Children are crazy, and erratic, and so creative that sometimes they say something or create something that, as an adult, just completely blows you away. In fact, in psychological studies, it is ascertained that according to psychological mental health markers, all children have many traits that would be considered mental illness if they were seen in adults (but are most often just part of the magic that is childhood). Anyone who has ever been in public with a child that has suddenly decided that they want to be a butterfly and pretend to eat invisible cupcakes that are coming down in a shower from the fairy Godmother of Wednesday, would certainly understand what I am talking about. At the best of times, children are 'atypical, unexpected and incongruous'.
Children are the most unexpected and incongruous human beings on the planet. They see magic where we see repetition. They see infinite possibility where we see lines in the sand. They see alternatives when we are stuck in traditions.
And the reason that homeschooled children in particular can appear 'strange' is that without the introduction of school, the imagination that allows visions of cupcakes falling from the sky and fairies running rampant in the herb garden, is given a little more room to grown. Without the introduction of an institution that requires conformity to a certain way of dressing, talking and behaving, the crazy that shapes early childhood, begins to become refined and takes shape in older children who are more likely to babble incessantly when they come up with a brilliant idea. Or dress in 6 different shades of out-there, when the mood takes them. Or memorise 50 different ways to cook eggplant (because they spent 5 days straight googling it, and trying out the recipes with the big box of eggplant from Grandma). All of the same things that most children have the chance to do after school and on school holidays - but all of the time.
And it is not that homeschooled and unschooled children are different to other children, they just have a whole lot more time to develop who they are as a person, and to do things that they are interested in, for days, months and years at a time. So whereas you or I may have found our stride in our late 20's or early 30's, a lot of children who have not attended school for any length of time, reach that point of knowing who they are, and what they are passionate about, much earlier.
Hence the 10 year old who is a miniature Marine Biologist and could probably give a 4th year uni student a run for their money, or the 14 year old vegan animal activist who has years of experience volunteering at Amnesty International or the 11 year old who is building Minecraft servers and selling their creations to grown adults through their own website. They are not superhuman. They are not any different to any other child. That's just what happens when you give these curious, creative and innovative creatures time and space and a few hundred hours of talking to young and old people (and free internet). Strangeness. Lots of wonderful strangeness.
If you are like me, by the time your little one is walking and talking, you have been pressured to start sending them to daycare or kindy, and face the inevitable questions about 'when are you going to send them to school?' and 'which school will you send them to for prep?'. However, if you are not ready yet (or ever!), or your little one is not ready, here are 5 reasons why you shouldn't send your preschooler to school yet (or ever!).
As we have lived between 4 very different living spaces in the last year: a small house in an eco community (with shared spaces), a house with limited space in the city, a camper trailer on the road, and a larger and more open Queenslander-style house, with less bedrooms but more outdoor areas, we will go through our home educating spaces in 4 different posts to give you an idea of how you can create your own home study spaces.
Following on from our blog on '5 reasons not to send your preschooler to school' we have had questions about what you actually do when you keep a preschooler at home and are not ready to homeschool just yet! If you watched our talk at the online Australian Homeschooling Summit(you can still get the downloads of all of the talks! If you missed it) you will know that we follow an eclectic, somewhat unschooling approach to learning in our house.
Homeschooling and unschooling families sharing stories and snippets of life and learning at home every day - guest posts welcome