Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree,
it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.
~ Albert Einstein
As home learners we are sometimes faced with criticism or questions about where our children rank among others. People ask about testing and wonder if our children are learning at the same pace as others in their age group. People’s expectations of our children often seem much higher then other children and there often is a voice of “concern” about our children’s learning. Honestly, I wish people would just mind their own business.
There are many reasons we choose not to send our children to school and those reasons have evolved over the years. I know that there are many homeschoolers out there that choose to homeschool for very different reasons then we do. The majority of those, do school at home. Working from a set curriculum, recreating a more personalized school structure in the comfort of their own home. We, however, do not.
One of the main reasons that we choose not to send our children to school was because we don’t agree with the system. Not just the school system itself, but the whole way that learning is approached conventionally. In a past post I explained how unschooling is different in that the focus is not about teaching but about learning.It is about leaving behind the idea of teaching separate subjects and instead about the child understanding the world as a whole.
Where our children rank, is of no importance to us. Not because we don’t care, but because we are confident that they are learning what they need and what they want to learn. We are using a different system of learning that can not be measured in the conventional way, nor do we want them to be measured it in the conventional way. Through letting our children learn at their own pace we are letting them be geniuses in their own right. Their passions shine through every thing they do and their knowledge is always expanding.
When I was a student, I was awful at math and I hated math class. It was not that I didn’t like actual math and logics, I actually loved it. But the way that the subject of math was taught in the schools that I attended didn’t coincide with the way that I understood math in my head. I would get the right answer, but I was never able to show the “correct” way that I got to my answer and because most of the marks were focused on that, I would often fail and I did fail… or actually, I should say, the system failed.
We all have our strengths, we all have our ways of understanding things, not all of us are set on the same path in life, not all of us have the same passions, same goals. I see unschooling, life learning, as a way to celebrate and bring out my children’s strengths,as a way to set them on the path that they are destined for. I believe that not teaching them in a conventional way will open the path up so that they can learn and advance in their own way. As a child I was taught that I must conform to fit in, to succeed, if not I was teased, I failed classes or felt like an outsider. I often failed to see how separate school subjects related to the real world, or related to each other, and forgot about them as soon as I passed the test, only to need to relearn them later on if the need (or want) came up. I was taught that I must live up to the expectations of others to succeed. It was only when I was out of school that I was able to find myself. I want my children to be themselves now, to live up to their own expectations, to have control over the own success.
So no, where my children rank among others, is of little importance to us. We see that they are learning every day. We see that they are advancing, that their interests are evolving, that they have confidence that they can be successful at anything they put their mind to, and that their genius shines through every thing they do.