By Megan Stonelake
I remember the first time I heard about unschooling. It sounded way too radical. I thought a lack of formal education would mean raising feral children into inept adults. Then I read a little more, and it all began to sound familiar. With a jolt I realized I was reading about my own childhood.
As a kid, I was homeschooled, but we never really followed a curriculum. Mostly we studied the things that really interested me, and often following my interests meant I also had to study other subjects in order to accomplish a goal. This meant my learning was self-motivated and immediately applicable. We read a lot, and we explored a lot of places. We were physically active and well as active in our community. I was unschooled, and I never even knew it.
The more I reflected on my own learning and the hopes I had for my son, the more I realized that self-directed education wasn’t as radical as I’d originally thought. As my son neared kindergarten, it became clear that unschooling was the right fit for him.
The more I reflected on my own learning and the hopes I had for my son, the more I realized that self-directed education wasn’t as radical as I’d originally thought.
Here are 6 reasons to consider unschooling your kindergartner:
Your child won’t thrive in a regular classroom
Success in a mainstream classroom requires a specific skill set. Children must be able to sit for relatively long periods, stay focused on assigned tasks, and remain quiet for the majority of the day. These are skills that challenge many adults!
I recently attended a four-day training, and most of the adults needed frequent breaks to stretch, move, and get a snack. This was permitted because the assumption was that adults can take care of themselves.
Yet most classrooms aren’t capable of offering this type of autonomy. It would be chaos. And the paradox is that most five-year-olds are far less capable than adults of sitting quietly for hours each day. What’s good for classroom management isn’t always what’s good for the individual student.
What’s good for classroom management isn’t always what’s good for the individual student.
Children who aren’t developmentally ready for our current classroom structure are often given a diagnosis or label. Yet many of these children are simply exhibiting developmentally appropriate behavior in an environment with developmentally inappropriate expectations.
You want to raise a self-starter
It’s incredible to witness young children acquire new knowledge. They are sponges. They’re literally desperate to learn. Babies want to crawl and walk, toddlers want to talk. Preschoolers want to ride a bike. The only thing that could stand in the way of their learning is us.
Children who are unrestricted continue learning freely, and they are are self-directed and self-motivated. They follow their passion. They don’t expect to be told what to learn when. They are compelled to learn about anything that fascinates them, and that internal fire to learn is never extinguished.
See next page for 4 more reasons to unschool your kindergartner!