Rebeca Zavaleta

"There's the above reason, but there's also a sense of the continuity of
trusting a child to learn and providing a warm, supportive atmosphere that
doesn't stop just because children reach compulsory school age. So often
we'll say to new unschoolers or those thinking about it, "how did your child
learn to walk, to talk, etc.". In that sense most of us do unschool our
children from birth--some just lose that sense of trust and give in to the
anxiety-producing rhetoric of experts."


I've been thinking about your post and how it relates to my family's
evolution as unschoolers. My daughter was in the public school system from
age 3. She was "labeled" with a neurological disorder. That label did help
me find information and learn why she experienced the world differently.
When you're in a situation like that you are so hungry for info. I believed
the "experts" in the medical and school community. I became the "expert"
for my daughter. I fought school officials to make sure that she was well
cared for (and they complied, but it was always a fight). 2 years ago I
decided that I knew what was best, and that a radical change was needed
because she was so unhappy. If I had known about homeschooling earlier, it
would have been a blessing. She needed her family 24 hours a day. She
needed to be close to us to help her. She told me that in a variety of ways
and the answers I found were never enough. She needed me, her mom, all day

I homeschooled her (schooled her at home) and found that amazingly all her
coping problems and learning disabilities shrunk away. After a year and a
half we discovered that she could learn at her own pace, on her own with
minimal support. She had to be given permission, in a way, to think for
herself and believe in herself. While we were doing a reading comprehension
exercise in the beginning days she said "Mommy can I look around the room?"
Of course, this is your house, what are you talking about? "Because I was
never allowed to look around at school. They would get upset with me. I
wasn't allowed."

Her brother was in Kindergarten and VERY bored with it. He was a model
student, but told me it was KILLING him. He could see me taking a radical
new approach with his sister, so he decided that school was not for him on
his own. He was able to articulate why school was dampening his spirit -
for instance, he would say that if he wanted to stand and eat lunch, he
wasn't allowed to. If he didn't want to eat, it didn't matter, he still had
to. But he noticed that if you are sneaky and throw your unwanted lunch out
unnoticed, then you could play. These things and many more bothered him.

Until I started unschooling, I knew NOONE who did it. I was totally alone.
Trusting your gut is SO important. Acting on your convictions is even MORE
important. I'm so glad that I am able to pass along what I've recently
learned as an adult to my young children. It is so heartwarming to hear of
others who can see situations clearly, through the rhetoric. Children are
not small adults, pets or furniture. They are treasures. They belong at
home with their families, learning and laughing.

Danielle, you're right, unschooling does begin at birth. And it can be
unschooled. My family is proof.

Rebeca Z.

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