Anna Brown joins me to answer listener questions. Click here to submit your own question to the Q&A Round Table!
Quote of the Week
“I think if we can just be aware that we don’t have to hold all of this weight ourself, that we can have conversations, that we can include our children, that that just helps us move forward through all these different things because it’s a common theme. It doesn’t really matter what the situation or issue is if that same solution is to just open up and have conversations with each other.” ~ Anna Brown
Vanessa’s Question (from BC, Canada) [TIME: 4:10]
About 6 months ago I was seeking out homeschooling podcasts and I stumbled upon Exploring Unschooling. I was hooked. This has been our first year of homeschooling/unschooling our 9-year-old girl and 10-year-old boy and I have been balancing between the 2 methods. Luckily, I live in the best province for homeschooling and the “school” we are with fully supports the child centered approach. What I have found the most fascinating about unschooling is how natural it felt. I have been unknowingly unschooling my children their whole lives and the transition from a traditional school to a natural home environment has been a very easy one. The more I listen to your podcasts and the wonderful guests you have on the more confident I feel about our choice.
Onto my question:
I’m an only child and I spent a lot of time on my own. Along with that came 2 words that now as a mom make me cringe. “I’m bored.” My own mothers’ response was always the same “Use your imagination!” My 8-year-old self would be so disappointed in me as I have to succumb to using the 3 most dreaded words of my childhood.
When my children say they are bored I feel as though I am failing at unschooling. I don’t even think that can be possible and yet here I am trying to fill the day with busy work just to avoid boredom. So, I ask you this, did your children ever get bored and how can I help my children fill their day without directly influencing their activity or interest choices?
Many Thanks, Vanessa
Alex’s Question (from France) [TIME: 15:37]
Hello, I hope you are having a good day.
I was wondering if you could help me with one small issue. I have been helping my children to wear their clothes from their birth but now they are 4 and 6 (both are boys) and they still ask me to help them (they actually do not really participate or very rarely participate so I put their clothes on alone). Recently I was thinking that probably they should do it themselves and I have been keeping asking them to do it alone and each time they do not agree and ask me to help again and again. I don’t mind and do it with love and patience. I was just wondering what is your attitude about it and should I push them to do it themselves or should I wait until they are ready? They already put their shoes and jackets themselves but not the other clothes. Should I wait until they are ready or should I ask them more firmly to do it themselves?
Thank you in advance.
Very kind regards, Alex
Anonymous Question [TIME: 20:50]
Hi there! I am the mom of 2 kids, a daughter 7.5 & a son 6. We have been homeschooling for 3 years (my daughter went to preschool) and have been on a steady road towards unschooling. Your podcast has been an invaluable resource for me on this journey.
I have 2 questions:
1. Both kids love TV and video games. At the moment, IOS games and online platforms are sufficient for them. However, my son is in LOVE with YouTube videos where he watches people play games on other gaming platforms – Nintendo, XBox, etc. The issue I foresee is with my husband. He has issues with gaming and finds it easier to manage with IOS or online games. But the second a game controller hits his hands he can’t leave it. He will become obsessive about playing, stays up all night and gets hostile towards anyone who tries to interrupt him. Therefore, we have kept these things out of the house. We are aware that this has to do with his past but he is not terribly willing to do the work to deal with the problem head on. I wish he would so that we can have these devices in our home to allow my son to follow his delight. So, I guess I’m wondering what your thoughts are on the issues that arise for parents when their children’s delights are triggering like this to the parent? I know that for myself, I have welcomed these triggers and see how they are an opportunity for me to grow. But what about a resistant partner?
2. Do you have any thoughts on the introverted parent who unschools extroverted children?
Thanks in advance and my deepest gratitude to you 3 lovely ladies!
Anonymous Question [TIME: 35:36]
Our son is about to turn nine and is an only child. We belong to a homeschooling community where we meet once a week for a field trip and once a week for park day. He enjoys it. The other days we spend at home, for the most part, as my husband and I both work from home, albeit not full-time. Our son loves Minecraft, Skyping with his homeschool friends and just started playing Roblox. We’ve always had unlimited time on the computer and he’s on it from when he wakes up until he goes to bed, literally. When we leave anywhere he wants to use my phone to watch videos to and from the places we go to. We just went to the grocery store where he spent the whole time watching my phone to and from and while in the store. He spends more time watching a screen than not watching a screen.
I’m sad about this as he doesn’t engage with me or with my husband, doesn’t want to eat meals with us (we suggest only dinner with us), isn’t the kindest person to me, etc. I offer other things to do and he’s not interested. I ask him to not get my phone from my purse when we get in the car and he grabs it anyway and says, “ha, ha!” We went on a weeklong trip without access to a computer and no internet and I saw the kid that I once had … interested in things, more joyful, playful. I miss him. I beat myself up for not having another child, but I had him at almost 44. I feel he watches YouTube videos to pass the time cuz there’s no one else around to spark interaction with. I support him by getting food and drinks for him throughout the day. I feel disrespected and of no use to him. My husband thinks he is disrespectful to but offers no assistance to the situation.
Any thoughts about sorting out these feelings?
Thank you, ladies.
ADDED LATER: I want to expand on it as my son opened up last night about his desire for a sibling. He was crying over it and it breaks my heart. He said if he had one, he could play all the time with a brother (his preference). He said if a kid is walking on the streets, we could take the kid home. We talked about the adoption process more. We have homeschool friends who adopted three siblings and he mentioned that if they could do it, so could we. He said that he watches and plays videos a lot because he doesn’t have anyone to play with (which relates to my previous question). I offered suggestions like more playdates. No, he wants a kid to be with us all the time. I offered more playtime with us (mom/dad) and he said no, he wants a brother. I woke up crying. He asked why we didn’t have a kid right after we had him and I didn’t know how to answer. I focus on how we are so happy that he was born, and he said why didn’t we start earlier so as to have more than one.
I had my son when I was almost 44 and my husband was 48. We met and married in our early 40s. My husband didn’t want another child, and I was on the fence. I feel like he’s going to grow up thinking back on his childhood and summarizing it as a lonely time because he didn’t have a sibling. He’s mentioned it throughout the years. He turns nine in one week. I can see how his life is so different than those with a sibling. There are positives and negatives to both, I get that (I have 8 siblings, my husband has 5). I feel like I’m letting him down and not supporting him. We could do x y and z but the underlying wish he wants realized just won’t be happen unless we adopt, which I hadn’t really entertained seriously until now as he was so emotional about his desires. Oh, my heart is heavy.
Links to things mentioned in the show
- The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
- Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
- Anna’s website: choosingconnection.com