|Children WANT to act in adult ways, so it's important for unschooling parents to be the sort of adults children want to emulate, right then. Not when they grow up, but now.|
photo by Sandra Dodd
|Wonder is great—that kind of respectful awe. But if you were in a state of wonder all the time, that would be bafflement.|
The note above was written on a piece of paper I was carrying around with me. Probably I was working on a presentation on wonder. I like the word "bafflement" and I liked "befuddled," but try not to stay in those states long, because your kids need for you to be clear and sharp.
It is amazing that the epiphanies seem to come so frequently in this life. The other day I was baking a cake and David got back from the grocery store and had to deal with the leaking coolant on the car and needed help putting the groceries away. I was up to my elbows in batter and asked Simon and Linnaea if they could help. They both came in and put all the groceries away and went back to what they were doing. It was so sweet, so not coercive, so not eye-rolling. Just this generous gift of service. It came with an epiphany, an underscoring of these unschooling side effects that I see and read about from other people.
As you say, the proof is in the living! The rightness, the evidence, the closeness, the joy, those are all found in this life. You can read about them, but to experience them you have to get down on your hands and knees and play and hang out and tell stories and cuddle and talk and share and be willing to listen and to apologize and to work to make it better. And if you can do that without any other intention than enjoying being with them, without any ulterior motives, it plays out in ways that nothing else that I've ever seen does.
|Plain milk tastes WAY better if it's your choice than it does when it's plain because someone else wouldn't let you put chocolate in it.|
Without free choice, how can a person choose what is plain and good?
Wed, Jul 28, 1993"Can't" sounds pretty permanent. We were careful not to say, in our kids' hearing "Marty can't read." We would cheerfully say, "Marty doesn't read yet" (or Kirby, or Holly). With that, every time it was discussed we were clearly indicating that we thought the child WOULD read before long, and it was not a concern. They were certainly learning in many other ways, as anyone close enough to discuss their reading could see!
The first thing [Marty] said after “good morning” was “Mom, if you count to infinity, is it illegal?”
I explained to him about infinity, with a million plus one and a “gadillion” plus one. He was fine with the explanation, and I said, “Who told you you can’t count to infinity?” He said I did, so I explained the difference in things that are impossible and things that are illegal (have consequences)
|When my kids were little we went to the zoo one day when the primates were being fed and they had been given big trays of cut up fruit. It looked good; I guess we were hungry. When we got home I made a "monkey platter" for the kids, and it has been called that ever since.|
|Logical-mathematical intelligence applies not just to straight-out numbers, but to seeing and thinking in patterns, and of being scientific and analytical. Clarity of thought is logical/mathematical as surely as being a numerical whiz is.|
|There are several sayings about the journey of a lifetime beginning with a single step and such. One step isn't the beginning of a journey if you keep one foot in the yard. You have to get away from the starting point completely.|
|"I will always remember something Richard Prystowsky said about being a
peaceful parent...something about the way to become a peaceful parent was to be
peaceful. There was no path, you just had to BE peaceful.|
"It's really that simple. Slow down and make room for peace amongst all the mess and fun and tasks and STUFF. All of that daily stuff is your practice, so make it peaceful and happy and there ya go!"
Without choices, they can't make choices. Without choices they can't make good choices OR bad choices. In too many people's minds, "good" is eating what parents say when parents say (where and how and why parents say). That doesn't promote thought, self awareness, good judgment or any other good thing.
Food is for health and sustenance. Eating with other people can be a social situation, ranging (on the good end) from ceremonial to obligatory to courtesy. There's no sense making it hostile or punitive.
|"Even though my mind believes in my childrens' abilities, my heart sometimes need some validation. And every time one of my children does something for the first time, completely of their own volition, my heart leaps and then pumps joy to every cell in my body. Each time this happens the truth: that children will learn all they need to, in their own time—becomes etched a little deeper in my bones. And this is where the magic lies—not so much in the "firstness" of each new skill or idea, but in the fact that they completely own these moments."|
Live like you're their last hope.
|"Unschooling is not an easy educational and lifestyle choice. It takes energy and dedication to do it well. But it is absolutely a viable alternative to the conventional system—even more so with each passing year. It focuses on each person as an individual and breathes life into the concept of lifelong learning. It also calls for developing strong relationships with your children—relationships that will last far beyond their compulsory schooling years. It's life."|
|I learned early on to say, "This is what we're doing for now," or "It's working now. If it stops working, we'll do something else."|
|"The other day Linnaea commented that she thought she and Simon would have struggled at school. I replied that I thought everyone struggled a bit with school, but they would have figured out their way in time. What I didn't say was how I don't know if I would have grown into the parent I am today, the generous and joyful parent that I am, if I hadn't chosen unschooling. I think it is possible to be a generous and joyful parent with schooled children, but it is harder to rebuild yourself in the ways that I feel I have done, slowly, incrementally, with unschooling."
in a passing discussion
|One of my intentions from way back, before unschooling came around in our lives, was to keep the tone of the house light and happy.|
If you're living in the future too much—
in the future that you're imagining,
in the future that you're predicting,
in the future that you would like to imagine you can control,
in the future that you'd like to imagine you can even imagine,
that's a problem.
If you bank on the future, literally, that's a good idea. Savings is a good idea. I'm not saying not to have life insurance or things like that—that's great. But banking on it figuratively can be a big problem.