The new edition of Unschooling Voices, a collection of posts by unschooling parents, is up. Enjoy!
The theme for this edition is "How has unschooling changed you?" And I think that’s fascinating to contemplate: how has homeschooling your children affected you?
Scott told me once about how Eric Clapton learned to play guitar. He wanted to learn, and so he sat down with a guitar and just played and played and played, to the exclusion of all else. It’s called "woodshedding," as in you go out to the woodshed and practice for hours.
What was funny about Scott telling me this (it was before we were married, I think) was that it sounded so much like HIM to me, the total immersion in an interest. It sounded like me, too: I have always been one-track that way, wanting to throw myself intensely into a new subject or interest.
The first Christmas we were married, I gave Scott a guitar of his own, and he hunkered down and taught himself to play.
A year later, when we had a six-month-old and I was reading about homeschooling and thinking this was the path we should take, I remembered about woodshedding. When I talked about home education in those terms, it made total sense to him. From initial skepticism he shifted to receptiveness and eventually to an enthusiasm for homeschooling that was (is) as vocal and wholehearted as mine. All this was before the baby’s first birthday.
Deciding to homeschool changed us both in granting us a sense of freedom about learning—how naturally it happens when there is an interest in a subject or skill. The change was in regard to how people work, how people learn. In school, I was always so good at seeing just what I needed to do to get the grade. I was more focused on the benchmarks than on the knowledge itself. Through the decision to homeschool, I pulled back from that very narrow focus and saw how there were times I had woodshedded to learn something I really wanted to know. I learned to weave that way, autodidacticly, immersing myself in weaving books and warp and weft until one day there was a towel in my hand, and I’d made it all by myself.
I’m seeing that happen with the kids now: the origami animals everywhere, everywhere; and the Sculpey creations, and the stories, and Jane’s pretty book she is filling with algebraic equations she wants to remember.