Our journey towards unschooling was a bit haphazard and not a straight forward decision. In the initial years we were unclear whether we wanted to home school our kid or not. I have always wondered if I would have gained more knowledge and moved faster in life if I was home schooled. As a kid I used to complain that I wish I would not be forced to study all the subjects that we were taught in school. I asked my parents if there is a school where I can only study math, physics, chemistry and computers and nothing else. This was way back in 5th standard or so, when I was may be 10 or 11 years.
Coming to my better half, she met a person who said she wanted to home school her kid. Then my wife wondered if this is a good option for our kid. When she mentioned it to me I was fine but not sure about it. When our kid was approaching the pre-school going age, we had to decide what to do. We discussed our thoughts about home schooling but eventually wanted to give school a try. May be our daughter will like it unlike me. Who knows? When she turned 3, we sent her to a near by pre-school.
The point about pre-school for us at least was that she will get to interact with other kids and learn a few things in life. The whole family was nervous sending the kid to school. While it was only for a few hours in the initial days, many things were running in our heads. Will she be able to tell the teacher when she has to go to potty or if she feels hungry or scary? What if no kid wants to interact or play with her and many more questions ran through my head. But all of my fears were unfounded. My daughter did not have any issues with anything and in the ensuing few months. She enjoyed school. There was a lot of play time and she enjoyed the activities.
But as time passed, she started complaining about school. While she enjoyed the play, she did not like the requirement that she has to sit straight during classes which started happening some time half way through the school year. They were teaching alphabet and numbers and she has to sit in one place and repeat in chorus along with other kids what ever the teacher was saying. Not something she enjoyed. At this point we were contemplating if alternate schools would be a better choice.
Standardized-test-based school reform has overemphasized math and reading instruction and test prep to the exclusion of other things, forcing young children to sit in their chairs for hours at a timeThe consequences of forcing young kids to sit too long in class
A couple of months rolled by and we are seeing home work from schools. Initially we took it easy and let her do whatever home work she liked (drawing and matching) and skipped what she did not like (writing alphabet etc). But soon in the parent teacher meet, we were advised to help the child complete the home work. Our fears are now coming true. And the resistance from my kid is even more pronounced. She started showing reluctance to get up in the morning to get ready to go to school. This prompted us to consider home schooling. And that is how it all started. When we told our daughter that she can stay home and learn everything at home instead of school, her happiness knew no bounds.
We started researching on different home schooling methods. There are several choices but the more popular ones are
We started out with home schooling. We tried to follow a curriculum but eventually settled with unschooling. The why and how in the next post. So far we are happy with how things are going and the best part is that the kid is enjoying her life and learning things the way a child is meant to.