interests are her own and she loves learning about each of these topics. My oldest daughter
Autumn, soon to be 18, usually does the same thing. Is it really worth it? She seems to think so, as does Chloe. They are humorously bullied by their uncle, by their cousins, and teased sometimes out in public by complete strangers from not being in school. They both feel that loving themselves and being peaceful people is what is most important when dealing with these situations in the public world.
My youngest daughter Chloe will occasionally express her anger to me privately, but we work through it, and usually resolve the problem in a calm conversation. Sometimes.
John Gatto expressed that unfortunately in the public school system, a good student obeys the orders of their instructor to be accepted and to receive a passing grade. A good student does their homework and does not debate with their teachers because their teacher is the smarter person and they know best.
This old school method of learning is not humane in my opinion, and I do not agree with people who criticize my family, but I refuse to allow myself to become enraged by society’s ignorance and narrow mindedness.