A post for Unschooling Voices
The question being:
How has unschooling changed YOU? Yes, it’s about the kids, but is it ONLY about the kids? I sometimes think unschooling has changed me more than them. What are your thoughts?
I had to answer this. How has unschooling changed ME? Wow. I guess my first response to that is, how has it not changed me. Really. It has changed me in so many ways. Or it has allowed me to be a person I never really allowed my self to be. It has brought me out. I really believe that unschooling got that evolutionary ball rolling for me, I'm continually evolving into me. :)
Unschooling has so affected our lives in a whole encompassing way, its almost overwhelming thinking about it. Unschooling has brought joy into our lives, in a way that we never knew was possible.
I remember sitting at the computer writing to UD (Unschooling Discussion) about how happy we were since I had found unschooling. It was late at night and the kids were dancing around, the whole family was laughing and dancing and singing. It sounds like nothing now, but at that moment I realized something, we hadn't had that all out joyful, free, fun life. How liberating its been.
That almost makes our previous life seem somewhat sad. Which it was, and it wasn't. We still had happy and joyful moments, but probably only moments. There was more unhappiness and struggles for all of us, and only moments of joy and happiness. Our life has taken an about face. Now our struggles and unhappiness are the moments and the joy and happiness is our norm. :)
This all started when I realized that home "schooling" wasn't working. And why should it when schooling never did, why would I try and replicate something that didn't work. Why would I bring that into my home? So I started thinking about it. When did my kids pick up on something? When did I see that light in their eyes? It was when they were interested in it. When it had some value to them, when they enjoyed what they were doing.
My turning point came when I thought I had done this amazing unit study on Mardi Gras. I went into the whole history of it with them, Fat Tuesday, the geography behind it and even did a craft to wrap it all up. Later on, I was telling someone how great our homeschooling had been going and turned to the kids and asked them to share with this person what they knew about Mardi Gras. (Yes, I was the trainer, they were the monkeys *cry*) What did they remember about it when I wanted them to spew forth the knowledge I had imparted to them? Hehe... They all looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language. "Huh?" they all said. I continued, "remember the Mardi Gras stuff we did? New Orleans, Fat Tuesday?" Still,,"huh?" Then I said, "remember the masks we made?" Kyra and Abbi then lit up and said,,"OH yeah, the masks". Alec still just sat there.
Wow. I knew I needed to find something different. So I did more research on homeschooling. I saw the word unschooling and decided to google it. Well,, I found Sandra Dodd's site and joined some discussion lists and I've never looked back. :)
But, back to my change.
So in learning and reading about unschooling, we decided to let them become more active in their learning, in their lives. We wanted to allow them to be them. We let the control go and saw the continual amazingness in our kids, that.. which before only appeared to us in glimpses.
Well, as you're going along seeing what wonderful things this freedom is bringing your kids you can't help but let it eep into your own being. I started questioning my shoulds. (Things I always felt uneasy with but never really did much about, maybe "those" voices *g*) Shoulds being, things in my life that I did that I really didn't want to be doing. Or things that lurked around in my head saying,,"you should do this" or "you shouldn't do that". I started examining those things. I started to allow myself to say no to things,,"no I don't want to go to that church anymore" (yes, the whole church thing) "no, I don't have to have my house/yard/self look a certain way" "no, I don't care what other people think".
I allowed myself to say no to things, which in turn then actually gave me the opportunity to say yes. Yes, I can be with my kids and enjoy them. Yes, we can do what we want and still learn a ton. Yes, I can be a responsible parent and still be my child's friend.
Maybe that's where unschooling has changed me the most, it has turned a life of limits into a life of possibilites. We now make choices that matter to us in a deep important way. We don't do things because we should do things, we now do things because we want to and think there's a good reason for it. We have found out that our desires and wants correspond with good results. Good results for us and good results for people and things around us.
Some glimpses into our "wide sky life". I want to thank Amy Steinberg for that phrase.
At the Grand Canyon
In Toronto, just enjoying the green grass, oh yeah, and bright sun ;)