We are in the last few weeks of summer, the month that takes us into the crispness of fall and for the majority of kids, it’s back to school time. This month our family will celebrate the Autumn Equinox and we will be bringing out those boxes of Halloween decorations.
September is the start of a new school year for the majority of families with kids.
For those of us who don’t school, this time of year makes it more obvious that we aren’t doing what the majority are and pre-COVID times, we would be taking advantage of the less crowded museums and parks.
Maybe us homeschoolers are wondering if we should be making one of those chalkboard signs that are so popular on social media and maybe we are wondering if our kids are missing out on anything.
Why We Celebrate Not Back To School?
Because we can!
We aren’t doing what the societal norm is and it’s fun to celebrate it.
I am so grateful not to have school in our lives. I want to bask in the freedom of unschooling all the time, but why not make a point of doing it this day, this week that most kids are in school?
I love that our kids can ride bikes in the morning or in the afternoon or at dark o’clock, it’s wonderful to see them choose what they want to do. I am so happy that my child can choose to create with paints and markers and clay all day long, or create structures to balance on and try out jumps and flips.
The first day the kids go back to school here, will be a regular day for us, choosing to do whatever sparks our interest. We might watch a show together or bake something out of the kids’ cookbook, maybe we’ll go for a walk on a trail or make a blanket fort and read the pile of library books.
Our children have never been in school and they don’t have the feelings of missing out on anything.
For us parents, it’s definitely fun to embrace Not Back To School and to celebrate it for our own selves.
We aren’t in the norm and I don’t want to be and I want to delight in what my kids are doing and how they are learning and in the freedom unschooling brings to us.
If you are a new homeschooler, maybe you are feeling nervous or giddy or relieved or unsure or wondering what you’ve just done, it’s okay to feel whatever you are feeling and it’s okay to celebrate Not Back To School, in whatever way that speaks to you. Go for ice cream, make it an official pyjama day, go park-hopping, take lots of pictures and videos and breathe, you got this! Celebrating your kids being at home is a beautiful thing. If you want to make one of those chalkboard signs, go ahead.
Unschooling In Our Home
One of the reasons why I like the term “unschooling” is because it has un’d the “school” out of “home”.
Not sending your kids to school, doesn’t mean to re-create school in your home and as unschoolers, that idea is totally unfathomable.
But our home is at the heart of our unschooling.
Someone once asked me, “Are you afraid by keeping your kids home, they are never going to leave?”
It made me laugh.
On occasion, I may wish our home was bigger, with more storage space and outdoor space and more rooms.
But our home is stable.
And our children love their home.
Our home has manifestations of love and warmth throughout and our home is filled with all the things my children want and need to support their learning and exploring and comfy spots they can hang out in when they just want to chill.
Our home is safe.
Absolutely, that’s one of the things I am most grateful for when it comes to unschooling: I know our kids are safe, every day. They are physically and emotionally safe.
If one day, they choose not to leave the nest and linger a little longer than most, I’m okay with that.
I’m okay with that, but I will wonder why: Is there a barrier that I am unaware of? Would them being outside of the home be unsafe for them in any way? Would doing it on their own at this point in time), serve any benefit?
I think when we look to our teens and young adults, those questions are often overlooked and safety is more than just one area, financial safety matters to me and if my kids being at home ensures their financial safety, then yes, I am perfectly okay with it.
I think it is the idea of separation that is perpetuated by school culture that gives support to the notion that our kids at a certain age, have to do it on their own.
Shoo, shoo, out the door you go.
I want my kids to always know, they don’t have to do it on their own and home is always here for them.
This Year’s Goals …
For my kids, leaving home is far in the future but it’s certainly something that is brought up a lot with those first day of school sentiments. I have noticed for a lot of homeschoolers, September seems to be the month of goal setting or planning, a lot of “this year our goal is to learn about…” posts have made it into my timelines.
As an unschooler, I don’t have goals for what my kids are going to learn this year, I am not attached to learning outcomes.
Maybe they will learn to read this year or learn to write their names, maybe it’ll be next year. Maybe they will get that scooter trick down or maybe it’ll happen next summer, maybe they’ll develop a love for insects or maybe they’ll want to learn about Pairs.
My only set in stone goal as an unschooler is the connection.
Are my children feeling connected to me, on this day, in this moment? And if we are off on this day, how can I change that? If we all woke up grumpy and out of sorts, what can I do to change the trajectory of this day? Where are the unmet needs and how can we fill them?
While I do take a look around our home and go through our art supplies to see what news to be replaced and clean up the shelves of materials and sort through the toys, to see what I can add or if there is anything the kids are ready to part with, the guiding goal of every day is how connected we are to each other and how in harmony we are feeling on that day, because that is the springboard of all the learning, the exploring, the creating, the delighting, the joy that our home is filled with.
And that is so worth celebrating with blueberry pancakes and ice cream and a picnic in the park.