My name is Patricia Teichroeb, I am a Canadian Unschooling mom from Manitoba, Canada. I have a daughter named Jaymie, who is 8 years old, and a son named Micah who is 6 months old. My husband, Dwayne, is the foundation of our family, he works day in and day out to provide us with what we need, so that I can stay home and educate our kids the way they deserve.
Unschooling fell onto our laps like a ton of bricks. When we made the decision to home school Jaymie, we had no idea of what our options were. We just knew that we had been failed by the public school system and it was going to take a lot of mending on all ends for our family to go on.
Since pre school, Jaymie had a difficult time adapting in a school setting. She had a hard time understanding the whys, the who's and the reasons behind all the rules. She could not comprehend the behavior of her fellow classmates, and she could not grasp the concept of being told what and how to do something, and then being left hanging do work on her own, even if she did not grasp the concept.
There came a point in time after attending public school for 3 years, where Jaymie would come home with an upset stomach and become physically ill from stress at school. Teachers were disciplining her for being slow to get ready for recess, resulting in being held back while the rest of the class got to go out and play. Time and time again certain kids were bullying her, and although I took charge and set up meetings in the office and with other parents, nothing was done. Jaymie became rageful and started to throw temper tantrums at the age of 7. She would break things and hit my husband and I when it came to going to bed or completing homework. She could no longer mentally handle the pressures of deadlines, expectations and peers.
Finally, last year in second grade, I had enough. Her teacher had no interest in communicating with me, just as those at the other schools we had tried, so I decided to contact the principal to try and set up some school councelling. Since Jaymie had not been diagnosed with a learning disability, nor was she diagnosed with any other mental disabilities, we were denied such support. At the end of the year, she began staying home for weeks on ends. While she was here I would set up school at home and do grade 1 and 2 workbooks with her so that she would not fall behind. We would spend our days doing crafts and reading and doing little bits of book work as we pleased.
Eventually, I had the idea to keep her home the following year to home school her. I was pregnant then and had doubts about myself which lead me to registering her for grade 3. I spent all summer researching and reading and preparing for another difficult year. After the first week back at public school, the same cycle was happening once again. I ordered books upon books of curriculum, and notified the office that I would be homeschooling her. Immediately all the parents I came to know were pointing fingers at each others children and at this teacher and that teacher, blaming bullies and staff, when all it was about, was the well being of my daughter and our family.
I had no idea that unschooling existed, if you would have mentioned it to me years ago, I would have shook my head and told you it was a crazy idea! After days of trying to teach and maintain my composure, I noticed that when we were done book work, Jaymie learned so much more while she was playing. She had taken up hobbies that I would not have even picked up on my own. I noticed her asking questions and reading and researching people, places and things. Suddenly I realized that I was killing her desire to learn, and that she was especially content when she was leading the way! I began researching and came upon unschooling. Immediately I knew this was for us. My husband trusted me and agreed that this was the best idea! It took a while for me to let go of the expectations and realize that the only people I need to report to are the ones in my home under my roof.
I immediately began deschooling. We spent many days lounging around watching movies, coloring and playing blocks and barbies. Micah was only a new born when we started, so Jaymie became momma number 2, and insisted she helped with every duty involving the baby. We have been growing together as mothers, although it will be some time before she will ever be one! We have formed a close and strong bond between us that I never imagined possible. Deschooling is still a process, and I truly believe us parents never stop trying to unlearn everything we were taught in school and in our childhood. I have the best interest of my child in mind, and it is our time to put it into action!
Since October, I have not seen one outburst,one tantrum, or one ounce of anxiety from Jaymie. She is free to explore and study what she pleases, IF she pleases. Our days resemble those of summer holidays, except in winter time its more like christmas holidays! Not every day is pretty, we do get bored and we do have our weak doubtful moments, but its a learning process and the beauty is that we are all together on this journey.
I am looking forward to learning more about unschooling, and hopefully inspiring people through our life events. I hope to bring light to this lifestyle in the province I live and create bonds and connections to like minded families. I am confident that Jaymie will grow up to be a strong, knowledgeable individual who uses the world as her "school".
I am so happy you stopped by Unschooling Mommas, and I hope you take some inspiration with you when you leave!