I’m Sue Patterson.
I have three grown unschooled “children” who are now 25, 23 and 20.
I’ve had several careers over time, and we moved frequently with the Air Force over 20 years.
We lived in:
- San Antonio, Texas
- Greensboro, North Carolina
- Eagle River, Alaska
- Anchorage Alaska
- Dixon, California
- Wichita Falls, Texas
- Pflugerville, a suburb of Austin, Texas
With each move, we had the wonderful opportunity of meeting more kids and more parents. We joined support groups and started our own when none fit us. We went to conferences all around the country, listening to speakers, meeting other families, sharing our stories with each other. We dove into so many different community activities wherever we lived. Sometimes we dabbled and sometimes we found our callings! I have learned so much from all of it.
Most importantly, I’ve always known that I raise my kids differently from most parents. I didn’t start out as someone who knew she’d be a homeschooling mom. I didn’t read any books about it or subscribe to any magazines other than the mainstream ones. For all practical purposes, I was a soccer mom from the suburbs. But it didn’t take long for me to realize that school was not going to work for us. That’s a story (or two or three!) in itself, but after Michael finished 1st grade, and Katie finished Kindergarten, we were convinced that homeschooling was right for our family. It wasn’t long before we found ourselves to be fairly radical unschoolers.
My parenting style grew from prioritizing communication. I wasn’t interested in establishing my authority or trying to catch my kids doing the wrong thing. I was interested in being a guide. Someone who had been there before. Someone who only wanted the best for them. Someone who would love them and listen to them.
At the base of all communication, we’re simply trying to get our point across. But it’s not a one way street. Parents have to learn to let their kids say what they think. Even if it might change in an hour. Even if it might scare them to death! “Not Being heard” is the lament of children and teens, generation after generation. What prevents us from remembering that? What prevents us from trying to fix that situation?
I was a child of the 60’s and 70’s. I did a lot of things wrong. I hope my children never have to live through some of the experiences I chose. But I’m going to be there with them – whether they choose it or not. I’ll offer my suggestions, my insight, my guidance. And I’ll come here to talk with you about how it’s going, what we’re doing – what works and what doesn’t. For us.