No We Are Not Really Homeschooling.

So are you guys homeschooling?

This is the question I often get when I tell people that we are world schooling……..because homeschooling is just more commonly known than world schooling. But the truth is …..no…..we are not really homeschooling. Homeschooling is when we bring the schooling system (set curriculum, homework, tests) into the home environment. But as for world schooling, we are basically unschooling….. and if you are not aware of what your face looks like right now (FYI you probably look puzzled or perplexed) and thats fine because I get that….. A LOT!

What on earth is unschooling?

Unschooling is basically the most natural environment to learn without all the problems associated with school. If you look at the common struggle of school going children, you can see them struggle with unnecessary anxiety (over exams, peer pressure, bullying, homework) which is often associated with the school system where everyone is subject to the most unnatural form of learning. I mean, seriously, we are all different and we are great at different things. Just the whole idea of putting a whole bunch of same aged people together and forcing them to learn the same curriculum regardless of weather they like it or not, does not inspire me to think that this system can prepare our children for life and work especially when we will hardly find ourselves in a work environment full of same aged colleagues who are all doing the exact same thing and learning the exact same skills set to accomplish the exact same tasks.

So yes, unschooling means that my children get to learn in the most natural environment minus all the problems associated with the school system.

 

If you don’t follow a ‘set’ curriculum, then how do you know what you need to learn?
This is often the other question that I get a lot. So here’s my answer…..’we learn whatever we want to’. We pick up skills on the go based on what we think is important to achieve a goal or tasks. Here’s an example, three years ago, I was in Italy and I wanted so badly to learn how to make Italian pasta (from scratch) but as I was in the small town of Marcatello Sul Matauro (with a population of 1500 people), finding an english speaking chef was like finding a needle in a haystack so I had to go with an Italian speaking class but with a translator who tried her best. Guess what? I LOVED this cooking class and it was totally hands on and I didn’t totally understand everything said but I google translated most of it and I got a chance to brush up on my Italian.

In this scenario, my goal was to learn how to make Italian pasta from scratch but in order to get there, I’ve had to pick up other skills as well such as the Italian language (or the cooking genre at least) and some skills to work with dough (which was really tiring considering the amount of work it involved). My underlying motivating factor for learning these skills is to feel that satisfaction of successfully learning or completing a task or goal. This approach is the most natural form of learning because it’s how most of us do it on a daily basis to survive.

The thing about the typical school system is that it attempts to teach skills in isolation and when people feel like they are forced to learn something that they aren’t interested in, the goal for learning is no longer about the satisfaction from learning but rather the motivation is more centered around doing well in exams or doing homework (just because you have to).

I saw my children slipping down this slope of ‘learning just because they had to’ when they were still in school and with that life view about learning, I also saw their creativity (using and combining skills learnt to create something new and different or to use these skills in productive ways) and love for learning (that thirst and hunger to find out more, to satisfy their curiosity) fly out the window…… and that was when I realized that I had to do something drastic about it if I wanted to give my children a better education than the one I got.

So are we crazy?……probably! But at least my children will be getting the education that they need…..one that is spontaneous, is goal or task driven, self motivated and driven by interest and most importantly…….one that will prepare them with the skills they need to survive and to thrive in life.

essentially, we will be unschooling on the go and will be spending time in different countries and learning about different cultures and being immersed in different languages and this just seems like the perfect opportunity to unschool.

Foong Kwin Tan

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