Something I learned right away about Radical Unschooling is the power of words. Okay of course I heard the “Sticks and Stones” rhyme all through my childhood, that is not what I am talking about. What I am talking about is the way we can perceive certain words.
Take the words teach and test for example. These two words can be interpreted in several different ways and it would be up to me, the writer, to make sure you, the reader, understand the meaning in which I am using them. However it is words like these that can also contain lots of “baggage” behind them as well(what images come to mind when you hear the word test :)).
So I decided instead of writing about all the “tests” I have been facing on my journey into unschooling I would entitle these posts “Discoveries” of a Unschooler.
Whew these last few months I can not believe all the changes that have transpired around here so quickly. What first started out to be just a little change in how we did things turned out to be a whole new lifestyle(in a very positive way). I think I finally understand what it means to be a radical unschooler and feel confident enough to call ourselves one now(not saying I still don’t have a LOT to learn).
Something I was not expecting to find out along the way was just how HARD radical unschooling really is and I am not talking about the education part. I’m talking about meeting yourself head on and realizing you don’t like what you see.
Becoming a parent doesn’t come with instructions it is an ongoing learning adventure, a” journey” and being a parent to a 21, 10, and 5-year-old what a journey it has been. The only thing we know to do is to do what we were taught by our parents and in some households this is not always a good thing.
I come from a background where control, spanking, and yelling were means to get points across (Papa’s actually was worse). I also come from a time period where children were considered to be unruly and wild and strong discipline was the only way to “control” these habits,” spare the rod spoil the child”.(By the way as I do have family members read my blog I am not pointing fingers or placing blame on anyone. Like I said it is a cycle to do what you learned).
Growing up I knew this was NOT what I wanted with my own children. I mean how many times have I heard “I am not going to be like my parents” yet when the time comes, even though you are not “just” like them, you fall into that same pattern.
That is why this year I decided to work on our families relationship first before anything else. I can see ,just by reading posts from when I first started blogging, how much control I had over our family. Not to mention actually hearing it come from my children’s own mouth. I also can see the damage done to one particular child in general.
I have a child that is still very cautious in being honest with me (this is heartbreaking for me). If she is nervous to tell me she doesn’t want to participate in read-aloud time what else will she hide from me?
Today I woke up full of plans ,for the day, running through my mind. The weather has gone form 100 degrees to 60 in a matter of a day and today turned out to be one of those rainy days. So I thought cuddling up together reading a good story and maybe making some play-doh later would be a great way to beat the rainy day blahs. My daughter however woke up with different plans. I truly wanted to know why she no longer wanted me to read aloud, after all books have played a huge role in our life for a really long time.
It was not easy getting the “truth” from her (in other words “not” what I wanted to hear). You know sometimes the truth can hurt a bit too. Her answer was, “It’s not that I don’t like to read or books but before we really didn’t have a choice and now we do and I am interested in something else right now.” and she is. So as of today ALL read-alouds have been put back on the self.
Little Sis told me she misses being read to and I told her she could come to me anytime and I would read to her. She took me up on the offer and we read her new issue of My Big Backyard from cover to cover.
So what have I learned from all this? Oh where to begin, this post is long enough.
I learned the hard way that if you want someone to truly enjoy something putting restrictions on other things will not make this happen. Without even realizing it I turned my daughter off of reading for enjoyment.
I actually regret putting restrictions on anything now and not just “screens” but food too. These things are part of our world and I learned that protecting them from these things it is not going to help them out later when the time comes for them to make their own choices.
If I want my children to be resourceful or mindful towards the earth, “forcing” them to go along with my way more than likely will not get those results.
My job as a parent is to make a safe place for them to learn about our world where “we” can be the ones to answer any questions they might have.
I learned I must be the “cycle” breaker if I want my children to grow up without having the baggage I did.
I am learning how to be the parent I always wanted, and know what ? It feels really, really good!
Wishing everyone a great week!