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  • Our children should be shaping their own future

    We spend so much of a child’s first 18 years making sure they’re proficient in everything we’ve decided they’ll need in life that we don’t hear them when they try and tell us what they want. And, thus, what they’ll actually need. Kids have interests, passions, hopes and dreams…and if we listen in we’ll realise they’re actually pretty serious about them from quite early on. But when the good-grade pressure kicks in the dreams often start gathering dust, and then…well…someone else starts shaping new ones for us. Usually, dreams that are more ‘practical’ and ‘sensible’. We don’t really even know it’s happening until we look back later in life, reminiscing…

  • Thank goodness Albert Einstein wasn’t unschooled!

    “Albert Einstein went through the school system, and the rest is history. Can you imagine how different the story might have been if his parents had kept him at home and tried to teach him advanced mathematics? The idea is crazy…the world may never have seen his genius. Sure, most kids aren’t Albert Einstein – but parents can’t really teach what their children will need when they get start getting older.” Here are some tidbits on Einstein: 💡 He did indeed attend school. 💡 He hated the experience – he clashed with authority, and stated that he felt the spirit of learning and creative thought wasn’t possible in a rote-oriented schooling environment.…

  • You will make mistakes, you will have regrets, and you will be ok

    You will make mistakes. You will have regrets. You will question yourself. You will drop the ball. You will blame yourself. You will surprise yourself. You will be stronger than you ever thought possible. You will have wins. You will have days where everything comes easy. You will have days where everything feels impossible. You will cry, maybe as much as you will laugh. All those things are normal. All those things are ok. There’s no manual for this parenting thing. Be kind to yourselves, be kind to each other 💙

  • Helping our children embrace failure

    Imagine a child or teenager running home and proudly announcing to their parents that they’d failed a test that day. Silly thought, of course. From early in life we’re taught that failing is bad, the consequences unpleasant. Failure quickly becomes intrinsically linked to our sense of self-worth – so much so that we’ll actively avoid even the chance of failing (and even blame others when we do) right into adulthood. On the flip side, not failing becomes a primary data point of progress. But there are powerful learning opportunities on the other side of failure. If we’re reflective, analytical, confident, relaxed and free from judgement, we will learn from our…

  • We need to take off our busy badge

    There was a time when being busy was a badge worn with pride – a way to show the world we were contributing and achieving because we were doing things… By the time we realised how much it was impacting our lives, it was almost too late – it had become an epidemic. Working overtime was respected more than producing results. Being last to leave the office five nights straight was an achievement. Leaving early to watch your kid play sport…aren’t you committed to your job? I know a lot of people trying to fight that now. And it is a fight – many of us are so conditioned to…

  • Our children spend over 14,000 hours in a classroom

    Back when our kids were in school our eldest son – a gentle, caring soul – gave his mum a much tighter hug than he normally would when he got home one day. With slightly teary eyes he said: “Mummy, my teacher…I think she was trying to be nice because I was lonely at lunchtime…she said I didn’t have to worry because she was a bit like my mum now…I’m with her more than you, even, and she would look after me…and I guess that’s nice, but…I want to be with you more!” After fixing the teary eyes with a mummy-made hot chocolate, we reflected: Taking out any pre-school care time,…

  • The real world is not neatly divided into subjects

    It is not black and white, compartmentalised.  Every concept, thing and person in this world is connected, related, intertwined, blended with something or someone else. To remove a piece of that, to silo a concept, to study it in isolation from what it naturally wants to connect to, does a disservice to both the thing itself and the studier of it. Why? Because important context sits outside that silo. The learning becomes disconnected, and so the learner becomes disconnected. Not from the subject – they may even master it – but from how it connects and fits with the real world. Over time that learner accepts the compartmentalising. No, they…

  • When you want your unschooled kids to outperform their public schooled peers

    Ok, real talk: as an unschooling dad I find myself willing my children to outperform their school peers in things, despite believing the measures are pretty much irrelevant. Not all the time, but the feeling bubbles up now and then.  To prove to others that the road we’re taking works? To prove that…to myself? A blend of those things, I think. Sometimes the feeling scares me. But then the road less travelled usually is a bit scary. We’re explorers charting new territory – that’s kind of the point.  I just need to keep telling myself: The measures are irrelevant. The comparisons are meaningless. Age should not define an academic standard.…

  • Will unschooling my child narrow their career options as an adult?

    Parents want the best for their kids, so while unschooling seems nice through childhood many of us worry about the impact such a path will have on their future adult career options. How will they stack up against their schooled peers in adulthood? Will a university degree be required for the thing they really want to pursue? Will employers give them a shot without formal schooling behind them? A dozen other questions along these lines fill us with worry. I boil all these down to one question: will unschooling my child narrow their career options as an adult? And the answer is not what you’ll expect, because it’s yes. I’m going to…