From There to Here: How We Got Into Unschooling

I’m starting to see some of the fruits of home-educating and it has been especially interesting to me that by using the unschooling method we are starting to see similar results as other unschoolers. Ok, I’m being cheeky, but it is absolutely true. Unschooling is a method.

See, I was first introduced to the idea of homeschooling when I was still in primary school. I kinda got a leg up on my autodidacticism by watching Donahue (and later Oprah) after school—right after Scooby Doo, of course. I always thought that was a little odd of kid-me, but have recently heard that extra smart engaged kids (ESK EEK) prefer the company of adults and since I was a latch-key kid from a pretty young age it reckons that I spent my time with the only adults available, Phil and O. And I am pretty sure that it was on Donahue (yes, I have unsuccessfully attempted to search the archives) where I first heard of homeschooling. I vaguely remember a family with I think three children, and I think they were adopted, one was African American-pretty sure not African this was the eighties you know—and maybe one or another was not the same background-looking of the parents. Anyway. They were homeschoolers and it was just so idealistic and fabulous-sounding to me.

I had recently entered the Gifted And Talented Education program (GATE and yes, this entire post is an elaborate rouse to brag. AND that name is just as horrible as the counter program for would-be-drop-outs, “SAVE”) anyway, I was sadly disappointed in the gifted program. I thought it would be like genius, mind-expanding stuff, but we basically just watched films (literally, celluloid f-i-l-m) and then did related experiments. Uh, yeah, I already did that kind of stuff at home—where I was free or what some would call unsupervised. So, I’m pretty sure that was the first homeschooling family I met and all I can very vaguely remember is that the kids had way cool hobbies and their parents encouraged their activities. Profound. Seriously.

There is another early, circa 1980s, unschooling family I am familiar with, but pretty sure I saw them somewhere as well as read a book about them. What stuck to me brainz was: boy and girl, played in the woods, made up games, played elaborately with their doll and animal collection, went on to become some kind of musical genius/prodigy/musicians or something. Then—I really am going somewhere with all this—then, at some point I read about an unschooling family and the mom was detailing some of the projects and activities of her kids. One thing that stuck in my brain was that her young son (11? 12?) did the electrical work on the home they had built from scratch. Not that I thought she was fronting, but it just seemed so exaggerated that someone so young would be doing something like that.

While I read/watched these accounts to learn how to do homeschooling and especially unschooling, there was often a little pessimistic voice babbling on at my internal ear (left ear no doubt). I had much trepidation about my own family’s future, but barreled forward anyway, continuing to educate myself, praying, seeking out support and implementing various methodologies.

Anyway. Prodigy #1 rewired our doorbell a couple of weeks ago. Masha Allah. This thing has been broke for—maybe—decades. I don’t know how long. But the twelve year old (actually, technically eleven at the time) designed a way to jimmy rig a doorbell and he did it and it works. And a HUGE relief has been removed from my shoulders. I mean, not only can neighborhood kids add us back into the ring and ditch prank fold, but AlhumdiAllah, the prayer, the educating myself, the determination have paid off and we are starting to see some fruit—or maybe these are the blossoms before the fruit—either way, these are especially exciting days!

Strange little improvised devise made of yarn (wool of course), paper, electric tape and really I don’t know what is inside, but I opened my bedroom door and woke the house with the alarm it set off. Pride and Annoyance, my newest badge of motherhood.
#3 has become an elaborate game designer using various scrapped and found materials. That foamy black thing is from our modem packaging. And please note the boy is not shy to play with pink, hearts and flowers. Actually the hearts are some kind of specialty explosives. And the little screw drivers are too cute, but I never made it to the level where you get to use those. 😦
I don’t know why I, the Queen Mother, never get to use THIS attack ship, but I hear a better one is in the works for me. #2 does a lot of designing on paper as well as 3D and has started doing computer animation for #1’s pc games. They are sooooo cool, masha Allah.

2 thoughts on “From There to Here: How We Got Into Unschooling

  1. Mashallah!!!
    Sniff. I am so proud of him.
    And I am definitely hooking up with the Unschoolers in town as soon as I can!

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