“(Not) Back to School” Season Once Again
Hello Wonderful ASDE Community!
It’s Janice here! I’m writing the August newsletter while our Executive Director, Bria, is on maternity leave. Whew! The summer sure seemed like it sped by at a snail’s pace (or was that just me?). 😅
We are in full “(Not) Back to School” season, which can bring a lot of doubts to even the most seasoned unschoolers. I remember early on in my family’s SDE journey, this time of year was always especially hard. Are we doing the right thing? Is this still what we want? To answer those questions, I spent a lot of time talking to my children, reading everything I could get my hands on related to unschooling and deschooling. Learning and unlearning. Looking at the world, my children, and even myself, differently. I talked to people who had been doing it for years. Hearing their experiences reminded me of what I hoped to get out of our unschooling experience. But the one thing that kept us committed was that it felt right to our family.
Without school, we had to be more intentional about:
- Finding a supportive community, even an online one, especially when the people around us were all headed back to school. Check out My Reflection Matters or The Unschool Files Discord Community if you’re still looking for support.
- Finding alone time for those of us who wanted and needed that.
- Finding resources that fit our values. Check out ASDE’s Resource Directory and Tipping Points Online Magazine for two good places to start looking for your own.
- Finding a lot of different experiences.
- Figuring out how to work toward meeting everyone’s needs. The “Decolonizing Non-Violent Communication” Workbook really helped me with this.
For those of you with children that chose to attend school, or for whom withdrawing from school is not an option, you can work to decenter schoolish metrics of success in your home, just like Nikolai Pizarro talks about on her Instagram account @raisingreaders. I’ve found her posts to be really useful in helping me question all the ways that “schoolishness” shows up in our lives, even though my kids don’t go to school. One of her main messages is that even if you’re unable to homeschool, anyone can decenter school “to center humanity, connection, & real learning.”
Several years into our SDE journey, after I spent so much time and energy worrying that my children would be different than their conventional schooled peers, it hit me: I didn’t need to worry about that anymore. My children were going to be different because we were doing something different. And that was the whole point.
We want to hear from you: In the past, what’s helped ease your fears? What keeps your family committed to SDE year after year?
Janice McDonald and the ASDE Organizing Team
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