I find talking about unschooling really hard. I don’t do it often. When I bring up my education my mind goes blank, numb. ‘I don’t want to talk about this.’
I do anyways, ‘I homeschool,’ I tell the inquirer. ‘Oh,’ they say, ‘cool.’ The image of me sitting at home in front of a computer, bored, floats above their heads. Their eyes glaze over, so do mine.
I don’t intend to have conversations this way. I just forgot how to bring up the subject with the same passion, gusto and zeal I once had. I now either confuse people when I bring up my education or more people know about unschooling and self-directed learning more than I thought they do. Questions usually end.
This lack of interest in talking about unschooling is not shame, definitely not shame at all.
I feel unschooling has become so much of my life, movement and thought I don’t have to tell them about it. I just have to show how passionate I am about the subject I’m talking about at the moment to see. Which is really a much fancier way of saying, read my mind!
That in itself feels enough for me. But it also feels like it doesn’t.
If I’m feeling up to the topic, then I tell them, ‘No, not distance education, a different type of homeschooling. It’s called unschooling but basically self-directed, interest-driven learning.’
That one word seems to take up a lot, or I allow it to take up a lot, ‘self-directed learning.’ I don’t like making assumption but I do it all the time anyways.
I’ll try and go further, ‘Instead of doing high school I follow what I’m interested. I read the best books on the subject, follow blogs about it, volunteer, work and usually attend conferences based around the topic. I follow my interests.’
Which is all of what I did to get where I am today. (A moment of pride shines through me, self-conceited? I’m trying to figure out a healthy balance of self-confidence and egotistical behaviour. I get far too happy about who I am.)
The common question after this is, ‘Oh, so do you get a diploma after all this?’ ‘No, unless I need it to get a job that I really want and there’s absolutely no other way around it. If that’s the case, I’ll get my GED.’
Going over the script in mind, I’m recognizing I don’t give unschooling the light it should. Everything I do is with passion. Every goal, job, or project I take on is something I love/want to do. I don’t know why talking about unschooling shouldn’t be the same for me.
And in many ways, unschooling philosophy is the reason I’m in this place. Talking about unschooling in the manner it deserve is also a way to help out people who don’t understand or who feel hopeless about youth, children and the current education system that’s wholly damaging.
I’m also leaving out the incredible human-mind component of it as well. People asking questions deserve a proper answer too. Questions are often looked upon as annoying, pesky things that only ‘nosy’ and ‘bothersome’ people ask. When they aren’t that at all.
Talking to people about the thoughts going through your head about humanity, politics, air, space, food, art is incredibly essential to life. Most of the time we learn from asking questions. I know I do. And so much of my unschooling/education is talking to friends, family and strangers about things that are on my mind.
I’ll leave you with a question and I would love to hear from readers about it:
What’s on your mind?