Jen is unschooling mom to Joseph, soon to be sixteen. She’s also recently returned to the world of work as a Child Life Specialist. I’ve know Jen for years, having first met her online, and then in person at various unschooling gatherings. I’ve always loved her perspective on the unschooling lifestyle and I had a great time chatting with her about her journey and diving into some of the challenges we have encountered along the way.
Quote of the Week
“The things you think about determine the quality of your mind. Your soul takes on the color of your thoughts. What stands in the way becomes the way.” ~ Marcus Aurelius
Questions for Jen
Can you share with us a bit about you and your family, and how you came to unschooling?
I’d love to hear a bit more about Joseph. What is he interested in right now? How is he pursuing it? When you look back, can you see how that interest developed?
We’re chatting about worries this week, so can you share some of the worries that came up for you as you moved to unschooling?
When we first get started, our children’s days are SO different than the conventional childhood, and while we have enough of an idea about unschooling that we chose to get started, we’re still busy learning so much. We don’t have our own understanding or experience to fall back on when questions and worries bubble up. Some describe this time as feeling like jumping off a cliff. How would you describe that feeling? What did you rely on during that time to help you keep moving forward toward the other side?
When a worry or challenge pops up in our unschooling lives, it can trigger a fight or flight response, or sometimes the urge jump in and fix it immediately. So often these feelings are based in fear and projecting this moment into the future, but that can be hard to recognize in the moment. I’d love to hear your perspective on how you learned to recognize when fears are involved.
Once you’ve recognized that your own fears, worries, or issues are wrapped up in a situation and clouding your perspective, how do you begin to untangle them?
I think most, if not all, unschooling parents have gone through times when they found themselves questioning whether they were doing enough, whether they were creating a solid unschooling environment for their child, or children. Have you experienced that worry over the years? How did you move through it?
Another challenge that many unschooling parents experience revolves around their spouse or partner. Usually one parent will take the lead in unschooling and parenting, which means they’ll be learning deeply about it and be more actively engaged with the unschooling child or children, getting comfortable with the lifestyle. That dynamic often leaves the spouse or partner feeling disconnected and out of the loop. Can you share your experience with this?
For me, the transition from deschooling to unschooling was pretty seamless. In fact, I think part of deschooling is getting to a place where you no longer worry about getting to “unschooling.” You’re living life together as a family, and you’ve come to see that we’re all always learning, and we’re all always growing and changing. How would you describe your transition from the actively learning phase of deschooling to the living phase of unschooling?
Links to things mentioned in the show
The first homeschooling book Jen read: Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense
Yahoo email group: Shine with Unschooling
Jen’s blog: o frabjous day
The book about food Jen recommended: Kids, Carrots, and Candy (used to be called Preventing Childhood Eating Problems)
The book about relationships Jen recommended: Parent/Teen Breakthrough: The Relationship Approach