Unschooling, meeting deadlines and a blog post justification.
Yesterday I received a comment about a blog post I wrote. I feel like I need to clarify some things that I wrote in that post in response to this comment because, perhaps, others may have had similar thoughts to the anonymous commenter.
In a recent post I wrote about how much I have gained from having two business related mentors this year. I also shared how I felt that making some deadlines for myself has really helped me complete some major projects that I had been wanting to work on for a long time. It helped me through my procrastination. Amongst all this I mentioned the word unschooling. I noted that our unschooling life has been wonderful but I had realised that I hadn’t had to meet deadlines for the past 17 years.
I wrote that with a little hesitation because I know that those who are opposed to, or perhaps ignorant of unschooling would jump on it and focus on the negative, that is, that unschooling is so free and easy that how could they possibly be able to cope in the real world of deadlines. The commenter did hint that unschooling was, perhaps, not the real world.
Let me clarify what I was trying to share in that post, and then shed some light on unschooling and the real world and deadlines.
I was referring totally to myself in that post. I made absolutely no reference to my son or his learning experiences. I was never unschooled. I grew up under a regime of structure and deadlines and threats of punishment if those deadlines were not met. I grew up in a school system that imposed this stuff and vouched that they replicated the real world.
A little side thought here …has my life not been the real world for the past 17 years? Have I not been contributing to society in one of the most important roles I could contribute in? Is what I have done for the past 17 years, that is, parent and unschool my child, of no importance, of no valid consequence? It’s so disheartening to hear that people only seem to value work place achievements which are validated by an income. And that is their description of the real world.
Back to the conversation. Unschooling is not no structure. Unschooling is not no deadlines. Unschooling is not not goal orientated. Simply put, and I’ve said this time and time again, unschooling is based on the interests of the child. Why? Because if kids learn what it is they are really needing and interested in then they are going to feel success and they are guaranteed that learning will take place. Training kids to learn in a particular way in practice for a job that they may or may not end up with is not a sufficient enough learning process, in my opinion. Can we say that all children, or even the majority of children, who leave the school system at the age of 18 are able to meet deadlines and fulfill outcomes of tasks imposed upon them? I truly don’t think anyone could say that is the case.
When a child enters the work force, whether they are unschooled or not, they are hopefully entering into a job that they are passionate about. A job that they care about. A job that they want to give a lot of energy to. When you have all of those things in place then motivation, inspiration, ambition is much higher and the desire to achieve outcomes related to a job that they are fully interested in will be high. And they will be able to meet those deadlines and those job related outcomes.
That is the reason I chose to unschool my child. So that he would learn in an environment that would encourage his interests and passions and that he would end up becoming an adult with self drive, motivation and direction for his life. I know that when he works in his chosen field he may have similar struggles with working life that all young adults experience but I don’t fear him being unable to meet deadlines and achieve outcomes because I know how passionate he is and the ethics that he has developed growing up with a life that hasn’t had overly imposing expectations on him. I see in his life now, as a soon to be 18 year old, that he has responsibilities that he has happily placed upon himself and totally commits to, without any need for someone else to make him do those things.
But there are no guarantees with anything in life. Not school, not usnchooling, not anything in between.
Back to me and deadlines. I have not had work related deadlines put upon me since I gave up my working career 17 years ago to raise and unschool my son. That was a choice that both Lew’s Dad and I made all those years ago and it was a decision that was not without judgment and external pressure. In a world where money and career is highly valued over simple living and family connection it has been difficult at times for me as a stay at home mum to feel valued by people around me. Thankfully, I very rarely seek the approval of others in that way but I am sensitive, nonetheless, to judgment and I feel it even though I have been able to push it to the side for much of the time.
In my life, this real life of mine, I have obviously had to meet deadlines and, as a person who relishes structure, I have had my own structure to the way I live my life. The deadlines that I was referring to in my last post, however, was self-imposed business related deadlines. This was probably not that clear and I apologise for any confusion over that. As someone who is striving to become an entrepreneur and learning so many new ways of doing things and creating a business for myself, I have had to learn to develop and stick to my own set of deadlines. This is a very different way of working, for me. And I realise that I’ve needed to impose my own working deadlines to get bigger projects up and completed.
That is what I meant in that last post.
I have always found it easy to meet someone else’s deadline for me. That’s simple. I work that way naturally and I want to please others so an externally imposed deadline on me isn’t a tricky thing to meet. Setting my own and valuing them enough to stick to them when there is no real consequence for me not to meet them has been much, much more difficult. That’s what I should’ve said.
And I should probably not have mentioned unschooling.
I hope that’s a little clearer to any of you who may have been puzzled by that post or felt that I was contradicting unschooling.
Explanation, justification rant over.
And if you missed the survey, I’d love for you to take part in it. It’s just to get a bit more of an idea of where you would like Feather & Nest to go in 2018. There’s a little prize for one survey participant too:)