This week I’m asking myself if I’m feeling good about the support I’m giving my children’s interests. And my husband’s.
For me, that means taking a few minutes to think about my recent reactions to their ideas and questions and suggestions. Am I sharing my enthusiasm? If I’m hesitant, am I asking myself “Why not yes?” Or am I more often reacting automatically, without much consideration of the bigger picture?
Often I’m quite happy with how life is flowing: I’m able to actively support their interests, with time for conversations or helping them out, with driving to and from their activities, with purchasing supplies. Certainly things come up here and there, but the flow continues.
But sometimes I notice that I’ve been saying no more often than I’m usually comfortable with. In thinking about why, maybe I realize there’s a reasonable (at least to me) explanation. Then I ask myself, “Have I shared it?” If things are different than usual for a time, it helps that those around me know why. Not only can it help them better understand my perspective at the time, but it also gives them more reference points in understanding people in general. Or maybe my explanations now seem more like excuses and rationalizations. If that’s the case, over the next while I pay closer attention to my reactions, double-checking them for credibility.
Our relationships are at the heart of unschooling, and if I’m not acting dependably, I could be weakening those relationship connections, and undermining their trust in me.
I also take a couple minutes to think proactively about their current interests. What are they up to? Not only their passions, but their fun passing interests too. Is there something I can think of to bring more joy into their lives right now? That doesn’t necessarily mean spending money, it could be setting aside time to play that game you’ve been promising. Or to cheer them on in the video game they’re playing. Or to watch that movie together. Or to make that intricate recipe you guys connected over recently. Time is a core element of unschooling.
When we began unschooling, I saw how much learning stemmed from my active support of their interests and passions. As I gained experience with unschooling, I no longer felt the need to measure their learning. I began to realize that where there was joy, there was learning.
So now I focus on the joy.
On living joyfully.