This last year my faith in a lot of things has been shaky, unschooling was one of those things. I started wondering if maybe I should introduce some sort of curriculum and make them do worksheets. I questioned if I was doing the right thing. I attribute that to all of the recent changes in our life and my kids growing up. It’s easy to watch your baby learn to crawl, walk, and talk. No one teaches them, they learn all of these things on their own when they’re ready. Same thing with learning their colors, numbers, how to count and their ABC’s. Somewhere along the way I stopped trusting in my children’s natural curiosity. I stopped looking at them – I stopped focusing on what they did know and shifted my focus to what they didn’t know. Bad move. That made everyone tense and for what? To prove that they know or can learn what kids in school know? And who am I trying to prove these things to? The anxiety I was having over this was out of control.
I kept asking myself over and over again. Why do I want to unschool? Why do I believe in this way of learning so deeply? I want to unschool because I want my children to grow up as whole as they possibly can. I want them to always love learning and I want them to believe that they can learn anything they want at anytime. I believe in the unschooling philosophy so deeply because I’ve watched my kids blossom and thrive. We live it and I believe it’s the best way for them to learn end experience life. I’ve taken myself back to the beginning, back to the basics. Remembering watching all three of them learn to crawl, walk, and talk. I’ve had to get out of their way. I’ve been so tense over the last few months. I had to stop worrying and thinking “oh, they aren’t socializing enough, we don’t go enough places, we don’t have enough things.” There I was again focusing on what we didn’t have instead of what we did have. We have each other, we have love, we have fun. I trust that my children will learn what they need to know when they have a need to know it.
I get Unschooling in a way I didn’t four years ago when we started this journey. I was pushing my fears and insecurities onto them. I had to examine why that was and then stop doing it. I feel like I’m looking at my kids and life with fresh eyes. The bad days and moments are becoming less and less.
This life is about being together, living as fully as we can every single day. Some days that’s spent in front of the TV with Samuel watching Umizoomi, or with all three of them huddle together watching episode after episode of Charlie and Lola. One day it might be learning about zombies with Nakiah. The next day we might paint, play outside, or turn the closet into a dollhouse. Sometimes it’s enjoying the sunshine even if it’s only 50 degrees and windy…it feels great because the sun is out.
Unschooling is watching Ava spend several minutes waiting for a turtle to come out of his shell.
One kid might help me cook while the other two make mud balls outside….wearing my shoes.
They learn by imitating, doing puzzles, coloring, laughing, playing, thinking, exploring, rewinding a favorite part on a movie or show over and over and over. We have documentaries, books, video games, legos, our imaginations. I’m always available for answering questions, or showing them something I think they may find interesting.
We do these things together and that’s what matters most.
In the last two weeks bedtime has become less of a struggle because I started to relax. I was so tense about them going to sleep so I could have time to myself. I can spend one on one time with Nakiah since she’s a night owl like me. The other night we spent that time talking about money, adding it up, and the presidents on the bills. That wouldn’t have happened if I had been upset with her and trying to force her into sleeping. And there have been several nights where they were all asleep by midnight, no whining, no tears, nothing but sweet dreams…..that’s huge for us!
I have to learn to stop expecting life to go according to this perfect plan that I have in my head. My babies won’t be the ages they are forever and I don’t want to spend their entire childhood anxious and worried. I want to be thankful that even though I don’t have everything I want, I have everything I need. I want to listen to the kids playing April Fools jokes on each other. I want to soak up this time with them as best I can. I want to get back to enjoying the simple things.
This feels good.