There has been nothing like homeschooling to make me doubt myself. Especially in the unschooling arena.
When you have known "school" your whole life, when you have been told what you have to do, what you have to learn, what society deems appropriate- it is hard to change or rebel against that.
When we first decided to homeschool, I recreated a classroom. It was GREAT! For about two days. It just wasn't exactly what we were looking for, I guess. I kept at it for awhile. It wasn't un-fun, but it certainly wasn't the greatest thing ever. It was very forced. But it did work. We were doing some learning and some playing.
And gradually we started shifting. I never set out to unschool. In fact, I was kind of against it for us. But the more pregnant I got and the more newborn baby-mommy I was, well, it just didn't work. And we slowly started to slide towards interest-based learning. Oh, happy mistake!
At first I felt pretty guilty about it. But then it just became so darn interesting! We were learning on our own! Whatever we felt like looking up that day was what we looked up! Our weeks were made up of mostly field trips. We became very hands on learners!
We still aren't totally unschoolers and I'm not sure we ever will be. I still feel a very strong tug from society about what is appropriate for my children to learn. I still worry that on paper they are very different from their peers. And society makes that paper, not me. So, the paper is skewed towards public school kids. If the paper was all about science, my kids would blow the top off of it. But public school kids get science once a week, if they are lucky. If it were geared toward math, we wouldn't be at the top of the paper. My son certainly wouldn't be able to do 30 addition/ subtraction problems in one minute. I would never give him a worksheet and ask him to do that. It gives me anxiety and I'm an adult. I can't imagine what that does to a first grader.
We still do a little "school work". And I'm okay with that. I have a lot of doubt that we are doing the right thing. But isn't a lot of parenting like that? At the end of the day we just jump with a leap of faith and hope that we land on stable ground.
Homeschooling has been the biggest learning experience of my life! Every thing I believed in not so long ago has changed. The more research I do, the more I know that homeschooling is right for us. And our reasons "why" keep changing. What started out as a way to help my special needs son has grown into a lifestyle. A lifestyle that I can't imagine being without. Our home is such a different place now. Sure, there are down sides. But it is overwhelmingly one of the best decisions we have ever made for our family.