As a little girl growing up in Greenland I attended a Greenlandic preschool or kindergarten if you want. I did not like it very much. For many reasons. Luckily my parents did not make me go very often, they worked changing shifts and there was always someone at home who could stay with me. And so I enjoyed life growing up in a, mostly, happy home; I went exploring the vast Greenlandic outdoors, I played with all the dogs running free in the area, I climbed mountains and snowy hills, played with the other kids in the area, skied, sled, build snow caves, had snow fights, went fishing, played with my toys, experimented with all the foods I could find in my parents’ kitchen etc. I had FUN!
But, sometimes, I had to go to that dreaded place; the kindergarten. A place with grownups who didn’t like me, or rather, who didn’t care about me. Who were only there because they had to work somewhere. I think, like most of the kids there, I just assumed that was how the world worked; you had to go to a place where the grownups made you eat things you did not want to eat, where they told you to sleep even though you weren’t sleepy and they scolded you if you were late. Even though you were not the one who’s responsibility it was to be on time.
I had one friend in my Kindergarten, another girl who was a little older than me. And tougher. We had a lot of fun together playing and running around, we had sleepovers and candy orgies and whatever else little kids love. She is the only friend I remember from my kindergarten. The other kids liked to bully and call me names and I mostly tried not to interact with them. I simply kept to myself. It really wasn’t very fun.
And so I came to love my free time and dread the times when I was confined in the prison-like kindergarten along with my fellow underage inmates. I was always just waiting, longing, HOPING I would be picked up early that day.
If I could have asked myself back then if I would leave my own child in a daycare or kindergarten I wouldn’t have hesitated once; the answer would have been an ear crashing NO!
Yet now than I am a grownup and have a daughter myself. I did not even hesitate once to put her in daycare when she was very young and then later in kindergarten and when she was old enough to start worrying about it I started looking for a school I thought would be a nice place for her to learn. I did not even stop to think. I just did what all the people I knew did. I said to myself “this is what you do” and I did it. Until I didn’t. Or don’t. I have come to the conclusion that many wiser people have come to before me and faster than me: kids do not belong in places like preschools, daycares or kindergartens, they belong with their parents and they belong where life is not full of rules. At least any time that is possible that should be where the children are: with happy people who love them, listen to them and take the time to be with them.
So, I am embarking on a journey down the path less taken, I am taking matters into my own hands, I am going to trust my instincts. I am going to unschool my daughter. The preparations, or deschooling if you like, has commenced as I am writing, actually we started a week ago. And I am preparing for lots of criticisms from my surroundings. Brace yourself with me, dear reader (if you exist) and enjoy the bumpy ride 😉