Unschooling. {Part II}

Let's take me for example.

I graduated high school and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I enjoyed playing volleyball but had no idea what job I wanted or what to major in so I could not justify going into debt at college to play volleyball (and find a husband) only to not major in something I loved and was passionate about.

I had gone to Mexico shortly after I graduated high school for about 4 weeks and I lived in an orphanage because long-term missionary work was on my heart. But I was so homesick, I just couldn't make it work. I came home still not knowing what do with my life. All my friends were preparing to head to college and I had my job at the local grocery store.

Truth be told, I wanted to be a mom. And a wife. And that's what I envisioned for my life. I wanted to have lots of babies and be a homemaker. But you don't need a degree for that. 

My mom and dad helped me with some soul-searching to see what I could do with my life and they pointed out how I always loved to do hair. I was always experimenting with hair and makeup on myself (and others.) My dad and I toured a beauty school that Friday afternoon and I began classes that following Monday. And thus, began my journey as a cosmetologist. I graduated in 2006 and worked at various salons for a few years.

God brought me my incredible husband and we are now on baby #6 and I am LITERALLY living my dream. I stopped working at the salon after our second baby and just continue to do hair on the side. It's been a wonderful trade to have as I am constantly changing up my own hair and have the capabilities to do my kids hair. It's been a money saver, for sure! And I didn't break the bank in debt to be qualified for my license. (+ I obtained it in about 1 years time.)

All that being said, I found myself exactly where I had always imagined and married to a wonderful provider who takes care of the kids and I and I didn't even have to use my skills to bring in an income. And in the past 4 years, God has opened the door to so many more beautiful life-giving opportunities. 

I have been building my own business from home and its been incredibly enriching and tremendously FUN! I've been doing it all from home. While raising and homeschooling my kids. Sure, it takes time and it is hardwork but I absolutely adore it all.

I run a Young Living Essential Oils business from home and have a team of over 500 people I help educate and some to help build their own businesses. I run a website and blog which ties into my Instagram. I feel social media is a mix of ministry + business and I love every minute I get to spend pouring into it. I have a small Etsy shop that is just for funsies but ends up being quite profitable as well. All while writing my first book I hope to publish in the near future. Along the way, I get to partner and collaborate with some amazing people and band together to make a difference in peoples lives. And all of that, I do FROM HOME, and did not require any type of college degree. Nope. Just me. Just personal + professional development. Just having the heart and hustle to pursue it. Just opening up my heart and mind to the new doors God opened for me. And saying YES.

And I say all this to express that there isn't a one way method to do things anymore. The world is changing and growing and there are so many possibilities for our children in this world. I'm a HUGE advocate of network marketing now. I LOVE entrepreneurship. And I love every piece of what I get to do each day. So, whether my kids want to go to college or start their own business or travel the world, I want those opportunities to be there. And I want to foster an environment for them to explore those aspects now as they are young. To have the time and freedom to search for the things that make their soul soar. 

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Instead of spending our days studying complex math facts and studying the facts of a historical figure to make sure and get 100% on the test they will take, I want to spend our time living life and learning their passions through experience and actual interest. If their heart leaps when learning about history then that will be where our time is spent. If their naturally inclined as a math whiz, we will keep focus there. And yes, while still learning the basics of what we should know in certain subjects. But I will no longer be tied down to the 4-8 hours a day of endless researching and memorizing of pointless facts beyond what our natural abilities need to know. I want them to flourish in their natural gifts and talents and find new things that they are drawn to in life. While teaching life skills and beneficial skills to utilize in life. 

I want to raise disciples for Jesus. I want them to grow a deep love for the Lord and shine the love and light of Christ wherever they go. 

And you know what else? Having a buttload of freetime for PLAY. Having the freedom to play and imagine and create and build and dream. Yes. All of that. Lots of time for that. 

My point of sharing a bit of my story is that I became an entrepreneur without any prior knowledge, experience or degrees. I didn't go to college. I'm bringing in income from home while doing everything I love. And I wasn't previously trained in anything. By the grace of God and his divine plan and purpose for my life, I've been able to thrive and hustle and enjoy the entire process. I always looking for ways to better who I am, grow in my entrepreneurial journey and expand all that I am doing. I didn't need a college certificate or a title before or after my name to be successful. And I've been able to match my husbands 40+ hour a week, 9-5 income as well. That alone shows me how much possibility there is in life. 

Whatever your path is, rock it, enjoy it and I'm applauding you along the way. The "normal" route just wasn't my path. And I could have felt unworthy or unqualified but I love what God has done in my life and how He keeps inspiring me to reach higher heights. So, with my high school diploma, I can confidently say that are so many other routes to take in life to find passion + success.

And I get to show my kids that every day. I get to show them balance between my hustle and my breathing and nurturing time. I get to show them that they don't have to be just one thing. That they don't have to be away from their families all day every day. I get to show them a different way of life, and if they choose to follow that path, awesome. If they find passion on another route, I know God will work in their lives for HIS good in anything they choose to glorify Him.

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And so right now, in their childhood, we can begin to cultivate that culture. And it's freakin' awesome. Like.... seriously fun. 

You guys. Legitimately. Every day feels like a Friday. That is a really good feeling.

Here's another concept to grasp hold of:

You know how you pay money to go learn a cool new thing?

Like how to paint? Or how to make ceramics? Or how to brew your own beer from home? Whatever it is. Whatever tickles your fancy. And while you are doing it, it’s super fun! And you enjoy learning this newfound skill or hobby. And you remember the concepts you learned in that time. And you desire to  dig even deeper into it. It ignites something in you.

You want to go home and do a little research. Maybe get some supplies and practice what you learned. Sometimes, it even turns into a great passion. Maybe even a business venture because it just did something to your soul and everything fell into place. And it all just started with exploring something new.

 

Now, during that event or class, you didn’t have to be read a script and structurally taught the tactic. But you learned for experience and actually DOING it. It was an entire creative process. And you didn’t have to study and memorize facts about it and then take a test that you needed to get a good grade on to prove you understood it, right? You just got to learn by living it.

That’s how I want life + education + homeschooling + learning to be for my kids NOW. That is is how I view unschooling. Exploring new concepts and finding passion through the natural process of experiencing it firsthand. Finding enjoyment and pleasure in the actual act of living it out and no pressure of test-taking and grade-giving to create a standard of our knowledge. (I know, there may be a time and a place) but with the flexibility we have as unschooling homeschoolers, I'm going to exercise that right of the beautiful creative process.

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I think this has been something festering in my soul for a while now. I think this has been a long time coming. But I never knew it was an actual "thing." I just always thought I was super weird for thinking the way I did.

I've never really been impressed with titles. Seeing "Dr." in front of a name or a bunch of letters after someones' name never meant much to me. Not like I didn't place much value on education, but... I just viewed things very differently. Titles were never important to me. 

And I've heard people say before things like, "I don't want the opinion of a blogger, I want the science behind the matter." And for me, my mind just doesn't flow that way. I kinda like hearing the wisdom behind experience. Not just the proof of studying hard and passing tests. I like hearing the opinions of someone who has been there. (I'm talking about regular life things, not about heart surgery. Bare with me. Of course I would want a qualified + experienced doctor operating on me and my loved ones.)

That being said, I just always thought there were other ways of doing things. I didn't like how our educational systems were set up. I always felt like there was more to life than going to school all day every day for 20+ years. There had to be a different way.

I don't know how the whole "unschooling" thing fell into my lap. God, no doubt. And all of sudden, I discovered I wasn't the only one who had felt this way. I wasn't a total weirdo. (I'm still quite weird, but just not the only one.) There are others who desired this life of LIVING. And so, I've just been trying to immerse myself into it and naturally educate myself on what that can look like. And wow, it's a beautiful concept.