Sunday, October 7, 2012

Question Everything

We're coming up on the 2 year anniversary of when Padawan out of Public School. I think we have pretty much found our groove. We still don't fit under any one homeschooling label. My views toward education lean toward radical unschooling more than anything, but if someone looks at how we do things we probably look more like a family of (mostly radical) Relaxed Homeschoolers. That's ok; I'd rather just do what we do and let the labels fall where they may. The downside to this is that sometimes I worry that others may perceive me as talking out of both sides of my mouth or not practicing what I preach.

Unschooling/natural learning/interest led/independent research/discovery based learning is what really works with Padawan - especially with math.   On the other hand, we loosely follow curriculum during the familiar school year because it gives him peace of mind that he has done school and that we're not just being slackers. We still haven't come across very much in the lessons that he hasn't already picked up in other ways or that I would worry about if he didn't learn it at this point in time. Most of the time the lessons just lead to other questions and random things to research- so in a way it is good strewing material.

I think defining my approach to home education (as closely as I can) has been useful in helping me find a community of Moms where I fit in. A safe place where I'm not judged for my educational and/or parenting choices. I find that when I wander outside of my safe place the questions and advice given seem so outside my new way of thinking that I have nothing to contribute to the discussion. I feel at more at home in groups of Unschooling Moms than I do with Traditional Homeschoolers or even Relaxed School-at-Home-ers.

One wise mom pointed out that school is a building; education is a lifestyle. There are as many different ways to live an educational lifestyle as there are people.

The key to finding out what is best for Padawan has been really getting to know him and his heart and to question everything. Knowing the WHY behind the choices I make instead of just doing things (or not doing things) because that's the way it has always been done, because that is what works for that other family, or because that's the way that someone else thinks we should be doing things has been enlightening. If I can't find a legitimate reason for what we are doing, especially if that thing is not working it is probably time to let it go.

This has all been a new practice for me because I was taught to blindly follow along with what was expected of me just because it was expected- even though I questioned things in my mind, most of the time I just went with the flow.

Raising a child that resists doing things that are arbitrary has really opened my eyes that maybe it is good to question everything and to and make your own path even if it means not fitting anyone's label. After all, (to quote another Mom) labels are for soup cans.

The biggest question(s) that helped me find our path was: What is the goal of education? Is it about doing schoolwork, memorizing facts, and making good grades or is it about learning and becoming educated?

What have you questioned lately?



  1. It's good to read an update! You've come a long way in 2 years, huh? More confidence in your choices. I have a child who resists doing arbitrary things too. They challenge us to get out of our comfort zones and reexamine why we do the things we do. In that way, we learn as much as we teach.

  2. Yeah, it's definitely been a learning experience for me!


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