Homeschooling and unschooling both work because of the chaos they cause. Children, by nature, tend to be chaotic. As we get older, we begin to like the calm, the regular, the predictable. And into that step our children. This is good although not always fun.
Chaos Can Be Beautiful
Telling someone like me that chaos can be something to look forward to is not easy. I like my organized, scheduled, predictable life. But a book came across my path recently which did exactly that.
In The Chaos Imperative, the authors Brafman and Pollack talk about a term that I have grown to love – organized chaos. Because when I think about it, that’s exactly how our days look: yes, we do have some basic things we do each day. The children are responsible for making breakfast and some chores, but for the most part, they have to choose and figure out how to add meaning to their day.
Throughout the book, the authors call attention to the fact that it is not careful planning that leads to intelligence and creativity but rather some form of confusion or “white space,” as they refer to it. One specific example they mention is Japanese schools and their long recesses. Another is the neurobiology of how we get our ideas when we are being truly creative.
Organization IS important, but…
The caveat of course is that life is not to be one hazard after another. They tell the readers to “organize serendipity” – basically, create environments where people have some structure, but then within those, set time aside for micro white spaces.
That is what I set out to do with our style of classical unschooling. Too much structure brings me down, as do arbitrary rules, even when the children clearly need them. So I give them just enough and let them figure out the rest.
If you want to know more about how I apply organized chaos, read my books here: