I'm a Drop Out Type of Unschooler
by Beverley Paine, May 2015
I've decided that what I want to be is, actually already am, and have been for a very long time, since the teen years I reckon, is a drop out. Just need to embrace and accept that and get on with it instead of feeling the pressure and need from these darn voices in my head to fit in, belong, do the whole socialised thing, be 'someone', get a job, pay my way, etc, etc, etc, and oh yeah, be successful. I'm good at dropping out, it's my best thing.
Unschooling and dropping out don't necessarily go together but they do for me. I've been beating myself up for years about not providing more opportunities for my children. But I'm the only one seemingly dissatisfied with how we parented. My adult children seem happy with their weird childhood. Sometimes I forget that it was weird: living in caravans and sheds, having houses built around their heads, composting toilet, off the grid, growing and planting trees, a DIY fix it repair and recycle kind of childhood and alternative education feels normal and sane to me. We're not of the hippy generation and we're a long way from being self-sufficient or self-reliant. Sometimes I forget how much this lifestyle is an expression of who I am.
Unschooling helps me stay on track to identify and meet my needs. This group and our sharing helps me realise just how far I've come with deschooling those conditioned socialised mantras and makes me realise how much they still dog my thoughts. Don't underestimate the pull power of being 'normal' - keep questioning your motives and desires, keep seeking to identify what is really needed in this situation, circumstance and moment.
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Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active support of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine
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