Back to Unschool

Originally posted in September 2013.

There is no first day of school. Back to unschool. | Clean.

There is no first day of school. Back to unschool. | Clean.

There is no first day of school. Back to unschool. | Clean.

These shall be our "first day of…" photos for the year.

The first day of school is always an interesting day for me as a homeschooler. Especially as an unschooler.

My facebook feed is a parade of back-to-school smiles from kids I know well and kids I don't know well.

From coast to coast and beyond.

Back! To! School!

And it's exciting. And beautiful. And I get butterflies in my own tummy for those little ones off on this grand adventure, many for the first time.

But over here, it's just Tuesday.

There is no school to get back to. No photos to take of us lined up at the bus stop.

Just us. In our jammies. Making tea and doughnuts.

If I'm being honest it's a little bittersweet.

Because I'm actually someone who had a pretty great public school experience growing up.

And so somehow I'm hardwired to the rhythm of September and "back-to-school".

The new notebooks and pencils, the I-hope-I-like-my-teacher jitters, the backpack and the lunchbox, the I-hope-my-best-friend-is-in-my-class longing, the big bus rumbling down my street.

And for my kids that all so foreign.

It's something they've heard about from their friends and read about in books. But it's not their thing.

Their lives have very much remained unchanged since they arrived. It's our life and our life learning, day after day.

So there's no "first day of 6th grade".

There are no grades at all.

(I actually just had to do the math to determine what grades my kids would be in where they going to school. First and Sixth as it turns out.)

And August and September aren't really so different from one another except that the tomatoes are coming in.

And I love that. With my whole heart. I count it on my very short list of blessings each day.

But like any parent, I want to make the best choices for my kids.

And so my shadow self whispers in my ear, "Are you sure? Are you totally sure of this path? Because everyone else is doing something different."

And I'm thankful for that dark little voice.

Because I hear it. I dig in. I ask questions. I roll the idea around in my head.

What would it be like if we made a different choice?

Because personally I don't think school is bad or judge anyone for their choice to send their kids there.

It can be a wonderful experience! Just as homeschooling can.

But it has to be a fit.

And so I hear that little voice, year after year, and then I always remember what brought me to this path.

I look at my kids and I ask myself, "Are they thriving? Are they learning? Are they on fire and loving life most every day?"

Heck yes.

I truly can't imagine how we could be happier.

And so we begin another day. Another season. Another year.


At home.


And as I am each September, I'm so thankful for today.


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3 thoughts on “Back to Unschool

  1. Mary C. says:

    I have a question about un-schooling. I think its an interesting idea, but am wondering about how it works. For example, do you ever introduce topics of interest to the kids? My understanding of un-schooling is that they go study what they want to study, but how do you insure that they are exposed to lots of different subjects, concepts and ideas. For example, if they never knew Shakespeare existed, they wouldn’t have the opportunity to be interested in studying his works. Also, we Waldorf school, and one of the things I value greatly is that each year all of the students perform in plays and orchestras. Do your children have the opportunity to be a part of community performances like that?

    Just curious – thanks for answering.

  2. Jeanette says:

    Oh how I understand this! The bittersweet moments but also looking at my children and knowing what an extraordinary life they are living. One that would not have been possible if they were attending “school”. Today we helped deliver our very first baby goats…4 of them. That mama did well and my children helped and oversaw and loved every second of it! I also watched a few days ago as my news feed filled up with pictures of little ones in new clothes and haircuts and back backs full of supplies and just like every year I questioned myself….but only for a moment. If I stop and look back at what we have seen, what we have done…I know we are on the right path!

  3. Jamie B. says:

    Do you belong to a homeschool group in the driftless area? Our Internet searches have come up short. We might move into the area. Thank you.

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