Sunday, November 21, 2010

thankful for uncomfortable remembering

Tonight, I find myself pondering the past. Usually I find myself living in a state of "future", thinking ahead, planning.

the past. *sigh* who likes to go there?...

and yet, I'm remembering back to my teen years.
remembering the challenges that surrounded me, that surrounded my friends.
The challenges that my parents, and others would talk about with such concern. such worry.
and this enigma "peer pressure"...
I was so sure I was not affected by it.
sure that for me an MY friends, we were somehow exempt from it.
I remember the atmosphere
drugs and alcohol,
teen pregnancy,
of girls in abusive relationships,
of friends and classmates in violent and abusive homes,
eating disorders,
and teen suicide.
I remember losing some.
Some of my friends. Some of my dreams.
Some of my hopes, and vulnerability.
Some of my trust.
I remember the confusion and overwhelming-ness of it all.

And none of these subjects are ones we like to talk about, or like to ponder... I think, because we all have our stories. We have all known these things.

Add to this a scary statistic I recently heard, 3-45 minutes; that is the amount of time total, per week, that parents and their children spend talking; having conversation that is not related to making plans or doing tasks.
~Conversation that is about knowing each other. about connection. think about that for a minute. and then think about the things I mention above. ~how do any of us come through it?

This has me thinking about my availability to my little ones, only... they are getting bigger everyday; and am I there for them? and am I beating this statistic? I hope so.

I hope that we are getting to know each other as people.
I hope that we are developing a relationship that allows them to talk freely.
I hope I am communicating my love and affection,
my confidence in who they are,
and who they are becoming.
I hope I am advocating for them.
By advocating, I mean "standing beside."
Being a support, and a soft place to fall.

I'm feeling like I do a lot of "talking", reflecting, pondering in this blog. I hope it is at least a little bit enjoyable to read. I hope that in relating some of my thoughts, I am connecting.

I am hoping that some might be inspired to think about some of these things. To spend some time in what might be an uncomfortable state of remembering. Remembering being the child. Being the teen.
Recalling what you needed and wanted. What you wished for.
Because I have been thankful for this uncomfortable feeling.
Remembering... needing acceptance, support, listening ears, affection, confidence, reassurance.
The "stand beside" variety of advocacy, that I was blessed to find among some kind-hearted adults.
The kind of advocacy that says,
"I am here to listen. I am here to support you."
I hope that I will be able to do this with my own children;
and I hope they will also meet others who will do this with them.

Pondering, reflecting, thankful.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Someone told me unschooling is BRAVE. They said it is brave because no one, including myself, really knows the outcome. And further, they said, if my children do have a good "outcome", people will assume I just got lucky. Fair enough, I say... but what parent ever does know the outcome?? Who really says "I'm going to do it THIS way, and I will have a good outcome, guaranteed."?

And when asked what they want for their children,
most will reply that the want their children to be HAPPY.
Happy and successful.
From there on the details vary,
so where am I on the spectrum?

I want my children to be happy, and healthy... spiritually, emotionally, and physically healthy.
I want them to have lived and therefore learned
honesty, integrity, confidence, kindness, peacefulness, patience, faith, love.
I want them to have developed
communication skills that will serve them well
when they have their own families.
I hope
they will have living skills, like cooking nutritious food.
I want them to know they are valuable and know what gifts they possess.
These are the things I hold as the most valuable.

~Where are they going to learn these values and skills, if not from their parents and family?
~If not from spending time with themselves?
~Are they to learn these things from attending school? No, I do not believe these are the things learned from going to school- BUT these are the things I would define as the "basics".
And this is where our BASIC definitions vary...

There is all this talk of basics, in education... as in "the children must learn the basics, reading, writing and math." What does that even mean?!
And does basic, reading, writing, and math really require 13 years in an institution to learn? It has been shown, time and again that these basic skills can be learned in approximately 100 hours, when a learner is ready and motivated!!

~Did you know that it was recently reported that 40% of fourth graders in bc are not reading at grade level? So what is going on? By 4th grade literally, hundreds of hours would have been spent in school, supposedly learning "the basics!"
~Could the flaw reside in the definition of "grade level"?

***If nearly HALF of students are not where they "should" be, is it possible that the expectations themselves are flawed?? Is it possible that "readiness and motivation" is being overlooked?
...and even if it were taken into account how can one teacher adequately meet each learner where they are at?!

It reminds me of when I was pregnant with my son, and we were planning a home birth. There was no shortage of people calling us BRAVE, or selfish, or foolish. To me though, the mothers laboring and birthing in the hospital were BRAVE.... with the monitors, and the hospital beds, and the limits on movement, eating, bathing... their trust handed to well-trained professionals.

Back to BRAVERY.... I'm feeling like leaving "the basics", by either of these definitions, to someone else would be truly BRAVE.

I know that there are people
who think unschooling is
selfish, foolish, or even down right lazy!
I am totally okay with them thinking whatever they like....
while I am busy following my children's lead;
watching out for signs of readiness and curiosity,
finding and playing learning games,
making sure of opportunities to play with other kids,
finding mentors
supporting them
in learning dance, art, music,
or anything else they feel is important for them,
reading stories and bible stories,
exploring nature....
laughing and laughing and laughing till it hurts!

Our life of unschooling is a full and happy life!
And I guess if having all this fun with my kids,
when they could be in school is brave....
then I guess I'm BRAVE too!