Gwen Montoya is an unschooling, single mom to Jamie and Zoe. She is pretty adept at weaving her work as a digital marketing consultant into their unschooling days. I enjoy reading snippets of their lives on Facebook, so I was excited when she agreed to chat with me about relationships and the creative ways we can find to meet everyone’s needs as we move through challenges, when we trust each other and work together.
Quote of the Week
“Building the little bits of trust—I mean, it’s not big things that happen; it’s not giant big grand gestures of trust. It’s every single day; it’s little things that build on each other.” ~ Gwen Montoya
Questions for Gwen
Can you share with us a bit about you and your family, and how you came to unschooling?
I’d love to hear about what your kids are up to. What are they interested in right now? How are they pursuing it?
Can you give us a bit of an idea of the general needs that flow through your days? Are you and your children pretty similar personality-wise, like on the introversion-extroversion scale, or is there a wide range?
When conflicting needs or desires arises, what are some of the ways you work with your kids to explore the roots and parameters of what they’re looking for? Like, if they want to do something and it turns out to be at odds with something else going on, it helps to find out how they feel about waiting a day, or a week and so on. This helps you discover the room you guys have to play with possibilities. What does that process look like for you? Are you more likely to do this individually or together with everyone involved?
Especially when we first get started with unschooling, it can be hard to think beyond the conventional approaches to a problem, which usually means there’s a winner and a loser i.e. taking turns with who gets their way. What tips do you have for people about exploring and brainstorming creative ways to meet everyone’s needs? To find that win-win?
Can you share an example of when you guys were facing conflicting needs and how you found a workable path forward that everyone was reasonably comfortable with?
There’s a high level of trust that develops when everyone’s confident that their needs will be thoughtfully considered and accommodated, isn’t there? In fact, I found that after a while, my kids would notice when their sibling was really invested in something and pretty happily back off. They knew that a time would come when something was super important to them and others would return the favour. Have you found that give and take in your family?
You also have a consulting business you run from home, right? Digital marketing. I’d love to hear a bit about how you weave that into your unschooling lives.
Links to Things Mentioned in the Show
Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s StarTalk Podcast