Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. - Albert Schweitzer
A few questions we hope to address:
- What is success?
- What do children need in order to feel successful?
- What do children need in order to be successful?
- Is success a product or a journey? or both?
- How does one measure success?
- Can one measure success for another?
- What does one need to be successful in our society and how does one attain that success?
- How does one define a successful education and a successful "student?"
- Is a "good education" necessary for one to be successful?
These stories, commentary & vignettes offer a view into how and why we live life without school.
Sitting on the beach with another mom that I've only known for a short while, I had the chance to discuss homeschooling with her. Turns out she leans as heavily to unschooling as I do, and – not surprisingly – has faced the same concerns. Those questions that seem to hover at the edge of the conviction that this is the right choice seem to be universal: Are they getting what they need? Is it doing them a disservice to be so different in our education plan? Are they going to be successful?
That final question led to a great conversation about just what defines successful. I have always said that if my kids grow up to be happy and can provide for themselves, then they will indeed be successful, regardless of whether or not the rest of the world would classify them as such. And, you must know that when I say "providing for themselves" I simply mean that they no longer depend upon me or their dad to pay their expenses. I have no financial expectations for the boys. I will not measure their success by how much they earn – to me, that's not important. If they choose to spend some time touring the USA in a VW Bus and working their way from town to town, I say go for it; what a great opportunity that would be. If they choose to work part time and live a frugal life so that they can pursue their non-paid interests, just grand. If they choose to focus on becoming a millionaire, that's fine with me too, so long as they remain true to their hearts and are happy.
Happiness and a passion for life are much more important to me than a big bankroll. I believe that the style of education, the style of life that my kids are living creates that passion for life. Even if us moms have to talk through it on occasion to be reminded that we are doing the "right" thing.
~Kris Bordessa, author of Great Medieval Projects You Can Build Yourself (Nomad Press, 2008)
I think I redefine my concept of "success" everyday as I ask myself these questions:
What do I really want in life?
What makes me feel happy, competent, and complete today in this moment in time?
What are my personal long term goals? What does life require of me to accomplish my goals? How do I choose to reach them? The concept of "success" as a measure of who I am and how I am performing in comparison to others or to a standard set by society can fall away into a meaningless puddle when I ask myself these questions. When my children question and challenge what I think or society thinks is important for them to learn, they are fine tuning their abilites to take responsiblity of their lives; and if I must use the term "success" in the context of their lives, it would be defined by the ability, willingess, honesty, and will to define and direct their own personal goals, ideals, and happiness. ~Robin
Stories and Commentary
Success, by Lune
It has taken me a good while to arrive at an idea of success that sits happily in my own mind. And this idea may seem very ‘insignificant’ to others, because it had nothing to do with grandiose goals or achievements; it is very ‘in the moment’ and very close to the earth....
Success or Failure? by Cindy
I ended my last post about my oldest son, Eric's, first experience with formal education through a dual-enrollment community college program. He had taken two courses with very different instructors and expectations for what made up his end grade. Eric had brought his unschooling perspective into the classroom with him and did well with a professor whose grading recognized and reflected the real learning that occurred within the confines of my son's mind. He didn't score as well with the traditional professor and the traditional grading expectations that simply reflected the hoops he was meant to jump through versus the learning that was accomplished. Eric was at a crossroads for his learning path....
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