Friday, December 02, 2011

Home Education: Lifestyle Choice Not a Religion

by Beverley Paine

Home education - homeschooling, unschooling, radical unschooling, natural learning - is a lifestyle and educational choice not a religion extolling us all to simply believe or have faith or trust that all will be well if we follow the 'right' path as announced by enthusiastic individuals excited by their own experiences.

As a lifestyle, like any other, as parents we are required to actively think and reflect on our actions and decisions and respond accordingly to meet our changing needs and those of our situation, circumstance and environment.

Uncritically following a rigid 'this is the path, do not deviate or else' approach preached by popular or self-appointed gurus leads to disappointment after the initial period of euphoria passes.

Home educators are vulnerable to hard and soft selling techniques proclaiming that if they do this or that they and their children will be better off, experience more success, or more joy in their lives.

Never let someone who does not know you or family intimately tell you that your past or present parenting or educating practices are abusive simply because they do not match that person's idea of 'perfect'.

We are all on parenting journeys, learning all the time, exploring and experimenting, becoming gradually aware as we make many 'mistakes' and get it 'wrong' countless times working to meet our children's and our own needs and those of the community in which we live.

We are all amazing wonderful people working hard and conscientiously doing something that is not appreciated, understood or valued by our peers. Remember that and be strong. Find your own path and what works for you and your children. There is no 'right' or 'wrong' way: there is only learning.