Saturday, October 17, 2009

learning not required

(S'pose I'll post this to both Happy and Free and OLM-- there are different readers.)

Sometimes it might take two minutes.
' might take me two days.
Might even take me a couple of weeks.
But eventually
it always comes down to

My children are entitled to Joy
and I Choose Joy
and learning should be had in Joy.
Personal philosophy.

Some might say narcissistic or hedonistic....
and maybe that's true...
prob'ly it is.
But for me it's imperative.
I believe in a God (Universe, All) that is abundant
never condemning
and constant in the loving.
I strive to be the same for my children.

So somewhere in here is where I find What Works For Us (what serves us well).
in here, too,
I also find
What Does Not.
It's sooooo easy when it's like today.
When the children (and the Mama - imagine that! rolls eyes at herself)
are so happy
-and dashing
and digging
and Inquisitive.
So easy.

Thank God I get these days, for these days and moments are what I live for.

The other ones--
blech. The other ones.
I've picked them apart enough to know that they feel nothing like today.
Those days are so heavy. Wearing armor.
They're full and full some more of Fear
and its companion, Ego
and I just wish they'd let me be.
As I long to let my children Be.
(To be fair to myself I should say that it's not always Days that are like this, sometimes it's just a Moment, and I can pretty easily dismiss it.)

The Experiment.

The difference around here in what is Working (learning in Freedom, Love, and Joy), and what is Not Working (worrying it's Not Good Enough, fearing the love of discovery has come to an exhausted end, letting a stranger's -or even a friend's- judgment stand in place of my own) is easiest for me to pinpoint in the How.

The What is not an issue. The What is what The Experiment was about. If I had my hands off, how would a day look? Turned out to look very familiar. Never mind that we didn't go to Chuck E Cheese or to see an irritating cartoon film at the dollar movie (I didn't think of them to offer to Trev)-- our days are peppered aplenty with that sort of thing.
I'm supposing that our days are pretty much what my children would choose for themselves even if I didn't ask "Want to?"

So... The How.
The How is where the joy lies.

There is "Here, let's get out this new kit, and do the first experiment, shall we?" and there is "Want to check this out with me and see what's in it?" and "Oooh... what does this do?" And skipping straight to the mystery sticky pink thing in Experiment #9.

There is "Woh! You gotta come see this!" and there's "It's time for an experiment..." (All of which I've said often enough. Some more than others, thank goodness.)

They might look the same.
Might even get roughly the same results.
But I'll tell you what...
They don't feel the same.

So I was talking about leading (there was something about a statement that said Unschoolers -er, rather unschooling Mama's- don't lead, which I say is Nonsense)... and I count all of the above scenarios as leading. Not leading to me would be no suggestions whatsoever. That would mean waiting until a friend called to say "Wanna play?" instead of ever offering "Shall we see if friends wanna play at the park today?" It would mean always having my children with me at the store to say "this looks interesting, can we get it?" instead of tossing an exotic fruit or science kit into my basket because it's something I like or am excited by or think they will enjoy.

So, yes, I lead. And I follow. And sometimes I'm the coal tender.

And when it's right
it's so right.

And that's the way I want it.
I want it Right
and I want it natural
(nature flowing to and from our family as a soulful unit and as individuals)
and I want it in Joy.

Not fear.
Not ego.

Again and again and again
I choose Joy.
And I'm gonna do it like I wrote it, dammit.


  1. I. Just. Love. You. This was ALMOST as good as meeting you in person for a hot cuppa. Thank you for spending some thinks on something that revolves around and around in my mind so much these days - I have no local models for this and so the doubts are large and frequent, and this is just so helpful. Gush.

  2. What a nice post. I have been baffled by this notion that unschooling parents never lead--I love the way you described it...of course we lead, AND we follow. And our kids do the same.

    And yes to the JOY! hurray!

  3. LOVE this! I'm choosing joy too :D

  4. Well said. Having children doesn't mean that we have to give up our own personalities and interests, we a just other members of the learning community within our families.

  5. Slim Pickins - gushing right back at you.

    * * *

    Hope it's clear these thoughts are not judgments of others experiences and interactions... I am only plainly speaking of my own. I am aware that there are philosophies and wishes that are different from mine, and I do not believe that they are less joyful or loving...
    I only seek what is True and right for us.

  6. Oh Stephanie, you do not have to remind us that these are not judgments. Those of us that have been coming here for a while know they are not. :) You and I live different ways, but I always see your joy and I think you see my joy too. And really, we are not that different.

    Your words are lovely and touch my heart. I enjoy getting a little look into your world. Go for the joy my friend. xx

  7. Lovely post.

    Thanks for sharing with us what works for your family and standing in that truth without any judgement.
    Do what works I say !!

  8. beautiful words, Stephanie! Here's to Joy!

  9. I love this.
    Joy and Happiness are not the goals of the department of education, but they certainly are around here.

  10. I'm always so impressed with how you do things. I have had kids now for 2 decades and sometimes I find the joy and sometimes I don't. I'm so glad that you discovered so early what makes true joy... and I hope you keep that attitude when they get older. I think you are exactly right when you say that ego and fear stand in the way of true joy. I need to quit worrying so much about what other's think... because I do worry.

    Thanks for the reminder! :-)

  11. Thank you for this post. It is an important reminder and just what I need at the moment.

  12. Big yes to joy.
    It has to feel right...otherwise well I's not.
    Yay for you and yay for your leading and following!

  13. Love your manifesto! Joy is what I strive for as well. Openness, presence, connectedness...

    Good stuff!


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!