Jennifer Andersen is an unschooling mom of two and the founder of ourmuddyboots.com and it’s related Facebook page. I had so much fun chatting with her! We talk about how we keep learning, over and over, that learning happens everywhere; triggers that can sneak up on us; the difference between natural and contrived consequences; how unschooling isn’t about having all the answers; her experience at the Free to Be Unschooling Conference, and more.
Quote of the Week
“Moving through that not knowing what to do, to knowing what to do—at least in my experience—was when I got those sweet spot moments of our relationship being so connected and really feeling like I got this unschooling thing. At first, those moments were so few and far between. They were kind of like, for golfers, like that perfect golf shot: they’re elusive, but they increase the more that you practice. That was my experience with moving through that period. I’d get that one moment of: this is it, this is what it is: we’re happy, our relationship is so strong and connected, look at how he or she is flourishing. Then eventually moving beyond that so those moments made up more of our day than less of our day.” ~ Jennifer Andersen
Questions for Jennifer
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?
As we move to unschooling, we come to see that learning really does happen everywhere. In fact, it seems to be something that we learn over and over. You think you know it, and then a few months or years later, you know it even more deeply. Has that been your experience?
Moving to unschooling is not all about the learning, it’s also about the strong relationships that connect us as a family, which in turn, support that learning. I love how you describe this process: “Changing our family dynamic is a process of learning about who we are, who our children are, and understanding the way we want our family to relate to each other. It is never a step by step protocol to follow. Rather, it is a self examination, and evaluation of whether or not our child, and our family are happy.” And I love your insight that it’s about moving from knowing what not to do, to knowing what to do. Can you share with us some of your thoughts about that process?
Many of us have triggers that sneak up on us and have us almost unknowingly placing expectations on our children. Maybe it’s certain events, like hitting school age, or the teen years, while for others it may be a seasonal thing. You recently wrote a post on your blog about how this happens to you in the fall. Can you share how you’ve learned to recognize and move through it?
Natural consequences is a frequent topic in the parenting world, yet often they are really talking about contrived consequences. How do you see the difference between them?
Unschooling is about living together with our children, not about having all the answers. It’s okay not to know what to do, and in those moments our children get to see how we move through them. That’s really valuable, isn’t it?
You’re founder of the website, ourmuddyboots.com, as well as maintaining an active Facebook page. Can you share how you weave unschooling and your work together?
You’re recently back from speaking and playing at the Free to Be unschooling conference in Arizona. Can you share a bit about your experience?
Looking back now, what, for you so far, has been the most valuable outcome from choosing unschooling?
Links to Things Mentioned in the Show
Pam’s blog post: Are You Playing the Role of Mother?