Idzie Desmarais is a 25 year old grown unschooler and author of the blog, I’m Unschooled. Yes, I Can Write. I’ve know Idzie’s mom online for many years, and watched from a distance as Idzie became interested in the process of unschooling itself and started her blog, way back in 2008. In 2010, I was hosting the Toronto Unschooling Conference and asked if she’d be interested in speaking. I was thrilled when she agreed, and she spoke in both 2010 and 2011. The TUC Talks are available free on my website.
Idzie and I had a wonderful chat, talking about unschooling days, her relationship with her parents, college, the advice she has for unschooling parents just starting out on this journey, and more!
Quote of the Week
“The act of placing the power over learning and life into the individual’s hands is both empowering and motivating. The “motivation” people see in unschoolers is really a joy in learning that is seen far less often among the masses in school.” ~ Idzie Desmarais
Questions for Idzie
1. Can you share with us a bit about you and your family?
2. What did your family’s move to unschooling look like?
3. And then a few years in, when your family was very comfortable with unschooling, what did your days generally look like?
4. For many years I’ve wondered why everyone just seems to accept that a strained parent-child dynamic is normal. What was your relationship with your parents like growing up? And now?
5. You summed up your most recent blog post, “Fun is More Important Than “Education”,” in your last line: “Have fun, and the learning will take care of itself.” I loved that. I remember when I eventually I stopped looking for the learning altogether and just looked for the fun. Do you see this step as an essential part of moving to unschooling?
6. You haven’t gone to college or university, and none of my three kids at this point have chosen to go, so let’s talk about that for a moment, because even unschooling parents can have a hard time with the idea of their kids not going to college. I see college as a tool that some might choose if it aligns with their goals, say a career that requires a degree, but it’s just as fine if they don’t. What are your thoughts on college or university?
7. You wrote a blog post I loved, titled, “In Praise of The Unexceptional: Because Unschooling Doesn’t Have to Be Impressive.” It’s true that unschooling young adults can be doing things that look impressive from the outside, but the difference is they’re doing them because they want to, not because they want to impress others. Unschooling is definitely not about being a different path to raising a conventionally successful adult. How important do you think it is to revisit our definition of success as we embark on the unschooling journey?
8. Along those lines, you gave a talk at the Northeast Unschooling Conference in Boston in 2015, which you posted on your blog as a series titled, “Unexceptionally Exceptional.” On my unschooling journey I came to value the quiet times and small, everyday moments in our lives, just as much as the bigger ones, yet that’s also a journey our children need to make on their own. Can you share a bit about your journey to seeing past the conventional noise to the profound value in downtime and being true to yourself?
9. You’ve talked online a bit about your challenges with depression. Do you think the perspective on living and learning that you’ve developed through growing up unschooling, that deeper level of self-awareness and understanding how you tick, helps you through these times?
10. When you look back over your childhood, can you see a thread or two that weaves through your interests over the years? A common theme that it uniquely you, even if the interests themselves varied widely?
11. As someone who’s grown up unschooling, is there a piece of advice you could share with unschooling parents who are just starting out on this journey?
Links to things mentioned in the show
Idzie’s blog: I’m Unschooled. Yes, I Can Write
Her Facebook page: I’m Unschooled. Yes, I Can Write. FB page
Idzie’s blog post: Fun is More Important Than “Education”
Idzie’s blog post: In Praise of The Unexceptional: Because Unschooling Doesn’t Have to Be Impressive
Idzie’s Unexceptionally Exceptional series ~
Part 1: The Meaning of Success
Part 2: Time for Struggle, Time for Joy
Part 3: A Gateway to Learning
Idzie’s TUC Talks: 2010 Talk: Unschooling is Forever and 2011 Talk: Against the Current (just scroll down a bit to find hers)
Megan Valnes says
This episode resonated with me because I still find myself being hardest on myself. Am I doing enough? Am I providing enough? Are we doing the right thing? Less and less these days, but some days the feeling gnaws at me. While I’ve let go of expectations for my children, I’m still learning to let go for myself. Some level of expectation for one’s self is beneficial, but the constant questioning that plagues me in certain moments is not helpful! But I’m always learning!!
Thanks Pam and Idzie!
Pam Laricchia says
That’s a great point, Megan, digging into the expectations we place on ourselves is so valuable. Always learning is right! 🙂
Thanks Idzie and Pam! This was very reassuring, as the mom of teenagers, and also a great reminder of the priority of Fun, as I’m also the mom of a 5 year old! Love these podcasts!
Pam Laricchia says
Glad you enjoyed it, Marcella! And I’m happy you’re finding them helpful. 🙂