Who better to ask about unschooling than the children that are experiencing it? Here is a conversation I had with Rico about unschooling not too long ago.
How old are you?
Describe how school used to be at home:
Every morning after breakfast we would have school and it would be about stuff. (What kind of stuff?) Dinosaurs, China, Ping, math. And now we can just do whatever we want. We learn whatever we want.
Did you like it?
What did you like about it?
Mostly getting our binders with files in it with fun stuff.
What did you not like?
Having to listen to you (mom). [We had a mostly eclectic homeschool style, 4 days a week for about an hour a day. Before we stopped doing any type of formal schooling we were using the Five in a Row curriculum, Math U See, and a couple of random writing materials.]
Describe how school is now:
We can do whatever we want. We can learn whatever we want at any time and any day. We have time to just be with each other at home and do fun stuff like go to the aquarium.
Do you enjoy life?
Yeah. I like learning about cheetahs.
Are there things you wish you could do more often?
Do parkour more. I would like to go to the gas station and get treats more.
Are there things you feel you are missing out on because you do not go to school?
No. Besides seeing friends all day. [They would be in different classes because they are not the same age and the oldest will be in junior high next year.]
What do you think kids do in school?
Sit around in desks all day and learn about the dumbest stuff in the whole world.
Where did you come up with that idea?
I just did.
What is something you wish people knew about life learning?
That if you do it, it will help you learn a lot more and you can see your mom and dad more. You can see them all day.
What are you interested in?
Cheetahs. I love house cats and that I am thinking of building houses for cats out of cardboard that I can sell for $9.99. [Then we had a conversation about building cat houses out of cardboard.]
What do you do all day?
We love playing in the snow. Playing in the house. Playing Harry Potter with Freddie and playing ninjas with Eloise and Fred and Marie.
Are there things you wish you knew more about?
Yes. House cats. I wonder why house cats are not like wild cats and why they live in houses. (How are you going to find that out?) With Merle and Alistair. I discovered a lot about them with Alistair. Like how they eat and drink and that when he was an indoor cat he just wanted to be inside. So now I am going to follow Merle around and pretend to be a cat with her.
How do you learn things like math, or spelling?
I just figure it out. Six plus six is twelve. I don't know. I just learn...so...
And spelling, you tell me how to spell.
Do you care about learning to spell?
Because it just is not important to me.
What do you love about your life?
That I can discover a lot about all different kinds of cats. That I can learn about all different kinds of stuff. I love making stuff out of cardboard.
Cheetah, house cats and leopards and jaguars.
Our children’s interests are interwoven into their days. They do not have to take a break from their interests and activities to learn something else that the government (or I) dictate that they need to learn. They are literally free to ask all questions and find their own rhythm to their days. Things like math and spelling come up as they naturally do, and Rico has learned and memorized some math facts because it is interesting to him.
Since we live as a family, we all have needs and desires throughout the day and we are learning to navigate those. No one is forced to sit still for lessons. No one is forced to learn things before their brain is ready to learn. Everyone is allowed to use the bathroom when their body tells them it is time to go. Everyone is trusted to develop at their own, unique, pace. Doesn’t it seem easy?
Have you considered unschooling? Have questions? Fears? Doubts? Let me know!