Un-Schooling Another Generation, And Being A Living Example of The First

About a month ago I recorded a long interview with my husband. It was more difficult than the interviews I have done previously with my family. I shelved it, until now. Unsure what to say about the conversation, or which parts to present.

Besides the ongoing exchange between my mother and I, the discussions I have had with my husband Josh are a fascinating aspect of this project for me.

Josh & bike

Josh on a bike, sometime in the 80s

Before starting this blog, I had never considered how different the conversation of raising a family is for the first generation of adult homeschoolers, from the conversations our parents had.

My parents were educators… when they looked at the choice between school and un-schooling, they were choosing between all the visibile pitfalls in the education system, and a fresh approach. And while the unknown is frightening, isn’t there also an optimism in starting something new?

For me, and I suspect for other grown un-schoolers, there is the grounding reality of imperfection. There is no perfect education, no perfect upbringing, or family. I know my parents knew that, too, but there was an experimental aspect to their homeschooling that would be very different for me, having grown up with it.

me on a bike, sometime in the 80s

me on a bike, sometime in the 80s

Maybe there is always a reactionist aspect to parenting… An attempt to replicate our successes, or reject and edit our struggles for the next generation. We don’t want our kids to suffer our same mistakes, but we feel attached to other parts of how we were raised, how we were formed. I’m sure that it’s the most normal thing in the world, but both my husband and I feel a sense of responsibility to improve upon how we grew up.

Not that my parents didn’t do a great job! They did, they’re amazing, and I am incredibly respectful of that. But reflecting on homeschooling now, I have my own shortcomings to critique, my own list of take-aways to try and improve upon, and there are things I would do differently, things I would build on, things I have learned from.

And my husband, having experienced public, private and boarding schools at different chapters in his education, has his own opinions and sense of determination to do better as a parent, to guide and harness all the positive things that institutions have to offer.

Josh and I are both independent and self-directed people in our own ways, but we came to that from opposite experiences. I came to it through conscientious, nurturing parenting, and Josh came to it through needing to be self reliant and pull himself up by his boot straps. Despite struggling at times in school, he views the stress and struggle of his home life as the most significant part his education.

In the coming post, I will share a section of my recorded interview with Josh.  I hope it will be as interesting to some of you as it has been for me! To reflect on the difference between generations… The difference in being a living product of what had once been a new and unknown path.