“Everybody has been unschooled at some time or another in their life, simply because unschooling is how we learn naturally, without a teacher.”Danelle 2017 – Weed ’em and Reap.
After my meeting with Wendy today I thought I needed to articulate more why I felt that I needed to call the project ‘Unschooled’ .
Put simply, ‘Unschooled’ is a term used in the pedagogical world meaning an educational method that is similar to child-led learning or autonomous education.
I was looking for a title to use with the tag line ‘A Heuristic Study’ . I chose Unschooled for a number of reasons; this pedagogical method being one of many I am visually recording in this project, the fact that it is a term that will generate interest from the wider pedagogical worlds as well as the home-educating community , but also and most importantly, that anyone that sees this title with or without an image from the project, will have a good idea what it is about.
Wendy mentioned that she did not think it was the right title for the project, that it could be seen as a negative by people.
My initial thoughts were that, at the moment I am of the opinion that the title doesn’t matter too much, I am so preoccupied with the sheer immensity of the work load I have, I felt like I didn’t have space to even think about the title.
However, I have thought about this more since the meeting, and actually I don’t agree with what I said, the title IS important, but it certainly isn’t the most important thing. I think what I meant was, I believe the project is strong enough to stand on it’s own, the title is much further down the list than even secondary.
The project consists of multiple individually titled projects after all, so the ‘Unschooled’ is just an umbrella term for them all to sit under.
It is also important to say, that I did think about this title a LOT. It wasn’t a snap decision. I have known that the project was going to be called this I think, for months, I was just trying to ignore it, repress it, because honestly, I didn’t want to call it this.
I have very negative connotations attached to the word school, so every part of me was screaming not to do it. I am aware that some outside of the home-educating community may well take it as a negative (as well as inside as well!) , and I have thought about this a lot since the meeting, and I can only say that I have come to the conclusion, and say bravely and uncensored, I don’t care.
I am not bothered if people make a snap decision about a project on a title and decide not to watch it, for they are not my audience, and they were never going to be. If someone feels negatively about it , but then looks at the project thats great, they may learn something, they may be educated, they may hate it, they may love it.
I am ok with some people taking an instant dislike to my work, or having an instant and strong reaction to it.
People will always do that , with art, with words, with titles, it doesn’t matter , or rather it doesn’t matter negatively, it is a good thing. All engagement is good, especially strong engagement , either one way or another.
My project will very subtly anger a lot of people. Inherently people are annoyed by home-education, they are frustrated, angry and defensive. A LOT of people are offended by home-education , because , whether they verbalise it or not, they take it personally. Somewhere deep down , there is an assumption that if I choose to home-educate, I must be judging your decision to send your child to school, and by extension I must be judging your parenting.
This isn’t true, but it isn’t my duty to make everyone feel comfortable, or happy, it is my job to tell the story I want to tell in the way I want to tell it. Whatever I choose to represent, or show, or how I choose to title my project, there are going to be people who will dislike it.
I just have to be comfortable with that.
The below is an article from the guardian, which interviews a family unschooling ‘successfully’ as well as two prior children who were ‘unschooled’ , however I would argue this label for them, as unschooling and ‘doing nothing with your children’ is a very very different thing ! but it is a good article for context.
Danelle. Read em and Reap blog. Available at https://www.weedemandreap.com/what-is-unschooling/ (Accessed 3.3.2021)
Parkes, Alison. 11.10.2016. The guardian. Rise of the home ‘unschoolers’ – where children learn only what they want to. Available at https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/oct/11/unschool-children-monitor-home-schooling-education (Accessed 3.3.2021)