Unschooling

Do unschoolers set goals?

Do unschoolers set goals?


That has been our discussion at the Unschooling Catholics blog and email list. Check out our post on BHAGs and on living and learning alongside, leaning on that truck.

You know, sometimes we set goals or share visions and dreams. Sometimes we set ourselves targets and deadlines. And sometimes we fly by the seat of our pants.

I think both are valid.

They just suit different seasons of life.

Always being goal oriented can mean that we feel a trifle driven.

Now, driven can be good. Can keep us focused on that vision, can keep us on the straight and narrow so to speak.

Sometimes, however, we can concentrate so much on the goal that we lose sight of the passes, the twists, the turns, the cracks in the pavement along the way.

So maybe it is okay to have a goal yet to hold that goal loosely in our palm and be open to the little moments in life… The nudging of the Holy Spirit, the interruption, that teachable moment, seeing God in our daily interactions and serving Him with joy in our daily tasks.

And sometimes setting aside those tasks to follow the moment.. The sudden passion for a movie, a book, an urge to cook with mum, to go to the park or for a walk..

I often call this learning by osmosis. Goal or vision in mind but the how-to of achieving that goal is immersed in the living a good life. A life worth living. Good and bad. All things working for the good of those who love the Lord (to paraphrase St Paul).

Chatting to friends at dinner last night , we came upon goals, lofty goals, in homeschooling. And I said that while people may not want to read a book about my homeschooling (Battle Hymn of the Elephant Mother?) or want to pay money to hear me speak about my homeschooling method (in a nut shell – prayer and hang out together)… While this may be too simple to fill a homeschooling tome, nevertheless my goal in Unschooling has been to give the kids a good childhood. And knowing that the rest will follow.

A good childhood. A Swallows and Amazons , a Chalet School childhood.

Adventures. Freedom. Nature. Play and more play. Community. Mixed ages. Learning through interests and life. Faith. The tools of learning. Books. Time. Masterly inactivity on the part of mum. Hanging out together. Friends and family. Prayer. Knowledge shared over cups of tea and books and in museums and art galleries and bookshops and discussing movies and after Mass or over those rosary beads.

A time for focused formal study and much more time for exploration and hanging out and for play.

It paints a rosy picture, doesn’t it? And while things may not always be rosy, the goal of a good childhood, while learning in a family focused environment , is always lingering n my mind. Helping me to make a choice, to pull up my socks mentally when things are less than rosy and work towards joy. And learning. And prayer.

That’s why this unschooler believes in goals…. loose, flowing goals. With a strong dash of determination, commitment and perseverance.
Sprinkled liberally with prayer and thus steeped with liturgy and devotions.

St. Jane Frances de Chantal…The great method of prayer is to have none. If in going to prayer one can form in oneself a pure capacity for receiving the spirit of God, that will suffice for all method.
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2 thoughts on “Do unschoolers set goals?”

  1. Sad that kids today, cocooned by Safety Squirrel parents and society can no longer really relate to "Swallows" as real. I couldn't bear to read it to my son–he wanted that freedom so desperately.As for goals–I see myself as a "grown up unschooler." There is stuff I learn for work–whether assigned to me or not, stuff I learn because I need to tackle some task and don't have money to pay someone! And stuff I want to learn. I think that makes me an unschooler, right?

  2. Did your kids see the SwallowsTV movie?it was fun and while we didn't necessarily the nature, we tried for the freedom and play. And yes, definitely we never stop learning, having passions and being unschoolers!

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