Society has such little faith in our children. It seems if we are not there to guide, monitor and control them then they will make awful decisions.
One of the most common responses to us unschooling is…
But won’t they just:
- play video games all day?
- watch TV all day?
- not do any real work?
- be lazy and not get any exercise?
- eat junk food all the time?
- be rude?
- be unhelpful?
- not learn a thing?
- not be able to cope in the real world?
- etc, etc, etc.
As we dive deeper and deeper into the world of freedom and unschooling I can’t help but feel that the lack of trust we have in our children making (good) decisions is a huge problem with society.
Why do we not have faith in our children to become good and well educated people of the future?
Why do we feel we have to control every aspect of their lives for them to become respected and educated citizens? A typical child’s life, until they are around 18, generally involves others or the system making decisions for them.
It’s almost like we see children as a different species.
In our world of unschooling (note that each unschooler does things differently) we give our kids more freedom than most. And the more we unschool, the more we realise that a huge part of their education is us all having discussions together and working as a team.
We all have a role to play. We are all part of a team. And we all make a difference. The more we work together in an unschooling way, the more the kids see the value they can bring to us and their community.
The reality is that they mostly don’t need teachers to teach them stuff. They just have to want to do things. So we talk about alot of stuff that they are interested in, could be interested in and in a way that will encourage them to see the value in learning new skills. We open their minds to the possibilities that are out there.
We encourage them to try different things too. They don’t have to stick with everything they try, but opening their minds to new things is important…we believe.
When they want to learn something, it happens remarkably quickly often without much help from us. If they are genuinely not interested, then we drop it.
Sure, sometimes they have lazy days. Sometimes they eat junk. Sometimes they have alot of screen time. Sometimes they snap at us or can be rude. But to be honest, don’t adults do that too? And us adults do, what’s the big deal? We are not seeking perfection.
The more we unschool, the more we see the kids doing stuff and pestering us adults to help them achieve things they want to do. They are not sitting on their lazy arses watching life pass them by. They are proactive. If anything, they are getting us up and about doing more stuff.
My eldest is particularly driven at the moment. He has written down his goals for the year. There are 11. Most of the things he gets on and does himself. Though some activities (like cooking and maths) he often needs help, and boy does he get on my case to help him get through his schedule (that he has created) for the day. We have not asked him to do any of this.
So, will they just play video games all day? No.
Perhaps people should realise the influence they have on children and start raising their expectations and trust in them.
Believe in the kids of the future and they will surprise you in many ways!