If many people had not heard the word…neurodivergent…then fewer still have heard the words…
Or even the more common terminology…Radical Unschooling. Or indeed unschooling.
What then is RadiCool Unschooling?
Honestly, it is a phrase that I made up myself that expresses the joy we have found in Radical Unschooling. In #HomeCrazzyHome…it is Radi-COOL not radical to unschool.
But I am jumping ahead of myself. Many of you may not even be familiar with unschooling, let alone radical unschooling. Some of you may not even be that aware of home education or homeschooling. Though these days most people have heard of the phenomenon even if they are more likely to know the myths associated with it than facts of this increasingly common place practice for many families.
So let’s begin there…at the beginning…with home education. And the myths that may need debunking before we even think about unschooling, let alone something called…RADICAL unschooling.
Of course, when some people here about home education their first reaction is…Is that even legal?
The short answer to that question is…Yes, home education is generally legal in many Western countries. Though there are an increasing number of European countries that are either outlawing the practice or so tightly regulating it as to make it so. But even in the ones where it is legal, the degree of freedom varies from country to country, state to state, region to region, and sometimes even by city/county.
Bottom line is that you need to be fully informed on the specifics of the place where you live. Much of that information is now available on the internet.
The long form answer to that question though warrants its own chapter that we will cover later.
Even beyond that most basic question, there exists many other myths about home education. Myths that are often perpetuated by the government, media, and especially the education systems themselves.
Too often the only time that anyone hears about home education is those exceedingly rare cases where a child has been abused or even killed. Then there is a huge outcry for tighter regulation and oversight by who else…the government and educators, of course. of course, what you do not hear about is that most of the children who are abused attend schools regularly. They simply fall through the cracks of an over-burdened system.
Of course, these sensationalistic headlines lead to the perceptions that home educated little humans are isolated and lacking in socialization necessary for proper development. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Most home educated children have superior social skills because 1) they are exposed to a greater variety of age ranges and situation rather than being segregated all day with children in a very narrow age range that are mistakenly assumed to be their peers and 2) they have the opportunity to practice their social skills in a safe and bully-free environment. This is especially important for our neurodivergent little humans as we will talk about more in detail later on.
The other thing that many people do not realize is the huge variety among home educators. The variety of reasons and styles of learning that is represented in this international community.
The reasons that people choose to home educate their little humans is as varied as the families themselves.
For some, it is a religious decision. They are not comfortable sending their children to secular schools.
For others, it is about academic excellence. This increasing populous do not believe that schools are equipping their little humans for the job market and world that they will one day face. They do not believe that the standardized curriculum of most schools is in their little human’s best interest or an accurate measure of her abilities.
Of course, if you bought this book, it is likely that you fall into another category…the special needs community who has likely been failed by the education system. For many families like ours, home education may not even feel like a choice. If you child is being bullied daily, if sesnory issues prevent learning, if the schools are not teaching in a way that your child can grasp, or if a combination of any or all of those factors have led your child to refuse to go, then you may question just how much actual choice they had in the decision.
I have actually home educated for all three of those reasons. Almost a quarter of a century ago, my ex-husband and I educated my older offspring for religious reasons. We did not want them exposed to values that were contrary to our beliefs.
Of course, with PanKwake I began this journey when the school failed to recognize her special needs resulting in no support for her in the classroom and ultimately severe bullying.
But while I might have began this journey due to failings of the school system, I continue it because I believe to the bottom of my heart that no one can educate my #HappilyAutistic and #ProudlyPDA little human like I can. No one cares more about her success than I do. No one is more determined to give her the best possible chance of reaching her full potential. No one sees the big picture, the whole person the way that I do…and certainly no one is willing to sacrifice the way that I am to make all that possible.
Of course, the truth is that most people choose to home educate for multiple reasons. And those three while the most common are not extensive. Others include…
- geographic isolation
- special interests or talents such as acting and modeling that make attending school difficult
- some parents even choose to combine travel with home education…and how better to give your child a broader perspective of the world?
- just enjoying time spent with your little human so much that you don’t want to surrender them to another for eight hours five days a week
- and…??? as many as there are families, parents and little humans.