Pre Post: I'm going along with Life, thinking ... I've meant to sit down and write in the blog(s) for a few days", but do I really have anything worth saying? Breaking the ice is most of the time burdensome. I've sat down two differnent times here to write, but got interrupted, and by the time I got back to it, it seemed unnoteworthy.
I get home from work today (Saturday), babes and groceries from the natural market -especially satisfying- in tow, pour a glass of beer, (mmmm) head outside to water the gardens - as it's been really dry and warm the last couple of days.
Start making my way around my little corner of the world (the small lot we own just barely outside city limits of SLC) and here they come. A thousand thoughts. Ten thousand insights.
They flash by.
Later (belatedly) I head inside for pencil and paper - I find pencils to be much more reliable than pens in this house- and....
"Okay! I'm ready!" Only to find that those wondrous insights are now escaping me.
However, I do somewhat remember a few things I wanted to comment on....
A couple of days ago I was reading here, and I was hoping that witnesses to these scribblings wouldn't think "why is this on Unschoolers Blogs?"
And then I had a thought of "Think of OLM as a 'Unschooling in Action' blog, and this 0ne as 'Behind The Scenes'! And that pretty much explains it. This blog is my Life's Story, the grit and fancy of one Mama's attempt to find/encourage happiness, peace, and fulfillment for her family. Life unschooled.
Yeah. I'd say that's about right.
We are unschoolers. Eric (dad) learns at his own pace. I learn world history (damn it!, I'll not apologize or be embarrassed!) through my historic romantical novels. Trev learns vocabulary through cartoon network -and hopefully his mama. No, not only the "bad" things, but phrases like "It occurs to me that...." and "I was observing today that...." and many profound, thoughtful, and vastly amusing things to hear coming from a little five year old boy.
So! Flashing forward.... In line with that thinking, I sort of had a remarkable sense of comradery with the world at large and their constant need to be on the phone.
"Oh!" I thought. "Maybe this is why.... it's sort of like a little tape-recorder that one would slip into their pocket, to remind themselves at Any Given Moment that this is something worth remembering! Sort of like making one's life verefiable!"
Flashing forward again.... Picked up the babes from Grammy's (my mama's) tonight.
She took Great Delight in telling me a story of how she took Trev next door (Maddie was napping) into the backyard to make friends with the new dog, as neighbors wanted new dog and Kids to be friends.
Trev proceeds to go on and on, informing Kim (he) about prehistoric animal life, dinosaurs, sea creatures, etc. Kim raises eyebrows, and says to Grammy, "He's really smart!" Grammy of course takes pride in such comments (as does Trev's mama) and says something like "I know. I know."
Grammy relates the story to me upon my arriving to fetch said babes.
We talk for a minute about not teaching, and then-
"Just think about when you do start teaching him!"
"Mom," I smile- ever tolerant, benevolent, and wise, am I... (alright, at least in this particular moment) "You're missing the point! The point is, that they'll always learn what is interesting to them, and therefore always be learning!"
"Well.... what about math and stuff?"
"We learn math every day. 'How do you want your sandwich cut, in quarters, of half? Triangles, rectangles, or square?' He makes cookies. And I know that when/if he wants to learn trig or algebra, than he will. Do you know geometry?"
"And do you get along without it? Are you still happy and fulfilled?"
"Well?" Pause. "It's not that I expect my children to get along without any math. It's that I'm comfortable that If and When they're ready for it, (outside of strictly natural learning - will this bed fit in this room? let's measure!) they'll learn it."
My mother nods, and says "I've learned much more since I've been out of school than I ever did inside it."
"Exactly." I say.
chuckle. I insert for any non-believers -here and now-
I, Stephanie LS do hereby proclaim that if my children come to me accusingly and blighted at the age 18 for giving them Freedom In Learning, I shall support and honor them while they take highschool math at age 18 so that they can get into a chosen college. Or bust my ass to help them with whatever they deem as their rightful place in the world that I denied them, in the name of freedom."
You think it's the end of the world? Was your life and learning over at age 18? Was that the highlight of your wisdom and learning?
Has your life been on a downward spiral since then?
I daresay "Hardly!"
At worst case scenario, my children will be "behind the curve" at any/possilbly all given points. But I guarantee you -and this I know with absolutely every thing that I am- that they will still, in spite of that, be thinking, reasoning, growing, intelligent, and knowledgable beings.
On the flipside of "not teaching them" and having them be behind their peers - does cracking the whip and browbeating or frightening them guarantee them a happy childhood and adulthood? Or academinc excellence? Or spiritual fulfillment? Is there any person walking this planet that has no doubts of himself due solely to over-bearing and demanding parents? I don't think so.
I daresay in late adolescence and early adulthood (age 16-20) we're learning what makes us tick. Experimenting with what makes us feel happy and fulfilled. It's when we usually learn to fly.
But my aim is to give that gift to my children from the beginning. And honestly, folks, it's not as if it's a foreign concept to my children - they believe they're just as important and respectable as everyone else, as all children do. It's only when we tell them that they're not, because they're not worthy and haven't fought for it that they get a sense of self-doubt.
If it's your belief that the way to survive and thrive in this world is to compete, step on, manipulate, belittle, and demean others - and you choose to teach your children that, I spose that's between you and the others around you. But if you'd not treat other adults that way, then I dare to say I don't believe children are any less worthy of your respect.
I live in a different world than that. One that's supportive, loving, kind, giving, forgiving, understanding, abundant, enchanting, and sometimes vexing - and that's the one I want my children to know.
Hopefully they'll come through childhood feeling cherished. And important. And honorable. And intelligent. And loved. And competent. And like they can and do make a difference in this world.