I watched a video on Facebook this morning and like many others it successfully created a flurry of desperate commenting.
Sunrise has put up a poll on whether unschooling is good for children. The accompanying video is 2.31 minutes. In that 2.31 minutes it succeeds at creating a destructive drama amongst parents, educators and those out of the loop but with an opinion. The people that disagree attack, those that agree defend and they turn on each other; the commenting flooded by fear and powerlessness.
This is not surprising at all; we see it over and over again on social media. I choose not to join the comments because really, where do you start?
So why do I care?
Well, my children are one of my greatest passions and I am moved beyond laughing it off when they are discussed like they are things, products on a shelf. We fight about what is good for them, but the discussions are not about them at all. They are about us; our fear, our incessant need to be in control and to be right! We fight from a place that lacks openness and any real understanding. We judge, we criticize and we take everything personally.
We remain divided. It just becomes another thing we fight about and nothing changes. The most devastating outcome of this is that our children bare the brunt of it all; they are the ones who suffer while we beat our chests! That is where I say, it’s NOT okay!!!
So if I were to comment, what would I say?
- Firstly, to Sunrise… what is the purpose of this poll? Is it something you actually care about? Is it put up to create drama and improve ratings or could it be something more than that? Would you be able to use your position to inspire real change, to unite rather than divide?
- Secondly, the education system does need to change. I think we can all agree on that. Change is an inevitable part of life, everything changes and moves with time, that’s what keeps us alive. I believe that it is not true that 80 – 90% of children do ‘fine’. I would say that probably 10% do okay. But is that what education is all about? To survive it? To be okay? To turn out fine? No it’s not! I believe it is so much more than that! Why are we so afraid to change it?
- If any real change is to happen, we have to believe that we have options. We have to understand that by limiting our choices to ‘one right way’ we limit ourselves and we give our children a ball and chain. I myself have unschooled my children for 3 years, there is so much about it that I love. I was, however, so attached to it being the ‘only’ and the ‘right way’ that it ended up not serving any of us. For me I believe it takes a village to raise a child but what are my options? Who do I have? I do not think I am alone in the homeschooling community. I am not alone in needing something external to me to support the learning and growing of my children. Unfortunately, the school system is not delivering! If I remain bitter and believe that I am powerless in changing it, where does that leave my children?
- When discussing our children and their education we have to understand that it is about them, not us. Now this carries with it something else that scares us, that they are human beings in their own right with the abundance of human potential at their fingertips. Children have everything they need to be who they are destined to be. They do not need us controlling them or telling them what to do. They need us to empower, trust and support them in their own journey to growing up and finding their place in the world. We need to remember how capable they are and how they learn with so much gusto, natural ability and ease if allowed to do so. We have to be brave enough and conscious enough to revisit our own beliefs about children, childhood and learning.
- We are preparing our children for a future that lies way beyond our own comprehension, a world that is challenging, dynamic and forever changing. We are preparing them for a world of limitless possibility. We have to stop being so frightened of letting go, of making changes to education and the ways we parent. We have nothing to fear by giving our children the freedom to choose their own path in life. We must be humble enough to acknowledge that our fear comes about because we don’t trust ourselves; it’s not about them or their capacity.
- We talk about discipline, structure, routine and conformity. These things seem to be the building blocks of the education system and appear to be the things we are most scared of losing. Why do we think they are so important? Well, because these are the things that make our children controllable. Again, this is about us, NOT THEM. The truth is, giving children respect, freedom and the ability to choose has NOTHING to do with discipline or the lack there of.
Mostly, I would love the dialogue about education to be going somewhere. I would love for us to be kind even if we disagree and I would love us to be open to changes that could essentially set us all free!!!