Glenna McAulay is an unschooling mom of two daughters, and both she and her husband have a wonderful perspective on living the unschooling lifestyle within their means. We talk about the perspective shifts around money and choices that have helped us over the years, as well as share some ideas for low-cost unschooling.
Quote of the Week
“I think it’s really all about conversation. I mean, we have conversations all the time. We have dad home so much of the time because we’ve chosen that. Now what that means is that we don’t have a huge ton of disposable income, so we have to make the choices of what’s important to our family.” ~ Glenna McAulay
Questions for Glenna
Can you share with us a bit about you and your family, and how you came to unschooling?
I always love to hear what the kids are up to. What things are they interested in and how are they pursuing their interest?
Unschooling families are choosing a different kind of lifestyle, one in which they prioritize spending time with their children. What that looks like can vary widely: maybe they’re living on one income, maybe they’re a single parent, maybe they work-at-home etc. What does come with that, is often a lower family income. Let’s talk a bit about the challenges of that.
In my experience, when money challenges arise, fear can quickly create tunnel vision. Our minds shout no, no, no, can’t do that, can’t do that, and all of a sudden we feel trapped. Each time, I found I need to actively shift from seeing things through the lens of lack to being open creative possibilities. I didn’t see any possibilities until I moved past the fear. Have you found that kind of shift helpful?
When it comes to conversations with our kids, even with less income it still doesn’t need to be about saying no. For me it’s helped to remember not to use money as the first filter when questions come up, but rather one of the last. Just saying “no” shuts down so much conversation, doesn’t it?
With my kids, sometimes it helped to shift our perspective from consumer to DIYer. As we come to know our kids more deeply, and understand the WHY behind their requests, we can sometimes help satisfy that deeper motivation more quickly. So while we’re maybe saving up for “the thing,” we also continued to play with the possibilities, with other ways to satisfy that curiosity. And sometimes it’s super fun for them to play with ways to make their own versions of things in the meantime. Has that been your experience?
There were a couple of conventional expectations that I needed to work through over the years, One was that “new is better.” Which led me to judge myself as a failure if I couldn’t provide shiny, new things. That’s a pretty prevalent expectation in our society isn’t it?
The other conventional expectation was that as the parent, I needed to personally meet all my children’s needs. That one had me feeling like I was failing too, for a while. Then I realized the things they were wanting to do were about them, not about me. And I could reach out to the local community and the online community to find all sorts of creative ways to help them find what they were looking for. Have you found yourself making that shift too?
I thought it would be fun to finish up by just brainstorming a bunch of low-cost opportunities people might find, in their community and online, to get their juices flowing.
Links to Things Mentioned in the Show
Olive made a coin-operated Lego machine that dispenses Timbits!
Live and learn on organic farms around the world: WOOFing
Chris Guillebeau has a great website about the art of nonconformity and travel hacking
The traveling family Pam mentioned: Normans Running Wild
Facebook group: My unschooler is interested in …
You can check out raspberry pi
Glenna on Facebook