Four years ago my family became a public school family. My daughter, who thrives on experiencing life, started school for the first time as a full-time freshman to get the full high school experience. My son opted to keep his “homeschool” status while taking a few electives his junior and senior year. We found our local high school very open to my children and first year parent teacher conferences revealed that my children’s teachers had no idea they had not only been homeschooled, but allowed the freedom to learn on their own through unschooling.
As I finish editing a paper for my son’s college mass communications class and look for photos to share with my daughter’s school for senior celebration coming up in April, I can’t help but reflect on some questions I asked myself when my son was three years old,
- Will my kids be successful in life if we unschool?
- Will they be happy as adults?
My answer to both questions: ABSOLUTELY. Did they encounter some struggles in high school? Definitely. But struggles are good. They challenge you to become a better you. Plus, what high school student doesn’t have a struggle or two? As I look at my almost adult children, I see two people who are thinkers. They are both capable of figuring out the circumstances they are in and making the best of it. They don’t follow what teachers, peers, or even their parents think is best for them. They have an internal ability to know what is best for themselves and they are ALWAYS right. It might not seem that way at the time, but each experience they have had, good or bad, has lead them to exactly where they need to be next in life. When I think about their futures as adults, I get excited. I see both of them working jobs that challenge them and give back to the world rather than focusing on money or power. They are both grounded and for teenagers, quite aware of their value systems. To me, that is a success!
As children, my husband and I placed trust in our children to know when it was time to stop playing a video game, when it was their time to learn to read, how and why they needed to learn math, and when they needed time alone. We respected them as humans who knew their physical and mental bodies well. As much as possible, we left our agendas at the door so that they could figure out who they are as people. The benefits are even more amazing than I could have imagined all those years ago when I first read about the concept of unschooling and felt like I had finally found the missing piece to how I felt about learning. As their momma, I feel so honored knowing they are on their journeys to making this world a better place to live by sharing their unique talents, thoughts, and abilities.