Homeschooling Family Interview: Jessica

Today's interview is with Jessica, who is homeschooling two children, 12 year old Cameron and 4 year old Catherine. Jessica is a big believer in the unschooling philosophy; read on to learn more:

1. How long have you been homeschooling (or if finished, how long did you homeschool)?

We usually say that our kids have been "unschooling since birth" because they've never gone to school or daycare of any kind. Our son is now 12 and our daughter is 4 ½.

2. One of the main benefits of homeschooling is the freedom and flexibility it allows. Can you give us a few examples of how this freedom and flexibility benefited you (your family)?

Freedom and flexibility are two of the very cornerstones of our lifestyle. To an outside observer, perhaps the most obvious evidence of that freedom and flexibility would be that we are in control of our own time. Because we aren’t obligated to follow a normal school schedule, we can choose to go on vacation in February or May or September. We can avoid the after school rush at the dentist's and doctor’s offices by going in the morning. We can spend as much time as we wish in museums and parks and other fun places because we aren’t with a school group and don't have anywhere else we have to be. We have the freedom and flexibility to go where we want, when we want, without anyone else’s approval.

But on a deeper level, the experience of being FREE TO BE ONESELF has had even greater impact on our lives. We are not only free to DO what we want, we are free to BE who we are. One of my primary reasons for choosing to live an unschooling life with my children was to allow them to be true to their authentic selves. What I want for my kids is very simple. I want them to be the people they were meant to be – not MY idea of who they should be, or SOCIETY’S idea of who they should be, but who they already ARE, as well as who they are becoming. The best way to help them achieve that, in my opinion, is to trust them to know what they are ready for, what they need and when they need it. My role, as the mother of two unschooled children, is to be flexible and fully present so that I can help them explore what they love, learn what they want to know, and experience what they want to experience, for their own reasons. When I do that, they are then free to be themselves to the fullest.

3. Another benefit of homeschooling is the fun factor. Can you give us a few examples of some especially fun times you had as a result of homeschooling?

Whenever someone asks about what kind of fun things we do, my mind goes in a dozen different directions all at once. I think of all the days we’ve spent going on nature hikes and creek stomps, whole days spent in our pajamas snuggled up on the sofa reading books, baking together, discussing the news, listening to books on CD on long trips, and so much more. I also think of the many field trips that we’ve been able to take over the years, from local farms and apple orchards, to long stays in Chicago visiting all the museums at our own pace. I have so many good memories with my kids thanks to unschooling!

When I asked my kids what fun things they remember doing, they said going to Conner Prairie and the Children’s Museum (we usually buy memberships to each), making messes and doing experiments with things around the house, spending time at home, getting to do things with homeschooling friends, summer park days, going to the Unschoolers Winter Waterpark Gathering, reading together, doing art, and playing games together.

4. We all have funny experiences while homeschooling. Can you share one of yours with us?

It sounds like a “You might be a homeschooler if…” joke, but every single time someone asks what grade my son is in, I have to stop and count on my fingers just to figure out what grade he would be in if he were in school. We always crack up afterwards thinking about what the person must have thought of those weird homeschoolers who didn’t even know what grade their kid is in. LOL

I have lots of other funnies too, but I’ve been asked to keep them to myself in order to protect the innocent…or the guilty as the case may be!

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