Posts Tagged "unschooling"

8 years unschooled, first day of high school

8 Years Unschooling to the First Day of Public High School

This is a really overdue blog post. The whole transition of unschooler-to-public-schooler actually started almost 2 years ago. So excuse me while I quite possibly make this the longest blog post I’ve ever written (or in case it takes you two years to read it). Because I’m sure many of you can understand, there’s a lot that goes into a story like this. Let me start by saying that although the principles and philosophies of unschooling are very much at the heart of our entire lifestyle, we dropped the unschooling label a long time ago. And for a lot of reasons, but mostly because I really started to disconnect with parts of the unschooling community and the lack of respect it ironically showed. It just stopped resonating as a term we needed to use, and even more so as a community we felt we belonged to. I think this is…

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Six (Wide Sky) Days Together

In case you didn’t see from my Instagram stream, we spent 6 entire days at the Wide Sky Days conference in San Diego. (WSD is an unschooling conference: a long weekend to gather with other “crazy unschoolers” and play, laugh, connect, ask, answer, realign, inspire, support, and laugh with one another.) What you probably noticed from said Instagram stream is an almost total lack of photos including children. Zeb spent most of his time in the game room and prefers not to have his picture taken much anyway, but I did manage to nab one photo of him: We got to see him find his own comfort level with meeting new people and balance it with plenty of quiet time to himself. (Yes, he’s still in his Caveman phase, and it’s so wonderful to be around other teens and adults who have “been there, done that” and meet him where…

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Meet Peter Gray, PhD: Psychologist AND Organic Parenting Contributor! Eeeeee!

The nerd in me (okay, that IS me) pretty much fell in love with Peter Gray when I found his articles on Psychology Today a few years back. He’s an evolutionary developmental psychologist and research professor of psychology at Boston College with an interest in alternative approaches to education with an emphasis on autonomous play. (Human nature + asking good questions + alternative anything + autonomy + play? You can see my fascination.) And then my heart really went all pitter-patter when he replied to my invitation to join the Organic Parenting e-course with “How could I refuse!” ♥ I’d like to introduce him in two different ways: By sharing snips from our interview, which comes as part of the e-course, and By sharing some of my favorite articles of his so you can get to know his message. Let’s start with my favorite articles: How To Advise and Help…

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Our 4th Unschooling Anniversary (And Growth)

I love unschooling. I know that probably goes without saying, but it’s good for me to be reminded sometimes. Yesterday was our fourth unschooling anniversary. Four years ago we made one choice that changed our world. And today I’m reminded just how phenomenal and empowering a choice it was. See, I don’t love unschooling because of its “results.” I love unschooling because of what it gives us: freedom, space to heal and the courage to live passionately. Four years ago, I stood before a child that was angry and sad. I stood before him with questions about how to help him and how to ignite the interests he once had. I was worried that he no longer loved to read or wanted to play with numbers or patterns. Our life was anxious and nervous and uncertain. In school he felt a lot of pressure to perform, took to heart anything…

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On Trusting Our Kids (and Their Candy)

This is the candy Zeb got from two trunk-or-treat events and one night of trick-or-treating. Or I should say it’s all the candy he has left. From Friday through Tuesday he probably ate another grocery bag full. Because of all the sugar in his system he ate little else during that time. Was I worried? No. Okay, for a minute there on Tuesday I began to wonder. And we certainly had a discussion or two and offered him plenty of other foods. But mostly I just waited. Was it hard? Yes. Even though I trust Zeb to find his own limits and listen to his own body, that little Bad Parent voice tends to chirp up and ask “What will other people think?” I’m pretty proud of how well I told that voice to shut it’s trap. Because no matter what common parental rules dictate, I know a happy, healthy…

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Unjobbing: What It Is and What It Isn’t

I’ve thrown the word “unjobbing” around here a few times. Like unschooling, it’s a word we use that, at first glance, does little to really describe the idea. Just as unschooling doesn’t mean uneducated (nor is it against school or always done outside of school), unjobbing does not mean unemployed. Nor is it really against jobs or always done outside the presence of a job. Instead, unjobbing is more about how you do what you do than what you actually do. Unjobbing is about making a life instead of just a living. Instead of living for work, we work to live (and to learn and grow and experience). We love what we do; it brings us fulfillment and it enables us to do some pretty wonderful things. But it’s not all we do. It’s not the only focus of our life. Unjobbing is often used synonymously with entrepreneurship, working for…

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Unlock. Unleash. Unschool!

The past several months of offering coaching for unschooling and mindful parenting have been amazing. I’ve connected with so many parents, learned a lot about the common challenges people face (and the diversity within each experience) and so enjoyed inspiring parents to tap into their own unconditional love. I’ve spoken with unschoolers, homeschoolers and public and private schoolers, all amazing parents undergoing some pretty amazing transformations and needing a bit of support. Something else I’ve discovered, though: 30 minutes is not quite long enough and 60 minutes is sometimes too long. A little like Baby Bear, 45 minutes seems to be just right. So I made some changes: For starters, I changed my button. For some of you it may have updated on its own. For others you may need to grab the code again from this page. Or keep the old one if you prefer. I’m now only offering…

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Overachievers, Vilifying Interests and Owning It

Zeb took a serious interest in the Jr Ranger Program offered through our National Parks while we were in Indiana. Our first park and his first badge has come from Lincoln National Park in Southern Indiana. According to his age, he was required to finish five pages of the program and a list of tasks that included hikes, visiting the living memorials of Lincoln’s Boy Hood Memorial and watching a short film. We were excited to see him so eagerly embrace and accomplish something that not long ago would have caused him to panic, bringing up negative memories of school papers and the pressure to perform. He was gung-ho passionate and an unstoppable answer-figuring machine. That’s likely why I was taken aback when the ranger called him an “overachiever” because of his finishing more pages than necessary for his age group. The term “overachiever” has such a negative connotation to…

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Whole Life Unschooling: It’s For More Than Just Kids

Zeb: always running ahead for what he loves. Justin: We watched him watch this giraffe for a full 20 minutes. Me: They waited for me while I read every sign in the place. There are so many definitions to unschooling. You can find them everywhere and they all do a perfectly fine job of explaining unschooling. And yet, knowing full well how to define unschooling, I’m still not happy explaining it. Why? Because most definitions describe unschooling as a movement, a form of education or a belief on how we raise children. Our short answer usually sounds a bit like this: Unschooling is hands-on, experience-based and interest-led learning. The world is our classroom and everything in it our curricula. Oh, but it’s so much more than that! That answer really only describes how our child learns. It doesn’t describe how we live, how we view the world around us, how…

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I Am Not Broken

I had a dream on Monday night that I was explaining to a physical therapist what was hurting by describing the one thing that was not hurting: my toes. I woke up from that dream with stiff, aching toes. I’ll be honest. I’ve been utterly failing at my attempts for body compassion. For the past week I’ve been in so much pain that I’ve had a difficult time loving this crooked frame. I’ve been angry and exhausted with it. And those old burdens of feeling broken and hopeless have resurfaced. Feeling those aching toes stirred up such bitter resentment. Of course my flipping toes hurt. Because that’s my body for ya. It rings a bit of parental expectations, those sneaky little thoughts that tell me my kid should be doing this chore, should be playing outside right now, should be quiet when I’m quiet. After all, I do all these…

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