Life Learning and Homeschooling Might Not Be What you Think
Sometimes people think homeschoolers casually and nonchalantly decide not to send their kids to school. Sometimes people think we don’t understand the education system, academics, or how it all works. Sometimes people think we are a simple-folk-a-livin’ in a bubble.
That very well may be true for some. I’m thinking of religious homeschoolers especially.
As for me and mine (tee-hee), I chose not to send my kids to school because I understand the education system. I’m well versed. I spent time both as student and faculty learning it. Living it. I was formally trained in how to “educate” children.
Life Learning is Highly Intentional
Since the decision not to send my kids to school I’ve spent my life learning about and observing how children learn, thrive, and engage. It’s literally my life’s work. All-day. Every day. Day after day. Month after month. Year after year. It’s what I do on an intense and constant basis.
While our lives are relaxed, my decisions, actions, and interactions are not casual. While it might look like all we do is play (which is accurate) I observe and foster learning, connections, and meaningful understanding all day every day.
I feel like it’s worth putting out there so that people have a better understanding of many homeschooling families and how much we understand what’s happening- how thoughtful, educated, and intentional this decision is. It’s worth knowing because too often we are seen as outliers not just in numbers but in understanding.
We are outliers in both, I suppose, but not in the way many assume. Many of us have a deep understanding and value of not only learning but other things too. Things like critical thinking, emotional-intelligence, self-worth, self-compassion, self-love and living a peaceful and happy existence. I do not mean a new-agey etherial existence but one that allows us to operate from a calm and contented place- one where learning is able to happen all day every day. We understand the relationship between these things, learning and meaningfully contributing to society. We know the value this holds in making the world a better and more loving place.
Every day we see how much people learn just from living, some refer to this as life learning. We see the results of creating an environment where curiosity and creativity are supported. This often means removing blocks like access to resources, enforcing arbitrary sleep requirements, and switching focus from exploring the rabbit hole to food or chores.
Many of us choose to homeschool not nonchalantly or because we are stuck in some ideology. For many of us, religion and the subjects being taught in schools has no bearing at all on why our kids do not attend.
For a large number of us, we choose not to send our kids to school because we understand that the very act of living is learning- life learning. We see that when curiosity is supported on a whole-life basis, instead of hindered by arbitrary requirements, kids not only learn everything they are “supposed to” but a million things more. We watch as these things stick, are easily recalled and contextually and appropriately applied in an innovative way.
There are lots of different reasons people homeschool. Even within homeschooling circles, there are vast philosophical differences. More and more though parents are deciding to partner with their kids to learn through living. Because this is unfamiliar to the majority of us I think it’s worth noting how thoughtful, researched, involved, and committed living this way is.
Assumptions about homeschoolers are plentiful. Some, sadly, are accurate. For so many of us though we are contributing great things to this world by choosing to live this way with our children.
I hope these thoughts are helpful for others. Maybe you have a loved one who is homeschooling this way and you wonder how it works. Maybe you have a loved one who doesn’t value the way you are choosing to live. Maybe you live in a small conservative community of religious homeschoolers and find yourself subconsciously swayed toward school-at-home.
Whatever the reason, I hope these words offer some clarity and helpfulness in figuring out what works best for your family. I also hope they offer those who hold inaccurate assumptions about homeschoolers to reconsider. For many of us, this is our life-long, large, and meaningful way to contribute to positively changing the world.