I had someone ask me this a little while ago. If they had asked me 18 months ago, I likely would’ve stared, blank faced and recited something I’d heard, hoping they wouldn’t notice the fear in my eyes.
But not this time.
“How do you know you’re doing the right thing?”
Honestly? I don’t. How does anyone know that they’re doing the right thing by their children?
What I can say, however, is that I have not blindly followed the path in front of me. I have not done as those have done before me. I have not accepted that the well trodden path was the right one.
It took a lot of research, learning, listening, talking, questioning, for us to get to the point of Unschooling. It took a butt load of self inspection, soul searching, demon facing, tears and tea…a fair bit of wine too.
What I see around me is that no one really knows what the future will bring. Universities are more expensive and easier to get into than ever before. Degrees are a dime a dozen and often aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.
Jobs are increasingly harder to get. I recall being able to pass out half a dozen job applications in high school and having them all accepted. I remember when as adults there were plenty of jobs, and people weren’t in constant fear of losing their long held positions in the next round of restructuring.
So, again, how do I know that I’m doing the right thing? I don’t. But the world around us has changed, and the well trodden path just ain’t cutting it anymore.
Our children are going to have to stand on their own two feet. They’re going to need to be brave in the face of change, creative, love to learn and know how to learn.
They’re going to need to have faith in themselves, to know that they can make things happen, that in the space of a lifetime we can go from not even imagining mobile phones and then being unable to imagine life without one…or that calculator the teachers always said we’d never have at hand…
They’re going to have to have an undying belief that they matter, that their opinions and feelings matter, and deserve to be heard. They need to know that their interests are important, that their dreams can be a reality.
Above all, they need to know that they are in charge of their destinies and should not be driven by the expectations of those around them.
I may not know if I’m doing the right thing, but I’d rather take a chance at making a break for it than stand there watching the head lights get bigger.