Cindy Gaddis is an unschooling mom to seven kids—and one son-in law! She’s also the author of The Right Side of Normal, a book about understanding and honouring the natural learning path for right-brained children. In this episode, we talk about helicopter parenting and control, cultural expectations, society’s focus on being busy, family relationships, and what unschooling looks like in larger families.
Quote of the Week
“Where did childhood go? Time and space to just be, play, explore, create, wonder, feel, discover. It’s so important to the well-being of a person, which is so closely connected to happiness.” ~ Cindy Gaddis
Questions for Cindy
Can you share with us a bit about you and your family, and how you came to unschooling?
Often we talk about deschooling as being time to recover from time spent in school and to shift away from seeing learning through the conventional school lens. All very true, but it doesn’t really seem to do justice to all the cultural paradigm shifts that are wrapped up in there, does it? I’d love to dive deeper into some of those shifts today. First up, helicopter parenting. Parents have good intentions, but they can find themselves controlling every aspect of their children’s days. How does that perspective shift as we move to unschooling?
The next shift I’d like to talk about is around socialization. It’s a question we’re often asked by others when they learn our kids don’t go to school. We can easily point out how there are lots of opportunities for children to engage with other children, with other people, outside of school, but it’s bigger than that, isn’t it?
Another shift on the deschooling road revolves around the conventional tendency to keep kids busy, scheduling their days with extracurricular activities. This seems to be wrapped up in “being a well-rounded person for college applications” and the “over-achiever mentality as the definition of success.” How does this perspective shift as we move to unschooling?
The shift to unschooling also encompasses big shifts in how we look at family relationships. One of the big ones for me was around the idea of fairness. Did you find that a valuable shift as well?
I also wanted to ask you about what your unschooling days looked like with a larger family. There’s the idea that you need more control the more children you have. What has your experience been?
What tips would you share for larger families starting to move to unschooling?
Links to Things Mentioned in the Show
Growing Without Schooling magazine
Pam’s talk: A Family of Individuals