Unschooling: Fascination and Fear

We came to homeschooling very late in Michelle’s life and one of the hardest things about this has been trying to get Michelle to CHILL OUT about grades and traditional types of assignments and testing.  She’s got the public school status quo stuck inside and it’s been pretty tough to get her to let it go.  But maybe she comes by that honestly because I have had moments of worry that she wasn’t really learning anything at all.  And since I don’t test her, how did I know?  Since I don’t assign her a lot of worksheets and rote memorization stuff, how do I know?

I read blogs by unschoolers and am fascinated by them.  I’m bad at structure and carrying out plans but I have to have some floating around or I feel like I’m just wasting time, not accomplishing anything.  To let go of the structure and the control of Michelle’s education would probably drive me insane.  I read the unschoolers and wish I could go back about 20 years and start over with all of the kids.  Unschool them all.  Or not.  Ack, see even when I imagine starting over, unschooling them all, I start to panic and it isn’t even real!

Michelle would probably lock herself in her room and cry for a day if I attempted unschooling.  She asks for worksheets.  She is a stickler about having things graded and worrying over grades.  Panic strikes every month or two, she’s sure she hasn’t learned anything – that she’s fallen behind her peers – that she’s not learning enough to get into college – that she doesn’t know how to test, to take notes to do ANYTHING and so she is not really prepared for life.   I remind her to breathe and to chill out and to TRUST ME.  The madness passes.

Unschooling is fascinating and maybe if I had started earlier, we both could have handled it.  It’s too late though, so I’ll just keep reading those blogs and wondering about how things would be if we had tried it – or if Michelle and I were different types of people.

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2 responses to “Unschooling: Fascination and Fear

  1. D- I have never heard the term “unschooling” before, but that is totally what we did! Apparently my mom was a pioneer in this and never knew it. I loved her methods of teaching. LOL and- I did learn a lot of stuff because I learned to love learning.

  2. Hey April – I’ve always imagined your mom being a classic unschooler, based on what you’ve told me. And, well I have a weird fascination for your mom because she taught you interesting stuff.

    Isn’t your sister homeschooling? I picture her as an unschooler, too.

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