You’re probably raising an eyebrow, especially if you know my daughter is two. Of course we didn’t go back to school. We’re not doing any kind of pre-school or daycare though, so we are not going “back to school” in that regard either. So what does “not-back-to-school” look like for us?
A question that comes up a lot in unschooling / freedom minded circles is: Would you let your child cut their own hair? What about washing or brushing it? If it is their body, doesn’t that mean that it is their choice? What if they don’t want their hair cut? Well I won’t say our family tends towards absolute and total freedom for children, or that my version of homeschooling is all unschooling (although it does include plenty of that)… but we do try to respect our children, respect the ideas that bodies and property belong to their owners, and make peaceful choices.
For a long time I wanted to let Miriam’s hair grow until she asked me to cut it. I thought, well, there’s a possiblity that she’ll never want to cut it and that should be her choice, not one that I make for her. I let it grow to about this length before I decided that wasn’t working for us:
Maybe you can see why, eh? Bangs in the face, in her eyes, alllll the time. I was a kid her age once, I had bangs, they grew long. I remember just how well you can see out of long bangs. That is, not well at all. Miriam absolutely refused to keep hair clips in, or let me do side pony tails, or anything other than a quick brush.
“But how will we socialize them?” , “I would homeschool, but I want them to have the socialization”, “Some of my fondest childhood memories are socializing at school”
How do we address socialization and homeschooling?
I must admit that the socialization question was one that I struggled with for a long time before I had children, and before I decided to homeschool. Now it is the most common question that I am asked by friends who don’t homeschool, or who are considering homeschooling.
In all the joys of living a homeschooling (and unschooling) lifestyle, there are a few inherent challenges. One such challenge is choosing an extracurricular activity, sport, or music class for your child that is a good fit. Some children by nature may not have this problem, and sometimes (for us at least) it was more of a case of me feeling uncomfortable with the way my daughter was being taught, than her expressing displeasure at the class.
We attended several parent and child classes, some of which were a good fit and others that were not. Through this process I learned what it was that I was looking for, and what I wanted to avoid. Here are some things I found that “turned me off” of an extracurricular activity:
Most homeschooling Moms, especially new ones, can attest to the fact that every once in awhile you get bit by the “curriculum bug” and suddenly feel like you should be doing more, planning more activities, having more structured learning time. Since I believe in parenting by instinct, but I also don’t believe in forcing a curriculum on a child, I respond to the urge to DO these activities by offering them to my daughter, and seeing where the learning takes us.