Someone asked me, “How does a parent who is fairly mainstream, transition to something as fringe as unschooling?”`
I told her that that’s our story! 😉 I shared how Michael went to school for Kindergarten and 1st grade, Katie went for Kindergarten only, and Alyssa did a little time in part-time preschool, then later, high school for a year and half. We talked about how I learned more about unschooling from the families we met and the books we read once we brought our children out of school. I didn’t know ahead of time that school simply wouldn’t be good enough for my kids, so I hadn’t pre-planned anything. I told her about how different each of my children were and how we created our own personal philosophy about learning and children.
But that wasn’t what she wanted. She had read the book suggestions and embraced the concept; she wanted The Steps.
It doesn’t work like that though. Everybody’s steps are different. She will have obstacles from her own experiences, and they’ll be unique to her. Her child will face his/her own challenges – not nearly as many as she will have to face though – she has so many tapes playing in her head about conforming and “who do you think you are?” And then the combination of the two of them will also be unique. Nobody else’s path will be identical to hers. Sometimes we think if we can find someone like us – another soccer-mom-turned-unschooler, or LaLecheMom who simply moved into the next phase of raising her children in an attached parent way – they will share the missing secrets. And maybe we’ll speak the same lingo if we are talking with “our people.” But it’s not too long before we realize that a few similarities does not mean a mirrored life.
The Steps she is looking for are inside her and in the relationship between her and her children. She might think I am giving her some hippy-dippy answer. I don’t mean to sound that way. But we have been conditioned to believe that we are not unique. For years we were told we are just like the other 29 kids in our own classroom. If we tried to stand out – or even did it accidentally – we were quickly reminded to fall back in line with the others. That’s a tough mold to break out of sometimes. Scary, even, to think of venturing out on your own.
But it’s what she’s going to have to do.
She might think I am simply being evasive. I promise you (and her) that there is no unschooling mom secret handshake that I’m withholding. If you read the books and articles, and then make the critical thinking application into your own world and belief system – you’re there.
The answer is really inside you. You know something needs to change from your familiar path.
But this is Your Path, Your Steps. Your fire that you have to walk through to get to the other side. No one can do it for you.
A lot of happy unschooling families who walked through their own fire are happily living and learning on the other side.
If they can do it, you can too – if you want to.
Then she said she was just looking for a Sign – something that will reassure her that she should embark on this path with her child.
Maybe this is it.
If you’re like her, maybe it’s time to stop pondering and actually start taking the steps to make your child’s life better.
Your Sign is Here.
…waiting for you. … Come on!
…and just because after writing this, I can’t get this song out of my head! lol