Ellen Rowland is an unschooling mom of two children, ages 12 and 13. Back in 2008, Ellen and her husband Richard decided to leave the US and move to Senegal, West Africa with their two children, ages 3 and 4 at the time. Eight years later, they moved to small island off the Turkish coast of Greece. We have such a fun conversation, diving into how she discovered unschooling and what the transition looked like, her book, Everything I Thought I Knew: An Exploration of Life and Learning, how she broke the cycle of controlling and critical parenting she grew up with, whether it’s possible to “juggle it all,” the most unexpected but awesome thing she’s found so far from choosing unschooling, and much more!
Quote of the Week
“The first thing that I decided to do was put everything on hold in my life, except my children. And I got down on the floor with them, because I really needed to understand what the world felt like from their perspective, how it’s challenging and it’s so exciting and there’s so much to learn and so much to conquer, and at the same time it’s overwhelming and scary.” ~ Ellen Rowland
Questions for Ellen
Can you share with us a bit about you and your family and how you first came across the idea of unschooling?
What did your family’s move to unschooling look like?
What did you find the most challenging paradigm shift to be as you shifted to unschooling?
You recently published a great book, Everything I Thought I Knew: An Exploration of Life and Learning. I really enjoyed reading it, and I love that you organized your chapters around the alphabet. In the ‘M’ chapter, you have a section called ‘Motherhood’ in which you talk about your decision to break the cycle of the controlling and critical parenting you grew up with. Can you share with us a bit about that process? How did you begin that change?
Your website is amuddylife.com. I would love to hear the inspiration behind that beautiful metaphor for your unschooling lives!
Let’s go back to your book. I’d like to visit the ‘J’ chapter, ‘Juggle,’ for a moment. You open the chapter saying, “Parents who are interested in moving away from a traditional schooling situation and educating their children at home often want to know how it’s possible to balance family, work, and personal time.” That is such a common concern. How do you answer the question, “How is it possible to juggle it all?”
What has been the most unexpected but awesome thing you’ve found so far from choosing unschooling?
Links to Things Mentioned in the Show
Ellen’s blog post, A True Mother: On Breaking the Transgenerational Parenting Cycle
Ellen’s website, amuddylife.com