The last month or so I've been thinking of others who are homeschoolers - ie 'school at home' style educators, and how they must view unschooling.
If they read my blog from back to front, they would probably think something like "that's all fine and good, but not enough. Never enough!"
I was checking out a couple of blogs this morning, strangers blogs, places I've never before visited.
One of them mentioned that they were now done with school for the year, and that they would now practice unschooling ways for learning over the summer. The writer even said something about celebrating, and hoping that these fun days would sustain the relationship with her children during later trying times.
I'm trying not to get too specific here, it is not my intent to appear to be bashing another's ideas or ways. What I'm trying to do is to broaden and explore my own fascination with, and understanding of learning.
It seems to me that a lot of home educators really like the idea of child-led learning. It affords them freedom and they recognize that children get enthusiastic, and absorb information in this manner at an astounding rate. They (parents) get to taste and feel the beauty of it, and they don't feel pressure to steer the exploration into a particular direction. They like the peace of it, I think.
But I'm wondering what really stops them from believing that it's enough.
Again, I'm not meaning to examine this in a condemning way, or to say that these parents are wrong.
I do wonder what that element is, though. Is it mostly fear? Fear that the child won't be a success? Fear that they'll not know how to get along in society? Fear that they'll have to support them for the next 60 years?
Or maybe it's pride. Having a child that is well above grade-level. One that stands out from his peers. Obviously special. I think we all want that, we see the beauty and greatness in our children, and want the entire world to recognize their shininess.
Maybe it's just personal philosophy.
Some people think (I am learning) that children, and people, should be controlled. That without rigorous practices, they'll just become horrid monsters who cannot be controlled. Or else just spin off the earth.
But I'm being pretty extreme in this supposition. I'll reframe it. I think some (most!) people believe that there are certain things that you just have to do in this life, and school is preparation for such a life.
Which is a strange notion to me. I mean, it seems like it's akin to preparing someone for the death of a loved one. I don't mean one who is dying, but one who is alive and well. A "bad things happen" mentality. As if we don't experience pain, disappointment, and a gamut of other unjoyous things every day of our lives.
I don't know what it is.
And it's not as if I am not familiar with any of the above emotions. (except the controlling part, I give children and people much more credit than that.)
It makes me feel sad, though, that people would find a peace and happiness in this way of learning with their children, and then discount it, believing for whatever reason that this happiness, or any other, is not what life is about.
If not joy, then what?