Sometimes things happen fast around here.
For years now, we've been dedicated unschoolers, basing our educational philosophy on the work of John Holt, Alfie Kohn, John Taylor Gatto, and Marshall Rosenberg. Unschooling has its challenges, of course, but we made the sacrifices necessary to accommodate them gladly, and everything went well. Sam reads way above grade level. Trin's knows science stuff that most adults don't know. The boys' friends trotted off to their various schools a week or two back, and it seemed we were all set for another year of homeschooling.
Then, last week, Kristin told me that she desired more structure in our lives, including in regards to their unschooling.
Be careful what you ask for. Desire is prayer.
Tuesday, I came home to find Kristin and the boys in deep discussion. Sam had asked to go to school.
Well, our intent in unschooling was to give the boys the best education we could, without coercion. We've told them from the start that they could go to school if they want to, but so far, they've resisted – particularly Trinidad, who did NOT enjoy Waldorf kindergarten. Not that we could afford private school, anyway.
Wednesday, I came home and before she even greeted me, Kristin said, "Come here, look at this!" and showed me the Family School website. It's one of our groovy local alternative public charter schools, and shares much of our educational philosophy: Multi-age classrooms. A cooperative, child-centered learning environment. A garden. Parents are integrated into the school, and can participate as much as they want. It's one of few local schools that composts its food waste. Of course, there are downsides, like the idiotic standardized testing they'll have to endure, and getting up early, but there are downsides to unschooling, too. Besides, as I mentioned, it's also one of our groovy schools that always has a long waiting list; the chances of getting in this year are slim, and the lottery for school choice ended way back in March or something and won't happen again until next year. Still, Kristin and I agreed that she should visit the school and check it out.
Thursday evening, as we sat down to dinner, my ears filled with the story of Kristin's and the boys' visit to the school. They liked what they saw. Even Trin wanted to go. The teachers had mentioned that they were looking to add a couple students, but didn't know what grade level they were looking for – they'd have to meet and decide. The discussion wandered to getting on the waiting list, and wondering how long it was, but both of us felt completely unworried. We both knew that if it was the right thing, they'd get in – if not, no way – regardless of evidence. Then the phone rang. Strange number, so we almost didn't answer, but at the last moment Kristin picked up the phone.
It was the head teacher at the Family School. They'd met. They offered the boys a spot. Both of them, different classes.
The boys start their new educational adventure Monday. My homeschooling co-worker is going to be shocked. Shocked! I thought back to my post from just a few weeks ago, and I laughed. "I have to blog about this!"
Nah. Just sliding along on the path of least resistance. No way is unschooling off the plate. Their educations are still in the boys' hands.
Because nobody can take responsibility for your education, except yourself.