Part of my hesitation in sharing my family's choices is that I do NOT desire to hurt others in any way. Especially my closest family and friends. But because many of our choices fly right in the face on "conventional wisdom", there is often a very natural defensive response in others. This includes my own parents. My mother is one of the most supportive, loving people I know and actually was the first to suggest to me that I should think about homeschooling. My initial response when she said that was, "What?? That's crazy, we are a FAMILY of public school teachers... school was good enough for me... I believe in public education..." etc. etc. Kind of ironic and funny to look back on now. My mom and I talk EVERY day. Really, it is rare that we miss a day. She has loved and supported me, my husband, and our children through our journey that has included unconventional decisions regarding sleep, food, TV watching, going outside, having playdates and many other things. Even when she has doubts, even when she saw me exhausted and discouraged, and her grandchildren making choices she wasn't sure of, she was always a safe place for me to explore new ideas, express myself, and talk through challenges. Even though she was the one to initially to voice the idea of homeschooling, when I began to explore the idea of Unschooling, it was new to her. My dad definitely does not agree with me on all parenting issues (discipline and homeschooling come to mind) but he continues to love and support us fiercely. I know that it can be difficult for them sometimes to see choices we are making and not feel like it is a direct judgement of choices they made for my sister and I as they parented us.
This is true for anyone facing a new idea or way of doing things. BUT we also have choices about how we react. Will we take a new idea as an attack on ourselves? Will we dismiss the new idea without really exloring it? Or can we look at the idea, really look, without taking offense and fighting back. Then after examination we are free to choose - choose what makes sense or might work for us. Free to strengthen our own convictions or do more research. Free to ask questions or share our own experiences from a place of love.
It's not easy. I know because *I* am defensive and feel the need to defend *my* choices. So I'm trying to move beyond that and hope to have people join me in walking on that journey.
I get daily inspiration here. This particular post explains a little why things have become simpler and easier for me. I have found "how I want to be" - the big ideas or principles that I hope guide my family daily are Peace and Learning. In my opinion these are best attained through partnership. So that is my starting point. Not every person's or family's starting point will be the same as mine/ours. But I hope that by sharing a different perspective more people can begin to clarify for themselves what is truly important in their lives. That is my intention - to share - not judge, to inspire - not disparage. Hopefully I will be successful at least some of the time and get better at it too!
11/3/2011 12:37:07 pm
I love the idea of Unschooling. Though I have no children, I wish that was something that was discussed more (or at all) when we were kids.
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Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.