'UK's most unconventional parents' say they won’t teach their children to read or write
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A mum and dad who have have an unconventional parenting style said they won't force their children to learn to read and write.
Mum Adele Allen, 39, from Brighton, and her husband Matt don't believe in the education system and prefer to 'unschool' their three children, Ulysses, 12, Ostara, eight, and Kai, four.
The children are allowed to make their own decisions and are not forced to learn to read and write.
They don't have fixed bedtimes or mealtimes and the parents believe their children have a strong sense of identity as a result of not being told what to do.
Adele, a stay-at-home mum, said: "We got into natural living before we had our kids, so it just became a natural progression that continued and began to affect all of our decisions after I fell pregnant.
"I didn't have any medicalised births, and we started doing things alternatively and out of this system, but they just didn't make sense to us.
"We didn't do vaccinations for our kids, which people say is cruel of us, and we don't use the healthcare system. Instead, we use natural and herbal remedies.
"We also don't use the education system. Instead, we unschool our kids.
"This means they have to show an interest in something for us to explore it with them, instead of following a curriculum and telling them what they are going to learn."
Adele said their parenting style is about allowing to be involved in the decisions on what they learn.
"We believe in child autonomy and enabling kids to take governance of their life, make their own choices, and decide what goes on in their life rather than dictating to them," she said.
"For example, our daughter Ostara started to show an interest in sewing so we bought her a sewing machine and some lessons, and we'll take that as far as she wants to take it.
"We just follow their lead. If they want to do a club and try a new group for a little bit, we just provide that for them.
"Our eldest, Ulysses, is more of an animal and computer person so we take him on trips to sea life centres and animal parks."
Adele said children pick up everything they need to know and claimed her son showed an interest in wanting to read and write aged 10 which led to him teaching himself the skill.
"Our son was ten years old when he began taking an interest in wanting to read and write. He just picked up pen and paper and taught himself.
"He wasn’t bothered about us teaching him. Language is all around them, so they are bound to pick it up."
Adele clarified that there are boundaries and that their parenting style has led to a respectful relationship with her kids.
She added: "I think it can be confused with permissive parenting, where there are no boundaries or guidance, but we do have boundaries just not arbitrary rules.
"We don't want them to spend their life doing what other people are telling them to do.
"We want them to find their passion, and not waste time in their life, so that they know who they are by the time they get around to having kids.