I have been asked recently what to do about children who are new to homeschooling and are very “resistant” to learning “anything.”
Hmm. I know this is a crisis for some of you, and I have been there, believe me! This is actually a very common issue.
The problem is that we have chosen this alternative form of education – homeschooling – but too often we are simply embracing the same ideas about “school” and “learning” and trying to force them into a home environment. This leads to frustration for the kids and especially for a parent who is watching her well-laid plans fall apart at the seams. The kids hate everything you are trying to teach them and pretty soon you are feeling frazzled and questioning your ability to actually homeschool.
What you need to do is deschool. You need to literally re-wire your brains for something entirely new! This is much harder for parents than for kids. After all, we are literally graduates of the system. There are many, many, many wonderful posts about deschooling and stepping away from the “pre-packaged” life as Sandra Dodd puts it. I won’t cover a subject that has already been thoroughly discussed, but I will link you to these wonderful posts and leave you with a few thoughts:
As a nation, we are obsessed with “school.” We have mistakenly bought into the idea that school and education are the same thing and it’s not true. We put so much thought and effort into finding the right school – we transplant our families and buy houses we cannot afford in order to make sure our kids attend a “good” school. If we can’t move, we ask for exceptions and transfers. It’s like chasing a unicorn.
I opted out. I don’t want it. I don’t care how good the school system is (and I used to live in the #1 state and district in the US), I don’t buy into the hype. I wanted more. I wasn’t even sure what I wanted more of, I just knew there had to be better options and we were going to explore those options. I didn’t even realize what a gift I had given all of us until we really got started. There are benefits and joys I never imagined.
It takes time to free yourself and your children from a school mindset. I assure you, your kids will want to learn again. Of course, how/what they choose to learn may be different than your ideas about how/what they “should” learn, but I promise…they will learn. They will grow curious again. They will even read for pleasure!
It takes faith to step away from a well-worn path and strike out on an unexplored trail. There will be moments of panic and doubt. But there will also be enough moments of clarity and inspiration to keep you going. Do you all remember my moment of absolute clarity last year, when I wrote about hearing the call of my freedom song? I am still learning to embrace it, and to live & learn with joy and freedom. It’s exhilarating and also a bit terrifying.
I am still making plans (I can’t help it!), but I am also learning not to be worried when we deviate and wander off on new and interesting detours. We are living life in a new and radical way, and I have to tell you, it feels a lot like living “la dolce vita” – the sweet life. Listen for your freedom song. You can hear it. You can live la dolce vita, too. Just let go!