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Our Decision to Unschool.

We started our 6th year of homeschooling this year and we have changed things up a little bit. Educating Emma has been a challenge from Day 1 and we have worked our way through so many different curriculums and ways of learning, so I made the decision late last year to unschool her this year. It has been one of the best decisions I could have made. 

One of the reasons we homeschool is to not have the anxiety, stress and pressure that comes with school. I didn’t want to fight children to do school, I wanted it to be a fun experience for us all. And with Jack and Kiara it worked out like that (ok so maybe fun isn’t the right word). But Emma likes to do things her way, and in this case, her way was the hard way. We have fought and fought. I have tried new curriculums, different ways of teaching – we have used books, worksheets, online, tablets and so much more. She hated it all. 

I kept waiting for her to “grow out of it” but towards the end of last year I realised she probably isn’t. I had to reevaluate and figure out our next steps. During this time, I started evaluating her behaviour – when does she get angry, why does she get upset, what does she enjoy etc. I firmly believe that she has ADD and SPD which obviously impacts how she learns and how she responds to learning. 

I took a complete step back and let her just do her own thing. It did involve a bit too much TV initially but now she goes to a cake decorating class once a week, has  a crochet tutor who spends 3 hours once a week with her working on various projects. I am also intentionally increasing the number of outings we go on. We had such a lovely trip to the JHB zoo earlier this month. 

 

Emma did come and ask me if we could do some school 2 weeks ago, so we started back again but no pressure, no fighting. If she is tired or the section is hard, we stop until she is ready. It is not conventional but it is working for us, for now. 

While Jack is still working through his math program, we have also changed his subjects and are focusing on things he enjoys more. He is doing a graphic design course and really getting into learning Canva. It is so nice to see him really passionate about something. We joined a paintball outing earlier in March which is going to become a monthly outing. It was a big group of boys his age and older. They had a great time and his team won one of the rounds. 

In my heart I knew years ago we needed to unschool with Emma but I struggled with the idea of just letting go. It took me a long time but I am at complete peace with our decision now and I know it is the best thing for all of us. 

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One Response

  1. Laura, your journey with Emma highlights the importance of flexibility and finding what works best for each child. Unschooling seems to have brought a sense of peace and fulfillment to your family’s homeschooling experience. Wishing you continued success on this unique educational path!

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