I love this time of year, not just the holidays, but the feeling of transition that accompanies turning the calendar to a fresh year. It inspires me to take some time to look back in appreciation, and forward in anticipation. Delicious!
This year I made time to dive into something that’s intrigued me for a few years: the hero’s journey. From January to June, each week on my blog I tackled a stage of Joseph Campbell’s classic monomyth, writing about what I learned in the context of the unschooling journey. (It starts here.) I really enjoyed the process and learned a lot, both about the journey concept itself, and more specifically about my own unschooling journey. I loved it.
The latter half of the year found me fascinated with the many glimpses of unschooling ideas I found “out in the wild.” Like: in Big Magic, a book about creativity by Elizabeth Gilbert; in an interview of Brené Brown on “The Tim Ferriss Show” podcast; in the fiction book The Humans, by Matt Haig; in Todd Henry’s book, Louder Than Words; in Maria Popova’s contribution to the 2014 Future of Storytelling Summit which she shared on her Brain Pickings website; in The Practicing Mind by Thomas M. Sterner; in Pamela Slim’s Body of Work. Many of these sightings I shared on my Living Joyfully facebook page.
And as I write that, it occurs to me that it’s all part of my journey as well, yet another step deeper in seeing how the ordinary world and the unschooling world weave together, because there’s really only one world. I see how these last six months have built on the six months before it. Taking time to look back really does help me appreciate my days in the bigger picture.
Another idea that has solidified for me in the last couple of months is the Exploring Unschooling podcast. I’d been rolling the idea around in my mind for a couple of years, but this time it gained momentum. I have come to appreciate podcasting as a valuable medium for sharing information and experience. As my unschooling journey has matured, in the last couple of years I’ve thrown myself into the beginning stages of my writer’s journey. And I’ve noticed that the bulk of my learning and growth has come through books and podcasts.
I have come to enjoy the deeper connection I feel with authors who share their thoughts and experience through podcasting, though the thought of podcasting myself scared the crap out of me. But lately, I’ve started to feel up for the challenge. And I’m feeling drawn to connecting with unschooling parents through a new medium, especially as my book writing picks up speed. Not to mention, in my day-to-day life, I love to chat with people about unschooling! There are two subjects right now that light me up like a roaring, summer bonfire: unschooling and stories. So something that felt interesting but overwhelming just a few months ago, now feels super exciting.
This whole process has been another reminder, again, that things develop in their own time and that patience is often my best friend. No matter how much I wanted to be an experienced unschooling parent in my first year, I wasn’t one. I couldn’t be one. Even if I did much the same things as it appeared they did, I wasn’t doing them from the same place, with the same depth of understanding and perspective. I didn’t deeply know why I was doing those things. And I’m finding the same thing on my writing journey. But actively seeking solid information that is a few steps ahead of me keeps me moving forward and being challenged at the edge of my knowledge and skill, where heaps of learning happens.
For example, similar to my unschooling journey, there are things I did this year that earlier in my writing journey I had encountered through more experienced writers and thought, well, I won’t be doing that. Like putting my box set on sale and advertising it. Before, I thought that seemed manipulative (for me—it was okay when other people did it), but now that I more deeply understand the relationship between author and reader, I see both the business advantages and the way to reach new readers who would truly like to find information about unschooling. I’m not manipulating. I’m not begging. I’m putting stuff out for people to find. Breadcrumbs. Joy. Fun.
So, some things I’m look forward to in 2016 …
The launch of the weekly Exploring Unschooling podcast in January. Each episode will be available on my website, and/or you’ll be able to subscribe through the regular podcast feeds. I will continue to write on the blog, but as things come up that I want to write about, rather than on a schedule.
The release of THE BOOK! The unschooling book I’ve been working on for more than two years. It’s been through three complete re-organizations as I figure out what I really want to say. I also think my writing skills needed to catch up to where my brain wanted to go. I’ve started and stopped writing it twice, but this time feels really good. Here’s hoping that’s why!
I’m also working on a book about the unschooling journey that I’m really excited about. I was approached by a friend who is deeply knowledgeable about mythology and Joseph Campbell’s work and we’re working together to expand and extend the work I originally did on the blog. It’s shaping up beautifully! I’m quite sure we’ll be able to release it next year as well.
And, I’m going to dive into fiction! That may be less interesting to you, but I’ve included it for completeness. Haha. True to form, I have immersed myself in learning about the craft of storytelling for quite a while now. I dipped my toe in, completing NaNoWriMo a couple of years ago, and joining a local writer’s group for a year or so. I feel like I’ve been cocooning in the belly of the whale stage of this journey for a while now, and I’m ready to leave the departure phase and jump in with both feet!
And of course, weaving through all this, is the amazing time I spend connecting with my children and hubby, supporting them as they pursue their interests and goals. And them supporting me! With all its ups and downs, its speedy straightaways and slow curvy parts, it all adds up to an interesting life.
Unschooling for the win. 🙂