Some thoughts on yesterday’s post and an open letter to my non-homeschooling friends.





Now and again I get a comment or an email acknowledging the vulnerability of putting myself out there as I do in this space. And every time I have the same reaction. "What? I put myself out there?"

Yes, I'm a little oblivious.

Because as I see it I'm just sharing what makes me tick, (and sometimes what makes me tic) without attachment to that being the same for you. I've always been different from most around me, so I never expected you all would resonate with every word. That would be strange to me.

So thank you for respecting the (perhaps radical) ideas that I throw your way here every few days.You are graceful and respectful and open and I am in deep appreciation for that.

I am also appreciate those of you who share my radical ideals and call me out when you think I might be slipping down a slope I don't intend to. For the unschoolers, yesterday's post was like that. 

Therefore, a bit of clarification…

Sage and Lupine are wabi sabi – perfect in their imperfection. Like all of us. I am not trying to fix them or change them or make them better than they are right now. I am instead seeing an ember of desire in my son and helping him to fan the flame.

We aren't really "doing school" (or long division). We're playing games with cards and wooden pennies. We're learning calligraphy. We're messing around with vinegar and pennies, salt and nails. We're painting peg people. We're making paper airplanes. We're dissolving the shell of an egg. (Oh yes. Yesterday was an outstanding day.) And we're also crunching some numbers and practicing our handwriting.

And I think there is balance in that.

None if it is delivered with the message of "you are not enough". Instead it is delivered with the message "you can do anything".

So yes, I do perceive some gaps in their knowledge, but no, I'm not fearful that those gaps are going to be detrimental to my child's success. What I really see is a readiness for knowledge and trepidation at taking that first step. I'm here to hold their hands and walk that path together. I am not going to push against resistance, just nudge them towards new challenges.

Okay. Thanks for listening.

With homeschooling in mind, I'm over on Simple Homeschool again today. I'm reaching out to those among us who have chosen to not homeschool. Many of my friends (and my family) and perhaps many of yours.

My post is here. I'm interested in hearing your thoughts (as homeschoolers or as friends of homeschoolers).

Love and gratitude,


17 thoughts on “Some thoughts on yesterday’s post and an open letter to my non-homeschooling friends.

  1. says:

    Hi! I haven’t commented before but I came across your blog a few weeks ago and have loved meeting your family and seeing how you live. I see many similarities with how I was brought up, even if on the surface my life was more ‘mainstream’!
    I’m really interested in the education side of things though, as although we don’t have children yet, my husband and I have already spoken about homeschooling in some way when we do. I think one of my reservations is what happens when the kids get older – what are your thoughts on the university/college issue? I wouldn’t force my kids to go to uni but I would want them to have the opportunity (my husband and I both have masters degrees)but obviously for that to happen they have to have gained recognised qualifications somewhere along the way. I know you’re a long way from that at the moment but I wondered what your thoughts are on that? (Oops, didn’t mean this to turn into an essay!)

  2. Kristina says:

    Part of guiding our children is recognizing when they need more, be it more structure or more freedom. I have tried for years to unschool. My boys just can’t take it. They need so much structure. Not just structure, but intense learning. If they don’t get it, they’re extremely grouchy. Over the years, I’ve to recognize that need within each child. And the need shows up in different ways in each of my children.

    For my oldest, it means he needs to finish learning the things he needs to get into the college of his choice. He wants to be an archaeologist, and this is non-negotiable. For my 11 year old, it means making sure he is constantly learning. He does best when he has both planned learning and free learning. For my youngest, that means inundating him with art, music, artists, musicians, acting opportunities, etc. They each need different things, and recognizing those things is one of the most wonderful things about parenting, and homeschooling, regardless of the “method” or non-method you choose.

  3. kara decarlo says:

    I don’t home school, but I also don’t believe that learning ends when the school bell rings. I fear that a great many parents forget to be their child’s “first, best teacher”; and believe that learning belongs in school.

    I love your blog because it inspires me to be more involved in my children’s learning in ways that I would never have thought up on my own.

    Thank you.

  4. Kendra Mitchell says:

    I was homeschooled/unschooled as were my brothers. At 16 or 17 we all went and took the GED which gave us a high school diploma. I went to community college and then started my family. I have one brother who went on to receive his masters from Purdue and another who is now completing his Emergency Medicine degree at the state school. The options are endless for higher education for homeschoolers. I now have my 3 kids at home and they will likely do the same(however, my 12 year-old has decided he wants to be a plumber and won’t need college for that if he follows through with that dream.)

  5. erica says:

    Another thought that occurs to me is how will they know what is available to them in the world/what they could love and embrace if it’s not shown to them? It’s so interesting, we started out very much as unschoolers and thoroughly enjoyed our lives of living and learning together. I think it’s ideal, especially for the first decade or so of their lives. THen as my eldest got older, she wanted more and I wanted more for her. I also think it coincided with some other issues you’ve been addressing on your blog, a sense of entitlement and always just being able to do what you want, and I wanted to address that increasingly unhealthy dynamic in our family. There were health issues and moving/loneliness issues as well, but luckily my growing dissatisfaction coincided with my eldest’s curiosity to try school and meet friends and see what that is all about. And she’s LOVING the challenges provided there, LOVES the structure, so far has LOVED her teacher and is aware that we’re open to changes over the years if that’s what she needs. But it does give me pause to wonder if some parents crave change when the kids start growing up beyond the first decade or so…… I also have come to peace with the idea that it can’t just be about what’s best for the child, but rather what everyone in the family needs/what works for the different personalities within a family unit. And that’s always a dance as everyone grows and changes. I enjoy hearing so many of your thoughts on the subject, thank you.

  6. Kristina says:

    Hi! I’m not Rachel, but I’ve got some insight into this one. The short answer is that it depends on the university. In the US, it is pretty straightforward for a homeschooler to get into university. Many universities like to see a few outside classes to show that the “grades” Mom gave are commiserate with the grades a different teacher would give. They like to see the same things in homeschooled children as they do in brick and mortar schooled children, mainly diversity and the ability to work hard.

    Hope that helps!

  7. Rachel Wolf says:

    I think you got yoru reply from Kendra and Kristina. (Thanks ladies!) Some schools (I’ve ready Ivy league in particular) cater to homeschooled children because of their internal motivation and their eagerness to learn, but who knows. I might be making that up. 🙂 I also believe more each day that college is in no way the only path for a person to follow. The truth is, I spent seven years working towards various degrees and I can think of many other wonderful ways to have invested that time. We have so many wonderful options. College is just one of them.

  8. Rachel Wolf says:

    That’s funny. When we were just beginning I had this misguided feeling that I had to allow him to discover everything on his own. And suddenly one day (just after our unschooling journey began) I realized how completely ridiculous that was. So glad your child’s transition has been positive. And yes. Always a dance…

  9. All in Stitches says:

    I find that it is so hard to put yourself out there but it is so good for people like us, who tend to not be in the mainstream, to find a sense of community in a way. Thank you for putting it out there and making me feel less “weird”. I really appreciate it.

  10. Jess says:

    I love the unschooling idea. The spontaneous, child-led learning just seems so natural. That said, I just looked up the homeschooling laws in my state (PA) and am so bummed to realize that we have some of the strictest laws in the nation and they make unschooling extremely difficult. I should’ve realized as I have my M.Ed in elementary ed (but not my PA certification) and getting that required tons of portfolio work and hoop jumping. Well, that just took the wind out of my sails 🙁 At least I have plenty of time to figure it out as my daughter is only 13 months. Anyway, I thought your post was wonderful. Teaching our children is a full-time job and should be taken quite seriously. I love reading all your posts and seeing the love, care, joy, and wonder you impart in your children’s education daily.

  11. says:

    Thanks for all your answers ladies! I think the uni system might work differently in the UK but like I said, I don’t really have to worry about that just yet – I was just curious how others saw it! Rachel – I agree completely that there are so many different options, but because both my husband and I went to uni and loved it (he’s studying for his PhD right now!) I would obviously want our children to have the option if they wanted it. Anyway, thanks 🙂

  12. Robyn says:

    I took the original post as you recognizing an area in your son where he might need a little parental nudge to reach his full potential. Not that you thought he needed fixing. Props to you, mama, for knowing what your child needs and acting accordingly, as always.

  13. angie says:

    We’ve all got to do what works for us I truly believe that. We do a bit of everything in our little home school, no one curriculum (though I do use several as guides) and lots of free time to explore what we chose. I did this year feel a need to be more “educational” as the kids are getting older…I overwhelmed us all this week and am having a bit of a laugh at it now.

Leave a Reply