Junior Unschooling Dads, Testimonials

Rob Nielsen – Online Education and Training

Online Education and Training, Utah, USA

Being a good husband and father is the core of my life. I am a working professional, but I aspire to become financially independent. My wife and I have two children.

My experience with school and educational environments includes: “public” [government] k-12 schools (student, employee), homeschool (student and parent), charter schools (employee), non-accredited private k-12 schools (student), credit by examination (student), computer networking training company (student), missionary language training (student), private university (student), public university (student), online language course vendor (employee), for-profit online vocational training (employee), for-profit nursing college (employee), and not-for-profit online competency-based accredited university (employee).

I consider the proper education of my children to be my top priority. My children are currently 9 (girl) and 6 (boy). We provide an environment and opportunities to learn at home and in our community every day. We also travel, play, and explore things together. What we don’t do is schedule time each day to do worksheets, memorize arbitrary lists of things, or demand compliance from our children. We treat them as individuals who deserve our respect, but happen to also require significant guidance from us in addition to the love and general support we offer. Since I am an experienced expert in education, curriculum, and assessment, I know what is best for my children, and that is freedom and assistance when asked.

Since I am at work during typical work hours, my wife is primarily responsible for supervising the children during the day. They are still young, but as they get older, they are becoming more and more responsible for their own goals and how they spend their time. I will become increasingly involved as they get into the teenage years, when we will have more serious discussions about what they want to do with their adult lives and how they can best prepare for the future.

One of our biggest challenges has been striking a balance between letting the kids be kids, providing opportunities to learn and grow, and over-scheduling or providing a structure that is too rigid. Part of the point of not going to a school is to learn to think for yourself, which includes self-awareness, responsibility, trial-and-error (also known as the scientific method), goal setting, and more. These things only truly develop to their potential in an environment of freedom and natural consequences. I think you could fairly consider us an unschooling family. We are also committed to peaceful parenting, which means that we consider ourselves coaches, mentors, and exemplars in our children’s lives and do not resort to violent or manipulative consequences like physical punishment or shaming.

We have not encountered too much resistance in our choice to teach our children at home, and any concerns from friends and family are easily cleared up with just a few minutes of conversation.

I don’t foresee any roadblocks, but I will honor the choices of my children as they grow. If they choose to be involved in some formal school activity, they are free to choose that. However, I doubt that the freedom and empowerment they experience at home will make them likely to choose to jump on a conveyor belt for long. It could also be a great learning experience in that it will provide contrast for what they have experienced at home and give more context and meaning to ongoing conversations about how the world works.

As part of showing that learning is just a natural part of a healthy life, I continue to pursue goals of my own, such as learning languages, organizing and building things, reading and writing regularly, playing music, and much more. My ultimate goal is that my children will be able to live independently and pursue truth and happiness in a lifestyle of their choosing. I will always be a part of empowering that whether my children live under my roof or not.

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Rob Nielsen

About Rob Nielsen

Rob Nielsen got his M.Ed in Instructional Technology and has been working in online education and training for about 10 years. He can be found online at Facebook.com/rob.nielsen.71.

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