fbpx
  • Blurring the line between school and prison

    He raises his hand. It’s only 9:30am and he knows he should have used the toilet before he was ushered into this room. It’s going to be embarrassing and disruptive now, but he’s desperate so he puts his hand up to ask permission anyway. It’s granted – it always is – but rules are rules, and the process must be followed. Back at the same table he’s been sitting at daily for – 8 months? 10? he’s losing count – he’s starting to mentally drift. The group he’s with – the same faces since he arrived – have been working on something he’s found uninteresting for almost two hours. Usually…

  • Does homeschooling shelter children from the real world?

    A common perception of homeschooling is that it shelters children. That as homeschooling or unschooling parents we’re narrowing down their worldview, deliberately or not, to something that sits inside our own little walls. The perception also holds that children need school to prepare them for the real world, and if a child misses out on that experience they’ll become adults with less developed social skills, coping mechanisms, and narrow, shallow world views. The perception puts alternative education in a tiny box. But…by taking our children out of school we’ve actually broken down the walls completely. There aren’t any left. There are no social boundaries defined by age, gender, race, culture, academic…

  • You will make sure they’re still learning, won’t you?

    We met someone on the beach recently when they stopped to comment on our lovely seaside holiday. It would have looked that way – it was during the school term and we were camped out on the beach, bags and towels and food spread around, kids out playing in the water. We smiled, said we weren’t on holiday, that we lived a short walk from there and that our kids didn’t go to school. We were unschooling, and this was a pretty typical day for us. She looked surprised – a bit shocked, and genuinely concerned – that our children were missing out on the experience of sitting at desks…

  • This is her classroom.

    This is her classroom. ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ And the beach. The library. The museum. Dance class. Our karate club. Our local shops. Our street. Playgrounds. The train. Our home. ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ Her classmates? Everyone, everywhere, of any age and from any background.  ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ She will never tie learning to a school. It will be everywhere, all around her, all the time. ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ It will never feel hierarchical, age-divided or mandated. ‍‍‍‍‍‍ ‍‍ She looks at the world around her in absolute wonder, exploring what interests her at a pace that she sets. And I’ll be damned if that will change when she turns five and someone decides she needs…

  • Preparing children for the ‘real world’

    We’re sometimes asked how we’ll prepare our children for the real world if they’re not going through the school system. My answer is always a question – what world, specifically, are you talking about? If it’s one with alarm clocks, a job you don’t like, a boss you don’t respect, colleagues you moan about, structure, routine, more structure, and the Sunday night blues…then no, we’re probably not doing a great job of preparing them to be ok with that. But if the world you’re talking about is one of creative freedom, individual expression, problem-solving, entrepreneurial spirit, collaboration and a relentless pursuit of meaning…our kids will be as prepared as they…

  • 12 parenting inevitabilities

    Let’s talk parenting inevitabilities, because frankly…they’re pretty much endless. Here are a few we’ve learned (🙈) over the years: 1) Even though it’s been 4 years since your youngest child was a baby, you’ll still find fresh spit-up on your clothes most days. Or, more accurately, your friends and/or work colleagues will find the spit-up. 2) If your child has a piece of toast in the car, they will drop it. If they don’t have a piece of toast, they’ll want one. If you run back inside to make them a piece of toast, they will drop it when you get back and hand it to them. (Pro-tip: just skip…

  • Why we’re choosing to homeschool

    If your home is anything like ours, your exhausted kids announce their arrival home from school with a jacket in your face, a pair of shoes flung across the room, and a backpack through a window. Stuff, tears and minor lacerations all over the show. A normal day. But then you spot the white corner of a school notice sticking from a school bag, and suddenly it’s not just a normal day. Parent-teacher interview times have been arranged. Your cheeks flush. Beads of sweat form above your eyes. Terror fills your heart, but you fight back control over dropping into the fetal position in front of your kids [again]. Maybe…