Why Does School Have To Be So Hard?

3년 전

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Having undertaken fairly rigorous mainstream education (which I enjoyed most of the time) it was a surprise to many of my friends and family when I started homeschooling one of my children about 5 years ago. He had already struggled through many years of school and hated almost every minute of it. It was our local, friendly primary school and, from what I could see, they were doing everything right...but it didn’t suit him. Here was a child who struggled both academically and socially. Who spent his school days so wound up and on edge that he would melt down and cry when he got home. Sunday evenings were the worst when he knew he had another whole week to face ahead of him. The whole family was so much happier when we finally made the decision to remove him from the environment that was distressing him on a daily basis.

We started out, then, as I imagine most new homeschoolers do - we replicated school at home. The relief for him to not have to face the rigours of school was evident straight away and work that he would have previously sat and stared at at school now became achievable with one on one help. It still wasn’t easy for him, but much more attainable. Knowing my son as I did I knew that pushing him would only cause greater resistance, so we took each task slowly and got what we could out of it. We maintained this for a few months, working through workbooks, attempting maths problems and reading everyday, but we also spent a lot more time cooking and doing art work and things that he enjoyed.

I’m not sure what triggered it, I like to think it was a natural progression but I suspect things started to change when my husband and I started a new business and suddenly I didn’t have as much time as I used to have to sit and work through problems with him. We somehow morphed into what I now know as unschooling. It was then that the true magic of self directed learning started to happen. And it really was magic! We watched as our son truly blossomed and took control of what he wanted to do and learn. He took over our kitchen and turned it into a cafe. He had price lists and different ways to order and he set it up every morning and cleaned it up every night. He took advantage of the regular passing traffic that would come through our house each day (at the time we were looking after my nephews daily so there was always aunts and uncles passing through who would buy a cup of coffee and whatever sweet treat he had cooked up that day), and sometimes the cafe would get an order from me to cook dinner for the family that night.

And then, just as suddenly as it came about, the cafe stopped. And then computers and IT became his world! He found a mentor on YouTube. Someone who gave very clear, precise instructions in a very methodical way. He watched every video this particular person made and he followed along and taught himself how to design websites. Right at the time when our business needed tech/website support, we suddenly, happily had just the person we needed!

He is now almost 16 and has been homeschooled/unschooled since he was 10. He will never return to formal/institutionalised education. He will, however, continue to educate himself in things he needs/wants to know. To say we couldn’t run our business without him would be an overstatement, but, we would certainly have to outsource a lot more tasks if we didn’t have such a capable young man so readily accessible to us.

Unschooling for the win!

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How wonderful. As we enter an age where our kids (and us) need to be able to learn new skills and take on new challenges throughout life, this is a great start you've given him.

I feel as though we are starting to see schools move towards teaching the human being in front of them, and the skills they need to succeed, rather than just the curriculum, and the facts they needs to pass. Heading in the right direction, but slowly perhaps.

I love this story! School was a horrid place for me too and I would have loved to unschool. I’m unschooling my two children, although they are still very young. My four year old hates it when anyone tries to ‘teach’ where he didn’t ask but he learn so much everyday. I love the opportunities unschooling can bring, for the whole family, when you’re not tied to a school system.
It’s fab that he now works for the family business. I’m sure he’ll have an amazing career in all the things he will choose for himself.

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Thanks @radicalpears ! It really is magical to watch them as they develop and discover for themselves. Good luck with your unschooling journey!

Yay! What an awesome story! We do a homeschooling/unschooling mix too. Although with 4 kids it is tough to manage sometimes, but I'm always learning-right along side the kiddos! Thanks for sharing!