Friday, August 25, 2006

No school? Why?

At the park on Wednesday, another Catholic homeschooler and I and a group of children ( ours and those of friends) went for a long walk.

My friend is a structured homeschooler. We are pretty loose and relaxed with our unschooling style.

But we both talked about why we choose to live without school.

Now, this post is not a tirade against schools.

It is, however, a post on

We live without school because we can.

We can take time to pursue interests. To build relationships. To just take time.

We can hang out in the wider community - life and learning and the adult world are not separate entities for my sons.

Are the children learning? Do they know their Faith?

More importantly, to me, - is their learning and their experience and knowledge of the Faith living ? Real?

My children, like me, are far from perfect.

Some positive things that we do share, though, are a love of music, of books, of movies.

We enjoy talking about these things.

We pray together. We go to Mass and to Confession together.

And, for the most part, we enjoy hanging out together.

Dh comes home not to angst filled evenings of homework but to family time.

School encroaches on a child's time - even after school hours are filled with homework. When does the family gather time to really know each other, to become friends?

This aspect of family life is so much easier and natural with homeschooling. Families with children in school can and do have super family relationships , I know - and homeschoolers are not immune to difficulties and problems - but family relationship in the long term seems to be more easily built via homeschooling.

And specifically by the experience of mindful parenting and unschooling.

Perhaps it is this idea of family relationship that really describes why we live without school.

We live without school for the family's sake.


Luke said...

I would be inclined to agree with the general thrust that homeschooling offers more time for the family to spend together, which makes relationships that much easier to maintain.

First, philosophically - I've always been a believer in the mediaeval doctrine that affinity/affection/whatever is bred more by doing than by anything else. An example would be the story of the university scholar who sought help from a churchman (whose name I've most shamefully forgotten now!) because, he said, "I have no faith - I cannot believe." The abbe's advice was to pray. Amusing, in its way, but I do think it highlights a valuable point - you develop a positive relationship with your family (and everyone else, for that matter) by living and acting that relationship. This would also be similar to the thesis of books such as the 7 Habits series - I can create these interactions by my own choice and action.

Anyway, after that digression... :)

My own general life experience certainly supports this principle - it's hard to spend time doing enjoyable things with people without getting to like them; it's also harder to maintain these connections if you don't use them.

Finally, I do think that homeschooling afforded me the time and opportunity to develop good relationships with the rest of my family. While we still have our disagreements etc, we've got a sufficient relationship foundation to deal with the usual small irritations without too much trouble.

I'm not sure if I would have had the same time or opportunity if I had gone to school - my school-going friends certainly seemed to have less time available than I did!


Cindy said...

Lovely comment, Luke. :)

(and nice, post, Leonie. I read it for a minute thinking it was my blog as I recently changed my template to a similar font) and then realized it was you!

But it was very encouraging.

Leonie said...

Luke - yes - we become what we do. How we pray. How we worship.

Like thios with whom we spend time.

I love hearing your thoughts as an adult homeschooler. :-)

Cindy - are you back to blogging?? I am off to check!

Leonie said...

Above should read - we become like those with whom we spend our time. :-)

Cindy said...

HI Leonie...

Well I have been on my Journey blog as of late. It is my 'stream of consciencness" blog, so don't expect too much coherency! Dog days is still on break.

And it give me time to check in with my friends' blogs.. like yours. :)

Ladybugs said...

I like your posts Leonie and Luke. It's nice to "hear" from a grown man who's family adopted the lifestyle of living and learning that I like!