A cool thing that we got to experience recently was meeting the lovely Jennifer of The Path Less Taken, and her family, when they came to town in August. Her blog is such a great resource for any homeschooler but especially those who wonder how a Christian can possibly unschool. She's also putting on an unschooling conference which sounds great!
What sparked me to pop back to post....
Recently a delightful Mom sent me an email through the Robinson article I have up. She was asking me about math. The questions she had for me, I was really struggling to answer. I couldn't relate to the questions she had anymore.
Just last night I received a couple emails from friends that I used to post along side in a curriculum based homeschool forum. It was lovely to hear from them. One sweet lady said that a Mom there was asking after me. I popped in really quick and took a peak. What I noticed in a quick once over was familiar topics in most homeschool forums. The titles were things like, guidance on trying something new, asking about what to use for a specific subject, asking how to make something work that doesn't fit their kids, asking if they are doing enough, how long a homeschool day should be, what to do if their kids are behind, how to catch them up, and well so many questions along those lines.
I've noticed now, how I have a really hard time engaging in online and face to face conversations that are about curriculum, classes, and things of that nature. Not in a rude or dismissive way of course. Just in a way where I honestly am not able to mentally connect to that place in myself anymore. It's no longer our "world" so to speak, anymore. And I have a hard time remembering back to when it was.
Not saying that a more traditional school at home mindset is bad or less than. Or that I am judging in any way. But when you step out. And you fully embrace unschooling and you are living it. You almost can't reconcile in your mind, doing those things, when unschooling has far surpassed anything you had been doing before. And we had tried a lot of stuff before. Since coming to unschooling I haven't had any worries about my kids being behind or missing anything or gaps. I haven't had the thoughts anymore of "what should I try next, because such and such didn't work out". Those questions truly don't come up anymore. Perhaps it's because unschooling is such a total mind shift. When you see everything as learning, every interest your child has as valuable, it really opens up a whole new avenue and experience for the family.
In reflection, there are some things that have changed in me from when we first were coming to unschooling. For example food controls (as in me having a set of ingredient standards) that I wanted there before adding that food to our shopping cart.
A few years back you would have never found something like a Poptart in our pantry, but a healthy alternative. Now if you look you will find many boxes in varying flavors. But as I sit and type this... most of those boxes have been there many weeks, if not longer. The kids don't have any limits on when they can eat them or how many, etc. But they just haven't been in the mood for one. When you know you can have something to eat whenever you want it. The, 'gorge myself on it because I don't know when I'll get it again' line of thinking, it just doesn't have reason to exist.
I have seen time and time again... in my children, who have no food restrictions whatsoever, decline sweets, set aside cupcakes to eat a sandwich, take one lick of lollipops and toss the rest, and so on. An apple or a turkey sandwich is just as appealing to them as a chocolate bar. It's true.. it really happens, not just with my kids, but in radical unschooling homes across the world over.
When kids get to listen to their bodies, are allowed to eat when they are hungry, not when an adult tells them it's meal time. And eat what they truly are in the mood for, not a food that someone has chosen for them. Truly... it's a gift you give them. A gift of not having to be food or diet focused as they grow up.
For anyone who wonders how this can be... I highly recommend this book: Kids, Carrots and Candy. Also by the authors is a great book geared for adults called Overcoming Overeating. If you've ever dieted... or said you were fat... or didn't like the way you look... fantastic book!
Controlling food is something a lot of parents believe they have to do. Sandra Dodd has a great page on Myths parents believe and another If I let him... both I highly recommend reading.
Skylar almost 12:
Is interested in being a make up artist. We've been supporting her interest.
She also does things like watches You Tube videos of make up collections, reviews, and tutorials.
Has built up a make up collection.
Experiments with make up applications.
Plays app based games that involve make up application, hair, fashion and so on.
She reads reviews. Reads safety ratings. Compares prices.
Makes her own make up. Practices make up application on her sisters.
Recently took a free 6 week make up artist class online.
She ticks a horde of subject boxes by pursuing something she feels a real passion for.
She reads a lot. Not just about make up. But she is into scary books and also horror movies.
She taught herself to swim... all by herself....with Bry and I solely in a support role for her if/when she wanted help.
She just redecorated a room to make it feel more cozy and to have it as a hang out space.
She put together her own costume for Halloween.
She and Summer both play some online games.
Summer almost 10:
Taught herself to sew watching You Tube videos. Also helped big sister learn.
She's made pillows for everyone in the family. Sewn some Monster high doll clothes.
And may start to sew some of her own clothes once she feels more comfortable with her sewing machine.
She has a guitar and my husband is helping her with that.
She is creating her own Halloween costume instead of wanting to buy one this year.
She enjoys playing fashion design apps. Quite a bit of math in those apps.
Summer likes the scary shows too. She's into reading Goosebumps book. And she is a devoted email pen pal. It's one of her favorite ways to connect with friends.
She also is into researching make up, creating looks, and creating fashions.
She loves watching prank videos on You Tube. Nikki and John are one of her favorites.
Decklin almost 7:
He enjoys toy guns and sword play. Hordes of fun for him is running about playing out cool battle scenes with one of us or with friends. He plays video games with any of us too or sometimes he likes to play solo. Many times on the weekend, he and my husband will take some time together to play a video game. Their teamwork and camaraderie is really cool to watch. It's connection, great times, talking, laughing... just so different than what mainstream media says about a child and video games.
He likes Phineas and Ferb, Wild Kratts, and sometimes Drake and Josh.
He has gotten into legos, but especially still loves his Bristle blocks. He builds a lot of ships with them. And he enjoys hanging with some friends at the park weekly.
She really enjoys the show Victorious. She has fun singing and dancing. And putting together new fashion looks with her clothes. She also has compiled quite a make up collection. She recently asked for some new clothes and helped me do some online shopping where she picked out all her own stuff. She plays Monster High dolls with the girls. Loves playing run around battle games with Decklin. And having the older girls do her make up for her. She is always a willing make up look test subject.
If you are reading here and ever thought about exploring unschooling. I can't tell you how amazing a way of life this is. How joyful and fulfilling it is, not only for the children but for the family as a whole. A fantastic free six part emails series to help you explore unschooling can be found here.