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Life is Good Unschooling Conference

Unschooling Dad and Teacher Asks:
Where Do I Fit?
By Mark Beaumont

A life learning dad and daughter go back to school...and one adjusts better than the other.

An unschooling dad and teacher asks 'Where Do I Fit'?

I am a professional educator who had departed the reservation of school for the greener pastures of homeschooling with my own child, but now I find myself back working in a school. I had been lucky enough to find a job in the production of fishing-flies for export here in northern Thailand, which provided me several years to get into homeschooling and very quickly into unschooling with our daughter. However, due to the reality of needing a paycheck, I not only find myself back working in school, but that very daughter has decided that she wants to ditch unschooling and go to school with dad…Hmmmm.

“I want to share my ideas and ways of unschooling, and I want to try to bring the best of unschooling into school. Unschooling in school is never going to be free-range radical-unschooling, but I know that unschooling is the best hope for schooling.”

This was actually not a big deal for my wife and me because our daughter is still in control of her learning, and she knows that if she decides she really wants to go back to life learning, she can anytime she wants – with mom and dad dancing in the streets with joy, unfurling purple carpets of love-and-welcoming while jubilantly tossing flowers and kisses.

She is nine; she is starting school for the second time. She attended a little, bilingual international school back in 2011 in order to complete the second half of kindergarten-three. This was a very transitional year for me. I resigned the year before under duress at another one of the ubiquitous, international schools here in Thailand. I departed that nightmare career in complete disgust of international schools, and the vast majority of happenings that took place inside these “Little Boxes” factories. (Please see Malvina Reynolds’ song for further insight.)


This Schooling Thing

My daughter now re-enters school as a grade four student at yet another one of these schools. I teach grade four; my daughter is in my co-teacher’s grade four homeroom. There are two grade four classes this year. She wanted to be in my class, but the school has a policy regarding parents in classes with their own children. She is now going into week three of this schooling thing. She is in attendance completely based in her free will; the locus of control is with her, and her self-determination is fully intact. Perhaps in this context we are still unschooling…at least in part?

She wants more friends; she is there for the social scene. We are very okay with this. If she gets nothing from school other than making lots of friends and playing and enjoying her life, we will be very happy indeed. These opinions regarding our child, her goals, our goals, and my place of employment, I cannot speak of openly at work because…well, you can probably make a guess if you are an unschooler dealing with educators and parents and even random people with strong, differing, and even contradictory opinions about schooling and the nurturing of children. After completing two weeks into this new life as a little schoolgirl, she is very happy and has expressed this in beautiful ways that make my wife and me very happy too.

Article continues . . .

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