I wanted to share a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ moment with you all… Especially with those of you that have a hard time with family and their judgment about your chosen lifestyle in regards to unschooling and worldschooling.
3 years ago my then-11 yr old son and I made the jump into homeschooling. Unschooling to be specific. When our family found out, they were far from impressed. The typical questions arose:
What is unschooling? What about college? How’s he going to learn? What about his future?
Nevermind comments like ‘you’re being irresponsible’ and ‘you’re not doing your job as a parent’… Kind of hard to stay confident in your choices with feedback like that!
But what they didn’t know was that I had spent the previous 6 months researching the different kinds of homeschooling available to us. Pretty early on in that search I stumbled onto unschooling, and spent months pouring over studies, articles and blog posts, and asking questions in various facebook groups. So the decision to homeschool wasn’t a spur of the moment, quick fix decision. It was a calculated and educated choice, made with the best interests of Seth in mind.
Jumping Into Worldschooling
3 months after we started unschooling we made another huge, against-the-grain decision that was bound to not go over very well… We decided to sell our belongings, give up our rental, and hit the road to travel full-time.
6 months later, in June of 2015, we started our adventure (You can see our path so far HERE). The freedom we found was AMAZING!! It was clear very quickly that we had found something we’d both been looking for.
Unschooling proved to be a perfect fit for both of us. The lessons we’ve both learned have trumped anything we’ve ever learned in school (yes, I graduated high school!). We’ve toured more factories and museums than I can count, visited places that one usually only reads about, learned the specifics of currency conversion in multiple countries, and exercised ingenuity and resourcefulness in situations that many adults would have difficulty navigating.
We returned to our hometown for Christmas 2015, and again May & June 2016. Both times we stayed with my parents. We were asked frequently about anything from his schoolwork schedule to his marks, what he was learning, curriculum and school-ish activities. (None of which existed, since we’re unschoolers.) They complained frequently about the hours he keeps and the time he spent on the computer (he’s a gamer who is usually up until 2/3/4am and sleeps until noon).
What they didn’t realize was that with our new lifestyle shift, returning to our hometown was now the ‘vacation’ part of life. Our travels were full of stimulation and learning experiences, that when we returned to the ease of our ‘past life’, it was time to take a break and relax. Granted, this is a difficult concept to understand when our entire life appears to be a vacation ;).
Our New Life
We’ve spent 6 months of the last year living in Mexico, and have often heard remarks about the dangers, and have even been sent links to articles about various murders that have occurred there (lol, effective, I know). We’ve grown comfortable knowing our family will never visit us in Mexico, but we are hopeful that they’d eventually respect our choices, and recognize the positives in our lifestyle.
When we were faced with the decision whether to leave Mexico and return again for Christmas 2016, we were naturally hesitant and very much debated whether to even go back. Over the last year we have dove headfirst into unschooling, worldschooling, and life without limits, so we were apprehensive about how that was going to be received and potentially controlled.
Well, we decided to return.
In the 8 weeks we were there, my mom asked about schooling ONCE (actually looking for information, not passing judgement). Asked about our check in with our school board ONCE (again, conversationally, not judging). And they have said NOTHING about curriculum or schoolwork or marks! Seth hasn’t been told to wake up early, or go to bed early, or to do something ‘educational’. They are FINALLY starting to trust us to make our own choices, and allowing me to parent how I choose. I call that a win!!
AND my parents have booked a 10 day trip to our base in Mexico!!! They’ve rented a house for all of us, and are open to exploring our city!
It’s taken 2 years to get to this low level of acceptance, but it just shows me that it’s possible that one day they may actually UNDERSTAND us and our drive to explore.
If your family and/or friends are giving you a hard time, I hope you’re able to trust yourself and your own process, and step away from their critique. Know that you can find the support you need from many different facebook groups. And with any luck, one day they will cross over to show you support and understanding in your journey 💓💓💓