"I always grew up feeling that 'Well, everyone thinks I'm different. I don't think I'm different. I think I'm normal, but it's other people who are socially constructing me as being odd.'"
--Peter Griffin (Grown Without Schooling)
Once we crossed the social construct into the realm of life without school, we began to operate and navigate our lives differently than most people we know. We are not right or wrong, just right for us. It seems we come from a different view, a different place of perceiving the world of living and learning than most people. We began to ask questions (as many people do) perhaps in different ways or from different vantage points, based on the needs of different children. Who knows? Whatever the case, we, as a family, are creating “a life” together out of our individual lives and a life-style that begs different answers to the questions that many of us ask and perhaps even begs different questions to be asked. We are path finders, trail blazers, explorers, travelers.
Where are we going? These paths are often defined by the traveling, rather than direction or rule. These paths beget paths into the scary (sometimes for mom and dad), exciting unknown (until we get there) worlds of interests, passions, personal goals, personal time tables that defy a standardized route. How do we plan to get our destination, whatever we decide that will be? What is most important for us on this journey? What do we need to make this journey successful? How will we define that?
It seems to me that we who live our lives without school have “strayed” from the norm of “right,” via “calling,” conscience, common sense, intellect--by choice--onto personal paths constructed of personal “rights” in the pursuit of life, liberty, happiness and the need as parents to give our children a life we deem worth living—family by family, child by child. Personal choice and personal responsibility empower and guide our lives. We are responsible to (I fill in the blank; I choose). And, we have become the “odd ones” in the process, the ones expected to prove our paths to others, as if the status quo holds “rightness” for all. The socially accepted path is the “right” standard by which our paths are judged, no matter how inappropriate the measure.
Having literally and in mind traveled quite a few paths (defined and undefined), I have seen enough "rights" on enough of a collision course to stop the world from spinning. Well, there is no way all those "rights" can exist under one law, enforced on all human beings. There is no way on this earth that all the "right" paths, especially just one “right” path can hold sovereignty over one family or even one child, let alone all the inhabitants of the world without strangling the individual life out of us all. Would you want my right path to have controlling influence or authority over the way you live your life.
When you choose a different path from another (or decide to stay your own course), who is to say which path is right for you or the other? Who decides which paths are acceptable and which are not? What criteria will be used? Who becomes the enforcer of right? And, who is socially constructing whom to be “odd?” And, why?
A list of a few "rights:"
Google Search: Against School
Google Search: No Child Left Behind
Google Search: Against Standardized Testing
Google Search: Waldorf
Google Search: Montessori
Google Search: Unschooling
Google Search: Radical Unschooling
Google Search: Classical Education
Google Search: Attachment Parenting
Google Search: Christian Parenting
Google Search: Pagan Parenting
Google Search: TCS/Taking Children Seriously
Google Search: No Spank
Google Search: Positive Reinforcement
Google Search: Punished by Rewards
Google Search: Families for Natural Living
Google Search: Natural Child Birth
Google Search: LLL
I am happy to be “odd,” free and in charge of my own "rights" and my own life….I decide. I am happy to be “learning all the time” and free to adjust my/our life paths accordingly. I am happy to be responsible to and for my children as we blaze our own individual paths together. I think the State, the state of societal norms and the “shoulds” (wherever they grow and flourish) will survive my indulgence.
Robin lives and learns with her two children and husband in Salamander Creek Habitat. She considers herself a naturalist and spiritual eclectic who enjoys celebrating the wheel of the year with her own unique blend of earth-centered world traditions