I am constantly shocked by how much research there is to show that kids should not be in school. This is the reason I was able to so confidently unschool my kids through elementary school. Now, with kids who are teenagers, the research is not so clear. Too many variables.
This paper shows that when six- and seven-year olds spend their time in less-structured activities they get more chances to practice having good executive function. Scientists found that kids who chose to spend lots of time on structured activities had worse ability to exercise good executive function.
As an autistic adult I have noticed that there is not very much structure in the real world, so there’s no point in learning to thrive in the super-structure of school. Instead we should teach kids how to create their own structure — which is what we have to do in adult life.
In adult life people are constantly trying to create structure for themselves in order to excel. Sometimes I visit with a woman in my building who paints. Sometimes we walk our dogs together and then she paints pictures of her dog taking over her life. I loved seeing that she has a list of rules for herself to guide her painting.
The way each of us creates our own structure — or doesn’t — shows so much about who we are. Structure reveals what’s important to us.
As kids get older homeschooling seems impossibly difficult and inefficient compared to school. But I love watching kids set up structure for themselves because as an adult that’s been a huge struggle for me.
When I started homeschooling I was excited to get to know them better. And fifteen years later I’m still happy about homeschooling because I’ll get to know my kids better.