We would like to extend our hand of friendship to welcome you to our blog, website, and social media pages. In this first post, we want to share our story of how we came to this place of advocating for the legalisation of alternative education in Cyprus.
You can visit the ‘About Us’ page to read our bios and over the next weeks, we will take time to each share our story of how we came to be doing what we are doing.
In the meantime, I will sum it up in this way.
We are a small group of passionate women, who have experienced the injustice of a forced ‘one- size- fits- all’ unnatural education system. We have experienced it ourselves in our childhoods and we have witnessed it as our children have tried to navigate the impossible path of fitting in to a system that focuses on conformity, authoritarianism, age segregation, unhealthy socialisation, punishment, forced learning, and the taking away of the freedoms that allow a child to develop naturally.
We are the mothers who stopped to ask why this is the only way, we are the women who watched our children grow, play, laugh, explore, experiment , discover and develop naturally just as nature always intended, just as we are wired to do without interference. And we are the ones who noticed how our children changed once enrolled in conventional schooling, how they lost their thirst for knowledge, their autonomy, their critical thinking skills, their curiosity and their creativity. How they were made to compete in order to learn instead of encouraged to collaborate, share knowledge, explore and learn in community just as in the real world, or how they were coerced with silly reward charts or threatened with punishments.
Our questioning led to discovering other parents who felt the same, in Cyprus, the UK, and all over the world. This set us on a path of learning about alternative education, meeting other parents who chose a different way, their way, a way that suited the needs of their child, the needs of their family and their visions for their lives. We met many of these parents, learned about their stories, met the children and met with experts who advocate for alternative education with proven research, data, evidence.
We dug deep into the history of how forced (Compulsory) schooling ever came to be with its own short history of a couple of hundred years. The shocking information we discovered helped us understand that in truth all through history up to the last couple of hundred years, all children were educated ‘alternatively’, meaning naturally. That children are born wired to develop without teaching and they have all the means to fully learn what they need to learn. That when left to their own way, they will learn to read, write, do maths, learn skills, grow into independent citizens. That we are all wired to do the same.
It was the need to ‘train’ children for the industrial revolution, the need for hundreds of thousands of conforming, unquestioning, human robot factory workers, that led to the creation of schools as we know them today. But today we don’t need those workers because we have machines doing much of that work. Today we have a fast moving information- rich, global, digitally connected world and instead of preparing children for life in this REAL world, we are institutionalising them to continue learning using those archaic, outdated systems that were designed for one purpose and one purpose only. Unquestioning conformity.
This realisation, coupled with our own experience of watching our children thrive in a non -school setting, empowered us to help other parents learn about alternative education. It inspired us to give children back their childhoods. It motivated us to come together in unity to pioneer these ideas in our beloved Cyprus and to see a change in our society. It energised us to invest our personal funds, time and resources while working around our children, jobs, businesses and homes so that you can benefit now, so that your children can regain their freedom, their uninterrupted play time, their re-connection to their families, so you could get your families back now, not in the future and so that future generations will benefit.
Data suggests that most children educated using alternative education ideas (home education, unschooling, self directed education, democratic non- coercive schools, etc) follow an entrepreneurial path and it is this entrepreneurial spirit and energy that will turn our economy around, that will bring about change to our island, new ideas, innovation, creative solutions. Data also suggests that children educated alternatively, are less likely to be diagnosed with learning disabilities since they develop at their own pace and learn when their brains are ready .
Our desire is to make a way for you to have the choice, to have options of how you want your children to be educated, to tap into the variety of ideas, philosophies and methods and not be afraid of your children failing. We have walked this path, we understand the fears, challenges, uncertainties that come with following a non conventional path. We are here to inform you, support you, answer your questions, connect you to resources and other parents as well as experts. We have many exciting plans for the future and we look forward to all that is ahead as we pioneer a new way that will benefit children and families and open pathways for children to realise their dreams, goals and passions.
It is time to start questioning, to start noticing, to stop conforming and aligning to outdated systems that don’t work for many children. It is time to consider other ways, to demand more choice, to have the freedom to follow the way that is best for you and your family even if that does mean conventional schooling. It is about choice and not force, after all we live in a democratic society, don’t we?