Are you happy with your choices?

A couple nights ago, we had a salesman at the house, giving us a presentation about a way to get greener energy for our home.   He was a nice guy, and he easily chit-chatted it up with us as well as with the kids as they wandered in and out of the room.  It wasn’t long before the fact that we homeschool was brought to light, and the usual, honestly curious questions followed:

Oh!  You homeschool, how does that work for you?

What made you decide to do it?

What kind of curriculum do you follow?

Do you do foreign languages?

How will they get into college?

And of course ….. wait for it …..  What about socialization?

One of the hardest questions for me is always WHY we chose homeschooling.   Not because I don’t have an answer, but because I have oh. so. many. answers.

People always want to know what it was that originally got us started on the homeschooling/unschooling journey, and I never know just what to say.  I tell them about reading John Holt for the first time, and how much it all resonated with me.  But why did I pick up the book in the first place?  I honestly don’t know.  What would perhaps be a better question is why do we continue to homeschool after all these years?   And that is something that I can answer, and answer easily.

Sure, I could wax on and on about theories of learning.  I could talk at length about parenting philosophies, and ways of honoring someone as an individual, and a right to freedom.  I could quote Holt and John Taylor Gatto.  I could cite studies, or point to a flawed school system, or give you an example (or ten or fifty seven) of how learning happens for each of my four kids.  I could, quite literally, write you a book.  But the concise and simple reason we continue to homeschool is this:

It continues to be the right choice for us.  It continues to be a choice that bring us happiness, and contentment, and peace.  It continues to be a choice that just feels right.

I am a big believer in trusting that God (or the universe, or whatever it is you believe in) will let us know whether a choice we’ve made is the right one or the wrong one.  Sometimes it’s in a subtle, quiet way;  one we have to be still and really listen for.  Other times its more of a “hit you over the head with an anvil like you’re a Looney Tunes character.”  Unschooling for us has always been the latter.  We are reminded DAILY that it’s the right choice, and rarely in a subtle fashion.

This year marks year 8 of Spencer’s being “school aged.”  While we knew we’d unschool right from the start (really, even before we knew it had a name), we didn’t have anything to officially opt out of until 8 years ago.  8 years, and we are still completely and blissfully and ridiculously happy with our decision…. so it’s a choice we continue to make.

I find it odd and somewhat confusing when people claim to be happy with their choices but act threatened or offended by those who’ve chosen differently… whether it’s educational choices, or parenting choices, or work choices.  I can never help but wonder if 1) those people are not as happy as they think they are, or 2) if they know deep down that they are unhappy but that they allow themselves to get angry and defensive because it’s easier than the alternative of facing the truth, or 3) if they really ARE as happy as they say they are, but for some reason view differing choices as a threat anyway (which really doesn’t make any logical sense to me)  If you’re truly happy and at peace with your own choices, why would anyone else’s choices matter?

The answer is:  They don’t.

Are you happy with the choices you’ve made, for yourself, and your kids, and your family?  And if you’re not, are you taking steps to change them?

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Filed under parenting, unschooling

14 Responses to Are you happy with your choices?

  1. Well, now I’m very confused. What I know of and the little I know about unschooling, the two are very different things……or so I thought??? Can you clarify for me? And not because I’m one of “those” skeptical-about-homeschooling people, but because we have been doing our own research about homeschooling and unschooling and my understanding was that unschooling follows no specific curriculum while K12 does.

    • jen

      I’m confused too. 🙂 I didn’t mention anything about K12? Did you see an ad for K12 maybe? Those ads are chosen by Google, not by me. And yes, K12 is a very structured curriculum, one that is used by “virtual” academies. It is a school at home program. We don’t use it. 🙂

      • OMG….yes, what a coincidence!! I DID see an ad for and it was right smack after where you stated “But the concise and simple reason we continue to homeschool is this:” and right before “It continues to be the right choice for us. ”

        So I thought you were saying that is the reason you continue to homeschool and that is the right choice for you. The internet gremlins could not have placed that ad in a better place if they’d tried!

        • jen

          Oh wow! Internet gremlins indeed. That is crazy. I don’t know why they show up in the middle of posts sometimes… they’re not supposed to do that. :p Sorry about the confusion!!

  2. Amy

    Yes, I am. It’s amazing how all families are made differently. What works for one doesn’t work for others. For now things are just the way they are supposed to be for us. If I feel that changing, we will too.

    When people as why I married my husband, I honestly can’t say. But I can give a lot of reasons why I stay married to him. 🙂

  3. Jess

    Jen, you say it all so well. I could just send everyone from my blog to yours and my job would be done! HAHA! And, YES I am very content and happy with our life choices. Thanks for getting me to think about them again.
    You rock!

  4. As a new homeschooler, I’m never sure how to answer the question, “why did you decide to homeschool”? I should just stick with something simple like, “it works for us” but I find myself feeling like I need to defend it, even though I shouldn’t. Like I think what if I’m the only homeschooling parent they’ve ever encountered and I represent homeschooling poorly? Ugh. (Although sometimes a snarky part of me wants to retort back, “why do YOU send your kids to public school?”)

    • jen

      When my oldest was younger, I often felt the same way. It gets much much easier the longer you homeschool and the more confidence you get. And I think a simple “It works for us,” is a great answer 🙂 Although, I think turning it around and asking them why they send their kids to school could sometimes be appropriate too. 😉 I think most people honestly don’t even realize that it’s a CHOICE that they’re making to send their kids to school…. they’re just doing it because it’s what most people do, and don’t really give it a second thought.

  5. Upon sharing plans to have a natural, un-medicated home-birth, people would widen their eyes and sort of say, “Congratulations?” through their teeth. Most of our family was supportive. A lot of people would laugh or just look at us like freaks-of-nature, which to most 20-somethings we were.

    “Home-birth? No meds? You are a brave woman.”

    “Well, there will come a point where you will NEED drugs.”

    “Who’s going to tell you when to push?”

    “What if you tear [down there]?”

    “Are you going to make soup out of the placenta when you pop the baby out?”

    Brave? Women who have hospital births are brave! I have researched many of the risks of hospital births. I’m not saying that one kind of natural birth is better than the other, but home-birth was the best choice for us.

    Drugs? I quit those years ago and there is no way I would willingly introduce them to my unborn (or born for that matter)! Knowing that this was going to happen naturally allowed me to focus inwardly and connect completely and consciously.

    Tell me what? Who’s body is in labor? Who feels that baby moving down? This woman. I don’t know everything, but I do know that my body was designed for bearing and birthing babies. My midwife, more like a “mid-sister,” was a guiding support. She never spoke above a tender whisper. Her words were for encouragement. She believed in me. She didn’t “check” my progress. She watched me progress. I can’t imagine having a total stranger poking, prodding, and probing my parts and then having them boss me. No way, José.

    Tearing? I was certain I was going to be having a water-birth, so the hot pool water would help soften the skin in my nether regions! During labor, I planned on being hands on so I could assist my body in stretching during pushes. I had not even one abrasion. To think, the docs cut that flexible skin as if it was in the way.

    Placenta soup? A fellow home-birther buried the placenta under her orange tree and the following spring it bore fruit. She delightfully peeled the orange and bit into it, then spit it out straight away. She has never eaten another “placenta orange” since. Not that we considered saving the afterbirth, but I enjoyed telling this story when the question arose.

    Home-birth isn’t the best choice for everyone, but it was absolutely right for us. My husband and I trusted the Intelligent design of my body to know exactly what to do and I would just flow with it. And I’m so glad I did!

  6. Jules

    As someone with two young kids (the oldest being 3), feeling compelled to choose no school for them, and mentioning that we are considering it, and getting a ‘what the heck are you considering that for, you will ruin their lives, it’s not good for them.’ Thanks so much 🙂 I do not feel confident in my decision, as I haven’t been able to make it yet, I guess, but also because I don’t have the experience or confidence to know what I am talking about… yet! Would you be able to recommend and books or sources to get me started?

  7. Being surrounded by so many, skeptical about the radical unschooling lifestyle that we choose to live because it works for us right now. I get alot of those questions too! A young guy, he is 11 i think, goes to school and he asked me how my son will ever ever get to experience Recess! He also asked how he would swap lunch with someone if I gave him food he didn’t like! (why would i give him anything he didnt like?) and also asked me how he will be socialized. Even a young boy, knows that he is expected to be well socialised to get anywhere in this world!
    I love the choices we get to make, and the wonderfulness of not living in a world of “have to’s”

    love your blog <3