One aspect of a good school is the different people it can gather. Luckily, I find Luísa and myself immersed in an international environment again. There´s also some other good things that help a school be good, that I talked about in When schooling is good, it can be really awesome, and here I want to go deeper in the discussion I started back with To unschool or to not unschool?
Back in our home in Brazil, her cool kindergarten had all these international kids in the group.
Here in Costa Rica, we have an even smaller group, with only 9 children at the moment. The parents of the children here are from Germany, Austria, French Guiana, Holland, Italy, Argentina and Brazil (me), besides locals.
The teacher and assistants are from all parts of the world too and they have an interesting human soup there. The language immersion is happening, with the main teacher speaking English, the other Spanish and the young children full on with their non-verbal communication skills.
How about the title, don´t I think unschooling is better? How come I am keeping my daughter in a school?
Because at the moment, having a 3-year old around all the time is too intense for me, I can´t handle it in a nurturing way for 24-7. I also need help in educating her, in giving her the most basic values of cooperation and respect. Under my supervision only, I´m might be too indulgent, and we need a break from my behavior patterns. And hey, isn´t the mix of ages and cultures just lovely?
Besides, at her age, school is just a word to call where she is at for a few hours. They are not teaching her things that she sees no use in learning in batches of 40 minutes per subject. Instead, she is being helped to develop her motor skills, her social skills and to use natural materials, that´s completely different than school.
I do think unschooling will come to us with a bit more time
I feel greatly inspired when I can see unschoolers talking about their experience, like this Astra Taylor´s lecture on the unschooling life or when I follow blogs like Raising Miro and The Organic Sister and I´m reassured that unschooling is awesome and the way to do it.
Once you understand what is behind the creation of schools and know that they cannot teach our children anything about the professions that will be around in 10 years from now (because we can´t possibly know what that will be like yet) you tend to reject any school.
Right now though, we have a nice Waldorf kindergarten here in Costa Rica, where I can see the adults there working with full respect and admiration for the children (something uncommon in schools). And I guess there are some examples out there for older children, of democratic schools where the children decide on what they´ll learn and how.
Unschooling my daughter should happen in literally a couple of years. The funny thing is that back when I was pregnant and thought about taking Luísa with me on a long international trip one day, I thought that it had to be before she was six and ¨having to¨ learn to read and write.
Now, I feel that I need her in school only until she is around 6 or 7, and then I can take her out of school (if she wants to), so that she can discover when she is ready to learn to read and write or anything else that interests her in the order that it comes.
Unless I find a school that can provide her the freedom to be herself and learn what she feels like, in a child-led way, I´ll unschool her.
Not everyone has the luck that we do now, to have their child in such a nurturing place, that being a school. Most schools are out there to kill our children´s creativity. Schools are an invention of the industrial revolution, they are old now, they were designed to prepare children for the existing jobs around.
Watch this amazing talk about Why Schools Kill Creativity, by Sir Ken Robinson. This talk was made in 2006 and watched a few billion times already and there are more talks by him on the subject (warning: you can change your world view after meeting this man).
There is also the fact that schools were made to let the state control the minds of the population, I like how unschooled Jason Hunt said it in his interview: ¨I still love learning new things, and always will. I feel like my attitudes and ideals are completely self-developed, and I think I’ve been able to avoid, to some extent, some of the silly things in our culture – materialism, conformity, pre-defined notions of success (things that I think may be largely created by, and propagated by, school).¨
Independent thinking is absolutely discouraged in traditional schools, the system of punishment and rewards is mean, and making children memorize information when they now have everything at the tip of their fingers is completely obsolete. Children are way ahead of us in the explosion of information and free learning available. For how long more will parents let the traditional schools squash their children´s ability to learn better and in their own way?
I can´t wait to see a mass of parents join the homeschooling-unschooling community, choose carefully any school, kindergarten or nursing home for their children with full awareness of what this all mean.