Aamut delivered The Unschooling Entrepreneur’s Guide to Life & Learning to the Afinana community as part of an education workshop series, and emailed me with some questions from her tribe. I’ve responded to her questions (and then some) in this format, and I hope it makes it easier for you engage, explore, and encourage yourself through some untethering and unmuting of your own.
I share these things not because I believe everyone should unschool, but because I believe everyone should know about this option for themselves and their children. I get that it’s not for everyone, but information offers access to the power of informed decision-making, and that is definitely for everyone.
I think Matthew is a brilliant young man, but his perspective on what it means to thrive in America is a lid-on philosophy to which I am vehemently opposed. If we took the stance that certain things are only for certain people, I shudder to think of all the ways that women, immigrants, the elderly, poor people, and all other categories of traditionally marginalized groups would rise out of their situations and into fulfilling lives.
This video came out in 2010, and I completely missed it. But I’m making sure you don’t miss it now. …
By avoiding the topics of body awareness and sexuality, we set our girls up to be ill-equipped to manage their emotions and to confidently express whatever they need to feel both comfortable around and respected by their peers.
Confession: I have a favorite performance from Radical Self-Expression Summit. It’s my firstborn daughter, Marley. She performed a piece from my manifesto, and owned it in such a way that it elicited applause, reflections, and tears from the hands, eyes, and souls of our attendees. Kris and I are so very proud of her for reminding us how to risk expression!
After I write this post, I’ll be heading to my daughters’ closet to pick out their clothes for tomorrow’s unschooling adventure–a trip to The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) to see Tchaikovsky Discovers America, part of ASO’s “Concerts for Young People” series. Both my girls are music lovers, and one (Marley) is learning to play bass guitar, while the other (Sage) is digging violin. I’ve got a great guest post by Leila Viss on behalf of www.JoyTunes.com. I gladly gave her space on my blog because I think this post offers great supporting insights on the relevance of music and music exploration as a resource for nurturing self-expression in our little ones.
If you’re blessed enough to have a mother figure like that in your life, whether you grew in her womb, or in her daughter’s womb, or whether she and you share no biological ties, but enjoy a deep spiritual connection, you know how much that means to your life. I’ve got a Mother’s Day offer just for those of us who have benefited from the listening ear, the honest discussion, the love, and the compassion of mother figures in our lives.
I know you’ve either personally experienced or witnessed the friend-parent. The parent who is doing their best to manage their child’s feelings while they do what they feel they need to do as parents. They want their children to be happy, and that desire even extends into wanting their children to be happy with they choices they (as parents) are making for their children. I don’t think that works. I’m open to talk about it (via comments or direct email), but so far, I think that’s more about a parent’s fear than a child’s wellbeing.
I believe that we live in a “Culture of Passivity,” where having a voice and standing up for yourself is looked down upon, and sometimes even punished. Vanishing face-to-face conflicts requiring direct communication is one of the main components of this shift today, although it’s been happening for longer than social media and the world wide web has been in existence.
I could list so many other reasons that Valerie embodies the energy of Radical Self-Expression, but it’s probably best that you visit her blog and find out more for yourself.
She learned how to close her eyes without squeezing them out of fear of infiltration of water. She knows not to hold her head all the way up because water would then get into her nostrils. And she learned to trust that she had resources (primarily her mother, in that moment) that were working in her favor, to protect her as she went through the process.
I want more of that. Not just for myself, but also for you. I believe that it is a radical act to create and participate in scenarios that fuel your joy. In any moment, my daughters–like many children–can transform their literal reality into one more befitting of whatever emotions they want to experience. Imagine if you and I got better at that? Imagine if you felt disconnected from a particular way you wanted to feel, and imagine that you could get dressed, walk outside, and just be how you wanted to feel, instead of steeping in any sense of disconnect for too long.
One longtime homeschooling mom (Meredith N. in Tennessee) was gracious enough to answer my questions about her experiences in Unschooling. Check it out, (it’s a portion of the full questionnaire), feed on it, and let me know what nutrients you get.
“If you’re wondering If your kids are learning, then it may be you need to do more reading or thinking about learning itself – what learning is and how it happens. Chances are, you’re stuck thinking of learning in some particular academic sense – not necessarily in terms of subjects, but thinking of learning in terms of acquiring information and skills. Learning is bigger and more complex than that! It’s an integrated process of making connections.”
A few weeks ago, I visited the grave site of my grandmother’s mother, with my grandmother, and my mother, and both my daughters. It was an epic experience, to put it lightly, and as I engaged and observed, I wondered…
…what dreams and goals my great-grandmother had at my age
…what my grandmother was feeling as she reconnected with memories of her mother
…what the experience would inspire in my mother
…what my daughters would remember about that day
…how this experience would later show up in my work (my writing)
I found myself wrapping my brain around the idea of validation as it relates to my beliefs where learning and education are concerned. Kris and I transitioned our daughters (and ourselves) into unschooling back in June of 2012. The shift was inspired by our oldest daughter’s challenges with school, and further massaged by both girls’ constant assertion that they liked their friends, but didn’t like sitting in class all day and learning a “bunch of stuff we don’t even care about”.
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The more I observe these two girls, the more I remember how important it is to nurture myself. These girls …
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EXHIBIT A… Proof that we have a #RadicalSelfie on our hands. I shared that picture on my Instagram (IG) feed …