3 Misconceptions in Raising an Unschooled, Secular Child
by Jong Poblador
He turned 12 last June. He makes the best oatmeal cookies, talks to his imaginary friend named Fred, crazy hooked on Internet memes…and oh, he’s got long hair (way up to his waist!).
His name is Jad, he is un-schooled and raised secularly.
Jad is inquisitive, speaks his mind, curious about the world around him. You know, pretty much like any kid his age. People that he’d meet would be drawn to his precociousness and would ask me the question – ‘Where does he go to school?’ I would tell them – ‘Oh, he’s unschooled.’
There would be a few seconds of silence and I’d be met with either of these questions, with a look of horror on their faces:
- Unschooled? What’s that?
- Why would you not send your child to a regular school?
- ARE YOU CRAZY?!
And after this initial reaction, people would ask more questions – curious ones and ones that are slightly accusatory – ‘Your kid would reach his full potential if he’s placed in school’.
There are a lot, and I mean a LOT of misconceptions around unschooling AND in the secular way of raising kids. Let me briefly talk about the top three:
For me, it’s important for my kid to learn to be able to think and behave independently rather than knowing to stand still in a line or sit quietly on a chair for hours because they are being told to.
Misconception #1. Unschooled kids would have delays in learning.
Kids are curious creatures. given a warm, supportive environment they will learn; they will educate themselves. It is not the kind of learning you see in traditional schoolrooms. And because their learning is not through rote memorization, they see things holistically…all 3D. Everything for them is interconnected. And for me, this is the best kind of learning because long after the lesson is done, they would still remember the concept’s application.
Misconception #2. Unschooled kids would not know how to socialize.
Ha. Anyone who has spent time with unschooled children will surely find this untrue. Unschooled kids in reality meet more people and socialize more. They don’t have schools to attend so they are literally everywhere their young bodies (and mind) take them to! They’re not typically shy with adults and therefore get along with different types of people.
Misconception #3. Unschooled kids do not understand structure, thereby lacking discipline, drive, organization.
What is our definition of being “disciplined” by the way? Does it mean following everything we tell them to do? Are we raising kids or automatons? For me, it’s important for my kid to learn to be able to think and behave independently rather than knowing to stand still in a line or sit quietly on a chair for hours because they are being told to. I’d rather they understand their individuality before being part of a group.
There are more myths and misconceptions surrounding unschooling. True that unschooling may not be for every family. But seeing unschooling in an open perspective, an unschooled child has more opportunities for learning and educational time compared to a child who attends school in the four corners of a classroom building.