I'm new to this site. I joined yesterday. I have to say I'm still not 100% convinced about all aspects of unschooling, but the more I read the more I come around to the idea. I first heard of unschooling on a program called 'extreme parenting' that I saw by chance on TV a few months ago. A couple on there were unschooling their two children. It didn't seem right to me to give your children such freedom, and I rejected the idea immediately. There were also a couple on there who were 'attachment parenting', and that was something I did immediately cling to and it changed my life, but that's a whole other story.
But as time went by I softened. Looking at the dire schools in the poor town I live, and remembering my own experiences of school, I eventually decided I would like to home-school my daughter. It's not that I didn't enjoy school. I did. And I was a good student getting brilliant grades. But I always felt held back by my peers and smothered by the system. I wanted my daughter to be free to study at her own pace the things she has interest in.
And that's when the idea of unschooling started to creep into my mind. The more I read the more I saw that this would be the life I want for my daughter. I soon found this website and as I said joined yesterday.
The thing that threw me was the question on my profile of how long I have been unschooling. After giving some thought to when I would start, thinking around the time of when kids generally start school, it suddenly dawned that I'm already unschooling! There will be no day when I say 'right today we're unschooling'! It's what I've done from the day I saw that program on 'extreme parenting'. The day I finally let go of how children SHOULD be raised and what parents SHOULD do and started following my daughter's lead. The day I accepted she isn't like other babies and won't sleep in a cot or accept a bottle. The day I saw her, not other people's 'ideal' babies.
From that day I followed my instincts and let go of all my preconceptions. I started to take my cues from my daughter and her needs and wants. And since then she has blossomed! We do what she wants when she wants (within reason!). She explores her environment the way she wants to, and I help her along the way. She wanted to stand all the time when she was 3 months old, so I held her up and let her stomp her feet, shrieking with laughter. She wanted to walk, so I held her hands and guided her around the room, ignoring my back ache. She took her first steps unassisted at a little under 9 months old, and now at 10 months she can run and chases me around the room. She likes to climb, so I put boxes together and stand ready to catch her if she falls. And she's slowly honing her balance and climbing skills. She loves to sit and read books together. But there are plenty of things she has no interest in, like blocks and toys with buttons. And that's ok. I'll follow her lead and allow her to be the person she is.
So how long have I been unschooling? I'm not sure exactly, but I do know I've already begun the journey. And it's fun and exciting and rewarding. My daughter is a happy baby who loves to learn. And I'm a happy mummy who will help her every step of the way. :)