Been stuffing my head with the idea of homeschooling since last year.
Since the lockdown days in London, been looking for some alternative other than conventional school. Been eyeing some of well-known homeschool institution and even contacted few of them.
For some, homeschooling is moving the classroom at ordinary school to home or to other institution that provides the similar thing like school, inviting the teachers and learning take place as it is at school, only with more flexible schedule.
The more I read and see examples, especially the homeschool parents from other countries, it turns out that homeschooling is much bigger than that. Just like what we’re currently doing right now is one of the genre of homeschooling called UNSCHOOLING.
I was once first heard and learned about unschooling during master degree 10 years ago. At that time, the idea of this unschooling sounded so absurd. How come there were parents that allow their children to be out of school?
But as always, we judge what we don’t know.
Unschooling here means the children is not registered to any formal institution, whether it’s school or homeschool one. But, unschooling doesn’t mean not learning.
Unschooling means learning takes place in so many other form beside paper and pencil, desk and table, books and blackboard, behind any classroom wall, beyond any zoom call.
Learning in unschooling could happen in a form of conversation, playing lego, playing in the playground, baking a cake, going to grocery, watching other people, and so many things that don’t seem like the definition of learning that I used to know.
For someone who lives by the schedule and rule in certain part, this unschooling is liberating because the only schedule rules to follow are our own. We’re free to decide what we want to do, when, how, and the best part, we’re free to decide what we don’t want to do.
We stick for strict schedules when it comes to basics. For the basics, compulsory daily schedule is running 7 days a week. Which basics? We define our own basics. Things that we think are important to master, values that we hold dear and want her to carry.
In unschooling, learning could also happen in some places that are more useful for life skills or new experience like sending letter through post office, saving her own money in the bank, using ATM and shopping with her own card, going to library or park, being in charge for fruits picking and bring them to the counter to be weighed during our weekly grocery shopping.
Conversations also become an interesting medium for learning. Few times, the conversations we have during short drive to some place that give me some ideas about the lesson. The many ‘whys’ she asked, although sometimes it cause headache, some are quite thought-provoking.
It is liberating because during the pandemic, it eliminates the obligation to sit (boringly) facing the screen for zoom meeting, to attend something daily that might be not really interesting. To do some homeworks that has no useful purpose.
Have we tried? We have and after survived one and once, as long as we still have choice and can choose, making this little girl sitting for few hours listening to some talking, that would be the last thing we want to do. The precious time could be enjoyed better by playing outside, drawing, swimming, going to eat ice cream, skateboarding. Even playing those interesting and educational games she has on the tablet seems a better idea.
We have our offline classes twice a week for gym class and art class. We choose to do it privately and so far, it works well. The only online class she does is piano, which we have no choice other than that. But again, in piano, she has an offline teacher 7 days a week. That what makes online lesson acceptable.
Maybe, the last five months of unschooling fit the newly announced jargon from the ministry, ‘merdeka belajar’ well.
Initially, we’re doing this unschooling to fill the gap between months before new academic year starts in few months. But now, I slowly think that this could be an alternative IF , something might happen in ordinary school setting.
What kind of something?
Something that makes her excitement for learning, curiosity towards new things, and good attitude in studying dissapeared.
I want to try my best for her not to be part of this gloomy news from new released PISA report.
I am more than realized how much privileged we are to be able to write from this point of view.
Happy National Education day!