Sunday, August 07, 2011

Unschooling

How's that for a narrow title?

Where to begin with something like that?
For me, that's pretty much like entitling a writing "God".
Pretty big.

Okay. Here goes.

I've had lots of disjointed, jumbled thoughts in my head lately - I'd like to say they're gracefully swirling and swaying, but that isn't true. A more apt description would be that they're popping and flashing and zinging.

Thoughts that look like "all roads lead to Unschooling". (I speak for myself and my family, of course.)
And little zaps of something almost intangible that looks like "there are a lot of folks who visit these pages that have never even heard of unschooling... what's the purpose of this blog, again?".
And, best of all, thoughts that aren't making any neon, electrified buzzing noises or flashes at all, but that lie quietly settled at the bottom... and look like that old favorite deliciousness--personal Truth.

I'm not sure why exactly I don't write how-to's for unschooling ('because I don't know what-the-hell I'm talking about' notwithstanding)... I think that the two main reasons are that first I believe absolutely in self-exploration and discovery, and secondly it feels to me that one must be completely infallible in order to be an authority... and the only claim I can lay to that are the things that shine truly in my own mind and heart.

Thus, this blog, I suppose.
Because all of these things -written on these many pages- are just that; things I know for sure.

So with what intention do I write, then?

I think there are a few.
Sometimes the point is that children do... seek, grow, learn, and discover naturally. On their own. Without instruction. Without a lesson plan.
That isn't to say that I believe that children should be left alone to Become on their own... that's not what unschooling is about, and it's not what my own Mothering is about.
Rather than being completely unattached and disconnected individuals, they are a vital part of a family, a community, a world, a city, an ecosystem, a universe, a society, and humanity. I get to show them the world (and tell them of my own Truths and discoveries along the way, certainly), and they get to choose for themselves how they prefer it, shall relate to it and make their way in it.
And in this big, great place of discovering and seeking, there is much freedom in the process of their Becoming, and they do so by being imaginative, inventive, creative, and curious... and shall develop their own ideas about how they themselves should best carry on.
I just get to remind them that that's what they're doing. :)
So these pages become "even when it's this....sometimes there is something beautiful (and maybe as yet unseen) like this going on...."

Sometimes my intention is just to absolutely appreciate this life of ours.
To acknowledge, recognize, and to celebrate childhood magic. To encourage in my family feelings of being limitless and other magical, fantastical things. To celebrate the silly as well as the sublime, and to acknowledge with a nod -be it slowly regal or quick and somewhat begrudging- that all things have their time and place. And to honor well things my children deem important and wondrous, rather than valuing the most things that Others deem fitting or suitable for us.

Sometimes the point is 'There Is Another Way'.
For those of us that get lost (and thoroughly bemused and upside down and disoriented) in The Way Things Should Be (because that is the way things have always been), sometimes it's helpful when we just hear another voice reasonably say There Is Another Way.
There is a way other than being totally stressed out about a child's inability to understand something by an age of which 50% of his peers are capable. A way other than an arbitrary one that says children's minds should be on a conveyor belt, and facsimiled. There is a way and a time for This Child--in love, in glory, and in Joy to come to a seeing. Never because there is something wrong with this child; but rather because we, in our loving, acknowledge and honour this individual mind, heart, and soul. Because we are perfectly willing to and capable of saying I love you. You're so worth it.

And sometimes the purpose of these writings is to say "There was never any other way". There was never a different way possible, because when Trevelyn was two weeks old, I understood that if you let a child (who wanted to) take apart a stove, you'd end up with a child who could build a stove. I recognized that my son wasn't attached to blankets or toys in order to sleep (and still isn't), but that he had to have us. I could see there was a different way from the way I was taught, because I could intuitively feel there was a different and far better way. I always understood that I loved this child more than anyone else ever would, and I could make it my purpose to help this child Shine.

All of these things, for me, are a part of my own spiritual becoming.
I grow because I am here in this life; questioning, mastering, and evolving... intending and seeking to Become the grandest thing and most loving thing I ever imagined myself to Be.
I acknowledge that my children are here to Become and Grow into their own Grandest Version of their own Grandest Vision.

So here I am. Writing about an unschooled life... without mentioning that's what we're doing for weeks at a time.
And here we are. Unschooling.
Living rhythmically,
emotionally,
loudly,
softly,
grandly,
curiously,
and creatively.
Learning and growing everyday in our relationships with each other and in our relationships with our Selves.

There is room here for all self-discoveries, and all quests of the soul.

Yes. Unschooling is pretty big.

16 comments:

  1. BRAVO!!!! <3<3<3 this!!(those are hearts btw, in case they look a little funky).

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  2. :)
    I knew what they were. I'm big on funky hearts.

    And thanks for the cheer. ♥

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  3. Love this Stephanie.
    And may I add that your writing is also inspiration to other unschoolers when they need a little encouragement.

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  4. I just read an article in my paper today stating that as many as 10% of all homeschoolers in North America are "Unschooling". ;-)

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  5. Yes, it's big, and it's vast. I am so glad I found you because when I waiver, and I do, it is usually you who talks me down. Thank you for all of everything you do here.

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  6. I second mamak! I don't typically focus on the fact that we are unschoolers, but sometimes I second guess myself and usually about that time, Stephanie, you usually write something wonderful to make it all better. Thanks for sharing your life with us.

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  7. thank you, miss april nettle!

    wendy - excellent! it's nice that it's becoming a word that people have at least heard of. :)

    kim - big loves to you.

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  8. Beautiful and eloquent as always. I can always "read" your unschooling in the photos and captions, but it's a treat anytime you talk specifically about it. :-)

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  9. Hey Stephanie - we aren't technically "unschoolers" (yet), but your posts, photos and comments on my blog, help us be more relaxed. They help remind me to love unconditionally. They help me to appreciate the little moments in life, and especially the joy in this homeschooling life.

    So "unschool" away! Share away. It's appreciated :-)

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  10. thank you rain-blissed jam!
    it's a relief to have time to string two words together, sometimes. :)

    ingi- I think if i had to name one thing that it was important for me to convey, it would be for people to feel empowered to seek and live their own Truth... to find and be what they would best like to be.
    so thank You! :)

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  11. This has been the weekend of inspirational writing from friends for me. Thank you for adding to the "chapters" of a learning life..(the working title of my weekend.

    Inspiring truly.

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  12. " Unschooling is big " ~ yes, and delightfully so! So many folks help to fill it out and fill it in.

    Thank you for your words today :)

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  13. Exactly. People ask why I don't write about unschooling. And I say I DO. I just don't tell people how to do it or live their lives because it is different for everyone. Yet the same. Exploring and learning and venturing out and trying and doing is different for everyone. Yet the same. Besides, who am I to tell people how to live. What is that saying? Don't tell others how to live, instead and let your life be an example. :)

    Love ya, as you know. :)

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  14. That is such a great post!!!! Love it!!!

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  15. So glad to be reading this. Your words always resonate so deeply within me. Isaac was (and likely still is) the same as Trev - never took to a blanket or stuffie - it had to be me. Never took to a soother...it had to be ME. I knew from the beginning that our way in life was going to look different to many people...but that it was going to be OUR way. It was going to reflect our deepest truth. And that we were going to have a BLAST doing it. Thanks for this inspiration. So much love to you. xoxo

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  16. Oh Stephanie. Thank you for writing this. It's beautiful. You write, and inspire and reaffirm and make me feel clearer about why and how we do what we do. And for every single word I am grateful. So grateful!

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Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!