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It’s been a struggle for a long time. I’ve never quite felt right. Fear and shame have kept me from admitting who I am. Christian circles in particular don’t know what to do with people like me…overall a good gal who loves God but…geesh….there’s those differences.

Initially I thought it was just a passing stage. Certainly everyone experiences those, right? But then I realized I was born this way. Wired differently. But I’ve been keeping it a secret because I know even those who love me…sometimes don’t know what to do with my differences.

I am an unschooler.

Those are the words that could suck the air out of the Abeka conference. Bob Jones acolytes would politely clear their throats and discreetly seek the closest exit.

I am an unschooler. I see educational opportunities everywhere and I chose real life over a text book.

I am an unschooler. The words of Robert Frost buoy my spirits when I read the words, “I believe in education, I don’t believe in school.”

I love open source education and believe the WalMart clerk is just as qualified to teach me something as a pedigreed professor.

I draw courage from great men like Louis L’Amour who dropped out of school at the age of 15 because he felt school was interfering with his education.

Do I believe every child should be bounced out of school? Not on your life.

But as I have watched my nearly 16-year-old unschooled son grow and develop into a skilled worker and a confident young adult…I am convinced that sometimes the best educational model isn’t a model at all.

I am an unschooler.

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Comment by Theresa on July 28, 2010 at 8:16am
Kim-I am delighted that you enjoyed this post. I suspect there are may of us on in hiding. (Well, not I any more since I've outted myself.)

Yes, we are out there. But like you, I draw courage from hearing others. Like you, I never finished my degree and I am totally at peace now that it is an issue only if I choose to make it one. I am a lifelong learner and school is always in session. (As we understand school.)

Have a great day, Kim and again thanks for your kinds words!
Comment by Theresa on July 25, 2010 at 12:42pm
Thanks for commenting Steven...and yep...you're singing my song! With the way our educational system is moving, it is increasingly more and more irrelevant. The trades especially come to mind. I can't think of a better investment in education than an apprenticeship. Or any other sort of hands on opportunity. I was even thinking about nursing...can you imagine the quality of nurses hospitals would have if they had more mentoring. (Hospital based training programs have been on the way out for some time now and I think this is a great loss.)

Dan- I love that Mark Twain quote; it's one of my favorites. Louis L'Amour, in his biography, "Education of a Wandering Man," said the same thing and I wondered if he got that from Twain. Lest on think L'Amour was just some hick cowboy with a penchant for story telling; they'd be surprised to learn of his habit of reading 100+ books a year through his life. And I'm not talking book of the month club novels. Shakespeare, Voltaire, and others of whom I'd not be able to comprehend the preface to their tomes.
Comment by Steven Deaton on July 24, 2010 at 9:44am

I have a growing concern and/or opinion that schooling is of very limited value. Like you, I think children should receive some "schooling," but the greater part of their education will come from life experience, hard work & dedication, and mentors who will "show them the ropes." Much of what children & adults get in institutionalized education is a dumbing-down. [Nothing personal to any teachers who are truly dedicated to educating their students...just an observation about the "system"]

I appreciate your bravery in "coming out."

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Comment by Dan Miller on July 24, 2010 at 8:55am
And it was Mark Twain who said - "I never let schooling interfer with my education."
Comment by Theresa on July 23, 2010 at 1:12pm
Rob---Thank you so very much. I take courage to continue to speak out when I hear/read words like yours. I'm confident that many years ago, "The System" labeled me a troublemaker. As I get older, I realize it's a label I'll gladly wear. ;)
Comment by Robert Clinton on July 23, 2010 at 10:27am
Oh how I love that quote, “I believe in education, I don’t believe in school.”... Great post Theresa... And know matter what a systemized program may label you or me as, you are a great gal who loves God, and the message you share is powerful and speaks directly to the system of conformity.

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