Unschooling Reflections

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I’m just going to jump right in with this one. I had been thinking of putting the girls in school for the past two months now. In many ways I feel like our lives have been turned upside down. And I was beginning to doubt myself in many areas, unschooling being one.
I would frequently ask myself if I were doing it right. I had talked about it with a few friends and they all said the same thing….you could try it and if things don’t work, pull them out.

I’ve been under so much stress lately and felt like I’m constantly in a state of anxiety….not a good feeling and not a good way to live your life. I found myself being more short tempered than usual, especially with Nakiah. Her strong, energetic personality, mixed with mine can be a recipe for disaster some days.
I’ve had to really step back and figure out what to do.

My problems with the kids have nothing to do with the kids, and have everything to do with me. They’re young and doing their best to navigate their way through life. They live in the moment, they don’t worry much. Life is all about discovery, curiosity, and play. Sometimes I forget that and start searching for more but it may not be more of what my family needs.

I research so I’m constantly reading and wanting to stay in the loop on certain topics…. Unschooling, Birth, Breastfeeding mainly.
But then I get started and don’t know when to stop!
You know one of my biggest mistakes the past two months? Taking my eyes off my kids and looking around at other kids, other peoples lives, and focusing on what they don’t know or what we don’t do. Especially with Nakiah since she’s the oldest. The truth is she knows a lot! They both do.

We suspect that Nakiah has Dyslexia and ADD. I’m Dyslexic and didn’t find out until high school and still nothing was done. Charles was diagnosed with ADD as a child. Besides these two things being hereditary, we’ve with seen signs. So I’m working on having her tested for both. Here’s something else….to many in the unschooling community, this is a big no no. I’ve been told that she’s only 7 so how can I know this about her and why would I want to label her that way at such a young age.
I’m tired of letting people who don’t know my child like I do, if at all dictate what I will or won’t do with and for her.
We need to know what’s going on so we know how to best help her. We believe these are real conditions that affect how we function in the world.

Here’s what I’ve done…first I stopped reading about Unschooling, Dyslexia, and ADD. Then I sat and talked with Charles about my concerns, next we decided that putting the kids in school would not solve our problems but possibly create more. There are many reasons I could list for not sending them to school…..but the main reason is that I actually like being around my kids. I really and truly enjoy their company. I do not believe that school is the place for them. I love watching them play and listening to their dialogue. I love having this front row seat to their learning.

I think adding a bit more structure and rhythm to our days will work for everyone. That will require more discipline on my part.
We’ve decided to start weekly science projects. Have more cooking and baking. More home life and a monthly outing to museums and such. Girl Scouts, more documentaries, and still allowing plenty of time for free play.

I had to stop worrying  and wondering if I’m doing this right, because I’m going to mess up from time to time. I’ve put the focus back on my kids, watching them intently and taking notes.
I always thought we needed to be out and on the move several times a week. I’ve recently discovered this is not true. I like being how more often now and so do they.
What matters most is the relationships we have with each other, that they are happy and healthy.

I wish I had picked up on this two months ago when my feelings surfaced, but I’m grateful for the journey. It made me take a good long look at our lives. See what’s working and what isn’t. It put the focus back on the reasons we chose unschooling in the first place.
As a family we’re happy with our new ideas and that’s all that matters. Not every single day has to be full. It’s perfectly ok to relax and just be some days.

p.s. The title was Unschooling Confessions, but I’ve changed it to Uschooling Reflections. It was brought to my attention that confessions could imply that there is only one right way to unschool and I definitely do not believe that.