Friday, March 26, 2010

this awesome unschooling life

I just love life. And I love my kids. They're so freakin' wise. I don't know if I was as wise as them at their age. Or...maybe noone asked so I didn't know I was wise.

Had a wonderful conversation with Amber (17) today. It started out being about something with her, where I was kind of checking in and seeing how she was, voicing some anger/resentment I was feeling (not at her) around a situation, and just making sure she was taking care of herself and honoring any boundaries that she needs. It ended up being great, wisdom-filled conversation about how we live our lives.

During our conversation we kind of shifted and talked about human beings and how human beings seem to need a group, a dogma, a *fit* into some idea/philosophy/movement. It doesn't matter what it is...a religion, a political idea, a anarchist movement, whatever. So, in the soul's journey to find, define, and create itself, in our human form, we look for those who are like us and use that group to further define ourselves. In addition, we seem to look for mentors, leaders who inspire, or "gurus." This is all fine and good, I think, and perfectly natural.

But...what Amber and I were talking about...was how often (most of the time, probably 99%) these groups have a dogma. Even the groups who are supposedly non-dogmatic, have a dogma of their own (I wonder if they know that?). So, people have an interest or a the desire to unschool.....we seek out others who unschool (perfectly natural), we talk to people who have been unschooling and look for encouragement and support (perfectly natural), but at some point there's an invisible line that may be crossed where we lose ourself in the group. And, what's funny is that we may lose ourself in a group whose "dogma" includes being true to your self, being yourself, etc. "We" start to look to this group, or the "leaders," to tell us what that means. Who our "self" is begins to change because our self starts to be modeled after the leader's "self." We want to be like them, we want to do it right, we want to be an unschooler and the way to be an unschooler is to be like other unschoolers and do what other unschoolers do. Which is totally contradictory, really.

When I pulled Adam from cyberschool and returned (again) to being true to myself and my children and live with them in the way that we are most comfortable, most joyful, must US, I sought out people who were living radically and unschooling. There is so much value in the websites I found and the groups I joined. About two weeks after joining groups and reading a lot, I found myself forcing myself to be a certain way...the way I was "supposed" to be as a radical unschooler. A couple weeks later, after spending more time feeling bad about myself then good, I felt like I was doing it all wrong and life was definitely not happy. What I then began to realize was that I had lost my self in the supposed quest to find myself. I wasn't even lost in the beginning. I already was happy, living joyfully, being myself, etc. I had been "convinced" that there is A WAY to do it, that the RIGHT way to do it is to follow these steps (that someone came up with) to being a radical unschooler. Which is funny since radical unschooling IS about being who you are, with your family, living freely and joyfully and allowing everyone to BE and live and learn, etc. That suggests to me that there is no RIGHT way. I mean, who is any person to tell another person that they are not unschooling?? Or to judge whether another person is parenting well or right or in the most loving way? I began to get very uncomfortable and to feel the fundamentalism in it all.

So, I've spend the past couple of weeks getting back to my true self...I already WAS living in a way that was free and joyful. Noone can tell me who or what I am. I love to be inspired by other people, I seek inspiration....but I want that from people who are just BEING real and honest and humble in the way they live. I most appreciate that from people who don't have to talk about it, who just ARE. Amber mentioned how if you are truly BEING, then you don't have to talk about it. If you start to talk about how you are BEING, then you kind of cease the being. (so smart!!!) She compared it to breathing...if we start to think about breathing and the need to breathe then we stop breathing naturally and start breathing in a weird way. Try it! If you are just LIVING and BEING and it's real and good and honest, then you don't really have to think about it, analyze it or just IS!

I am never comfortable living in the extremes, because I don't believe that anyone or anything is 100% all the time....and when I am around anyone who claims that, I am uncomfortable and pretty much don't believe them. When I start to see a few people who KNOW the way to do things and counsel others on how to do it, I begin to wonder how many people are sitting and feeling badly about themselves because they just can't get it. I wonder how many people go throughout their days, second guessing everything they're doing with their children, wondering if it's the right way to unschool, and end the day feeling bad about themselves and like they just can't do it. What I say to them is that THEY are wise, THEY know exactly what to do and say, THEY need to stop wondering what some other person would do because that other person is not living their life and doesn't know shit about it. Be inspired, be motivated by others, but don't give them your power!!! Don't give up yourself so that you can fit into some label!

In every group or movement there are the people put on pedestals who have it all down pat. Those people DON'T have it all down pat and that they DON'T always do it right. I'm betting that some of them don't even want to be on that pedastal at all and that THEY feel pressure and anxiety about being there. But, there are some that need the pedastal so that they feel safe and secure in that feeling that they don't have any more work to do except to show everone else how to do it. God, I never want to be there. At the end of the day, I don't care what I'm called, what groups I fit into, what my philosophy may be long as I lived that day true to MY self, true to my children, with humility and honesty and always a willingness to learn and change, it's all good.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

We discovered an AWESOME opportunity for Amber next Fall. A friend mentioned something called Homeschool Leadership Retreats so we checked it out, thought it looked awesome, and registered Amber for the Fall Retreat in Ashland Oregon!! She's really excited and so am I!!!!! She's choosing to do that instead of Not Back to School Camp this year since both are pretty pricey and the Retreat is a much more awesome opportunity. She'll be there for over a month. I'm so happy for her! She's looking for a new job to start saving money. I'm just so happy she'll be able to travel and get out West which is what her soul has been craving.

Things are going and flowing, happiness abounds, life is good. :)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

It's been awhile since I updated, but that's just because life has been really busy! Too busy to live it and then write it down! :)

We're having so much fun, being present with each other; learning, living, experiencing, and dreaming. We're planning for Spring and Summer, seasons that allow us to be outside more with the earth and all of her gifts. Our plans include an Unschooling Conference in June (camping for a week) which we're all REALLY excited about. We'll probably travel somewhere else but we're just not sure, yet. We toyed with the idea of renting an RV and just going for a couple of weeks...but then after researching we realize how much $$ that would cost and we're just not in a position to do that. But, no worries, we'll dream up something else.

The girls are planning on doing something with a local museum in the summer which will be cool. And Amber will be attending her beloved Not Back to School Camp in Vermont in September again.

Everyone is doing projects and just really enjoying their passions and things that make them feel joyful. I love to see each of them doing that and to be present to them, helping them if they need help. Adam is going to teach me to play Bakugan and Amber and I have a creative project we want to do. Erin has started making stencils (creating them and cutting them out with an exacto) and stenciling things on Tshirts, which has been really awesome.

I'm just so in awe of all of them. They make my heart sing! :)