Enough of unschooling for now

I really like the unschooling path and I want to be there one day. But my reality shows it´s not the best option for now. After 2 months being back home from Costa Rica, we didn’t make any new steady friends and I realized it was harder than I thought, since all kids are in school.

My 5-year old girl can play with 2 boys that are sons of two of my friends. But it´s not very frequent that we meet them and so Luísa was left without kids for many days in a row. She seemed perfectly fine with this. She never wants to leave my side and wasn’t keen on the idea of going to school.

We live in a house a bit far from downtown and we have no neighbors, so it´s a pity that she can´t go and find kids in our street. Playing with other kids involve my full commitment. I want her to be with kids every day, or almost every day. So I had to decide fast if I wanted to give it a go at the local private school before the school year ends in December.

I also was having no time for myself, or for work. Before coming back to Brazil, I thought I´d hire someone to watch her a few days a week, but it just doesn’t make any sense to have a babysitter with no kids around.  Plus it would cost more than school. And since all kids are in school, she would be with another adult most of the time.

She was also watching way more videos at home. Too much for me to bear. And it´s always hard to turn it off. Even though I wrote about letting go of control around TV and sweets, I can´t watch her watching TV for hours. I prefer her going to school then.

School as a way to meet kids

She is back to school, with the main motivation of making friends. It will be only for 3 months this year before they have 2 months of summer vacation. And I thought that it´s best that she can hang out with the school kids before the break, so it´s more likely that she can make friends that she will be seeing during school break.

Back in Costa Rica, where we spent one year and half, we made lots of friends. All of them from school. I guess we wouldn’t have made so many friends so quickly if it wasn’t for school. This is her second week there already. At first, she didn’t want to go at all. She was refusing the idea with all her might.

I kept telling her that she was going to make friends and play and do stuff that could be very interesting for her. I said I needed her in school. I was firm about it and when the time came and I said: ¨Let’s go¨, she went straight to her shoes without resisting and her body made a happy move, like a dance. She was actually enjoying the idea and I felt much more relaxed about it all.

I know schools are not for socialization, even though parents love saying so. In the classroom, they are not supposed to be playing freely and talking to their friends, they are supposed to follow the activity. But for a kindergarten, there’s still room for playing.

She started writing the first day she got there

She told me she wrote her name down. The second day, she said she didn’t want to do letters anymore, because it made her tired. After all that I read on Waldorf education about teaching kids to read and write before the age of 7 being bad and after all the freedom that I saw the kids had in her kindergarten in Costa Rica, I felt a bit anxious.

I asked the principal to not push this on her, and she talked to the teacher, so for now, Luísa is a bit more free when the class sits to do letters, unless she wants to join them. The principal was very cool about it all, about me being uncomfortable with the writing and the different structure that Luísa would be in. She made me feel relaxed with the flexibility she offered me (like leaving Luísa for less hours in school, if I wanted).

Luísa still says she doesn’t want to go. But she puts her clothes on quite fast for someone not wanting to go. And she is pretty happy when I pick her up. I still imagine her in the future staying home and doing what she likes and having friends come over or go to friend´s houses. But for now we are back in school and this is good.