Two years ago, at the first BC Homeschooling Convention, one of the speakers pointed this out:
*"Education" has always been the privilege of the rich and powerful*
Whether it's US, HS, or public or private school - it is an expensive privilege for children to learn anything beyond the most basic reading and "figuring". The printing press was only invented 500 years ago - who needed to learn how to read and write until 300 years ago? Leaders, rulers, landowners, lawmakers, etc. People who weren't wealthy didn't get an "education" unless they were sponsored (as artists, or priests, or whatever).
To me, US is a way to bring together the privileged education (reading, literature, mathematics, history, geography, music, etc.) with the natural way that children historically grew into their roles as adults.
Originally Posted by Cukup
...I feel I am seen ... then I'm viewed
Ahh... I'm sensing some conflict within yourself... yes? You want this, but you can't see how to get it. Do everything you can to push these concerns about what others think to the side, whenever you make important decisions in life.
Here's another "how I did it" story:
We used to have a big house, and rent out the basement. It wasn't fancy or in a nice part of town, but it was single-family and not too far from DH's work. But to make it work, we both had to work f/t. DD got sick, and couldn't manage full-time school, and she was 13, so we tried just having her do distributed learning (i.e. correspondence/online courses), and it just didn't work out. So we sold our house and bought a townhouse a bit further away (believe me, Vancouver is *craaaaaazy* in terms of housing costs). So it's less convenient, and we'll have less equity in the end. But our mortgage payments are lower, so I now work p/t evenings and weekends at a hospital, and we are careful with our money. Occasionally I get offered an extra weekday shift (when DH works), so I have another US mom who could use the spare cash look after him that day.
As for "income/education" choice/balance - it's really about budget/education balance - and budget has both an income side and an expense side. Every person has to decide for themselves what their priorities are (and don't forget that the entire marketing industry is based on making us forget we can do that!)
In terms of expense, it could be expensive, sure, but there are ways to do stuff cheap, too. (There's at least one book on the topic). We buy most of our "learning materials" at the Salvation Army, garage sales, and other thrift stores. And really, US is about every day experiences in the early stages.
Originally Posted by Cukup
So it is still US if the child hangs out with a caregiver other than a parent?
Unschooling is bigger than you're picturing. I say, the more the merrier! It really does take a village to raise a child. And I think you're also envisioning something more like a licensed *daycare* - which would be difficult to find in the school age range. And even then... Before we started our US journey, I worked f/t and DS was in a licensed daycare. When I first started reading about US, I realized that this daycare was pretty much unschooly. They believed in play-based learning, they responded to the children's interests and listened to them. They developed very close relationships with the children. And yet they had their routines, which are necessary for large groups of people of any age. But sometimes, say, if the whole group wanted to "pretend" to nap until pick-up time, that's what they did. And they had various activity areas, so kids could chose for themselves what they wanted to do.
The further we travel on this journey, the more I'm learning that a large part of US (which is really everything in life outside of the school building) is about relationships. Between yourself and your child, your children with each other, your child and other children, and whatever other caretakers they may have. Having a child in part-time or even full-time care by someone else just extends these relationships. As long as these caregivers "get" the concept, it's all good.
It is also possible to be an unschooly family but have your kids in school. Just don't put too much stock in the school part of your child's life, and the rest will follow. DD was in school f/t and then did distributed learning for a year and a half, and now is p/t in school and p/t DL, and next year will be pretty much f/t at school (with extra DL courses!). But I have always augmented her "education" with discussions, reading, cooking, hanging out, etc. And if she doesn't want to go to school because her class is just doing individual study time, that's cool with me. (Though if she doesn't "feel" like going to band class, I point out that she has a responsibility to her band-mates!) Grace Llewellyn even wrote a book for teens about this, and she called it "guerilla learning".
Originally Posted by joy_seeker
perhaps the better question would be what can we do to ensure choice and make resources available for success in the third world?
Now isn't that the billion-dollar question!