Unschooling – Our Genesis
“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” ~Seneca
As we started our trip, I had no idea such a thing called ‘unschooling‘ even existed. However I noticed Miro was talking about the things we wrap into neat packages within the formal educational system such as geography, sociology, history, economics, mythology, language and second language, literature, math, science within the context of our travels. I sat back one night and realized how brilliant the idea of having the world teach my son was! Engage in life and learning happens. (And learning doesn’t stop mysteriously when you become an adult.)
The best plans are meant to be changed.
Our original plan was to travel for one year, then find someplace to settle into and start back on the treadmill of a respectable life. I had no problems opting for ‘worldschooling’ for one year, saw the tremendous benefits, didn’t even need convincing. Of course, it was an easy concept to buy into with the understanding that my son, Miro would at some point, re-enter the traditional education system. I had also bought into the idea that this was necessary and eventually, both my son and myself would have to re-assimilate back into a conventional paradigm. One year was a respectable time frame. Longer than that would be ‘radical’. So that was the initial plan, anyway.
I knew like I’d take my next breath the absolute value of traveling as education. Who could argue with the benefits of world providing an education? Travel, culture, history, geography, language, humanity and more. And all of this in the context of experience and as we all know, ‘experiencing’ is the most powerful way of learning.
I had bought into the idea even before I ever heard the term ‘unschooling’ or ‘world schooling’. Before we left I knew without a doubt that traveling had intrinsic benefits and the experiences would provide an education onto itself. I wrote this prior to our trip, over two years ago:
“What about school? What about 5th grade?
Take a year and gain valuable life experience, learn a language, travel through many countries, work on sustainable farms, learn about ecology, volunteer time and energy to make a difference, participate in new cultures, be empowered to make decisions, learn geography, navigation, budgeting, independence and respect. What does 5th grade have to offer in comparison? Nada.”
Since the time of writing that, we’ve revised our plan to travel until Miro is 18 years old and have no doubt this is the best educational choice I could offer to my child.
After seeing Miro blossom over the last year, I am confident ‘unschooling‘ is our best long term solution for his education. Together we’ve become confident in what we can achieve together and learning through traveling is definitely our mode of choice.
I am educating myself too. I have learned from connecting with other parents, some traveling, so not. I have learned from the numerous web sites available to help educate parents, to benefits of child led education. I have learned by asking questions and keeping an open mind. I have also learned to absorb all of this new information and be open to adjusted my role in Miro’s life. I have learned to listen more acutely. I have learned to take the lead from his interests. I have learned to seek opportunities that involve us both to further learning within our immediate location. I have learned to drop the preconceived notions of what he should be doing and allow Miro to be the guide via his interests. I have learned to be more communicative with my support and encouragement. And most of all, trusting the process. He is learning and we are sharing the experience. I couldn’t think of a more important role to take in this wonderful world of ours.
As a result of my unschooling education, I am growing as Miro teaches me how to be a better and more effective parent in the process. And I’m not surprised at all, that by virtue of all of these things, I have become more involved in his education since he’s left the traditional school environment. I have consciously become more present with my child in the world and more present with his choices.