Unschooling and Parenting
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The recent trends in parenting denote a paradigm shift in the parenting style. Parents are traversing through an everchanging landscape of parenting challenges. The level of willingness of the parent to participate in the process of child development and cherish every milestone has gained paramount importance in modern times. “As much as we wish to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we are doing with ours.” The modern parent is mindful and willing to foster a positive parent-child relationship by improving interaction and treating them respectfully for who they are. This helps to develop emotionally strong and resilient individuals by aiding in the overall development of the child.
During the first session, Mr. Abhijit Roy shares his journey of parenting and unschooling by differentiating people who were loved as children by their parents and those who weren’t, thereby laying emphasis on a supportive and affectionate home environment which further nurtures a child’s growth and development. As the saying goes, “Your children will become what you are, so be what you want them to be” Likewise, he says that a child’s conduct reflects the personality of the parent. As a role model, parents need to be more conscious of their approach towards their children as they mimic their parents in all ways.
The initial three years of a child’s growth contributes to healthy mother-child bonding during the course. But he was keen to share this journey with his wife through mutual partnership in a child’s growth and development. This forced him to make life-changing decisions like quitting his job and sustain with the savings to a reduced lifestyle for nearly a year. It is a familiar scenario for first-time parents in Indian society to experience socially prescribed perfection standards of good and bad parenting set by near and dear ones. As new parents, they had to fulfil a few expectations set by their family, friends, and neighbours while tackling the never-ending challenges of parenthood. During the parenting process, they also had to break a few barriers of their set standards of raising their child, from choosing organic food to homeschooling instead of sending them to a regular school.
“The best inheritance a parent can give his children is a few minutes of his each day” -A O Battista. Abhijit shares that though love and affection are provided to the child in the process of parenting, it is equally essential to provide quality time and attention to children. The decision to opt for home schooling for their children relied on the fact that modern education does not help in developing skills in children irrespective of the talents seen in them. Sri Ken Robinson's talks on how the modern education system hampers the diversity, curiosity and creativity in children inspired him. He also emphasized the need for kids to be content and happy in the early years of their life.
He also mentions the parenting lessons based on their experiences such as the good and bad child syndrome, refrains from reward and punishment to get things done by the child, and to supervise the screen time to avoid gadget addiction. A balanced approach of homeschooling and unschooling encouraged their child to pursue her interests without any compulsion. Unschooling is a child-led and parent-driven approach where the child can pursue his or her interest without preconceived standards and eventually opens a golden opportunity to explore more avenues of development.
Parenting is a journey and parents are key navigators from infancy to adulthood. The power of being present for our children to notice and acknowledge their tiny achievements, sources of happiness, behaviour patterns contributes to their emotional wellness. A caring and positive family environment are essential for the child to explore and excel in his or her area of interest. "What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, not knowledge in pursuit of the child." George Bernard Shaw. When children are allowed to learn with no restrictions, they develop independent ideas from their actual experiences to explore and broaden the horizons of learning.
Session By @ Abhijit Roy - Homeschoolers Co-op.
Written By @ Lakshmi Prakash - Academic Team Leader, Cambridge Public School