I’m continuing my miniseries, In Celebration of Unschooling, sharing the draft of an as yet unpublished book I wrote a few years ago. The book looks at unschooling through the lens of parenting.
This week, we’re diving into Chapter 6: Exploring Character.
In this chapter, I dive into some of the character traits being explored and discussed by psychologists and researchers. Building on the character discussion we began in chapter 2 where we looked at the why, now we’ll tackle the how. And we’re going to concentrate on the traits that I’ve seen have a significant impact on our children’s ability to navigate and engage with the world.
The list is similar to what researchers have cited as markers of “success,” though we’ve already redefined that measure for ourselves. Though the lives of unschooling teens and young adults can definitely look successful through a conventional lens, we’re now starting to see that they are coming to it from a decidedly unconventional perspective.
We’ll explore self-awareness, empathy, trust in themselves, adaptability, grit, and how everything we’ve talked about so far weaves together into our expanding picture of unschooling in action.
At unschooling gatherings, one of the first things most new people point out is the children’s enthusiasm. And not just the younger children, the older ones too. The teens and young adults are just as busy doing interesting things: having fascinating conversations, playing games, helping out younger kids, engaging in their passions and sharing with anyone who’s interested, curiously investigating what others are up to. They haven’t become cynical. They still have interests. They still do things with enthusiasm. It’s infectious!
It’s the curiosity that pops them out of bed in the morning. The intrinsic joy of learning new and interesting things. The self-awareness and trust in themselves to make choices and try things out. The adaptability to creatively adjust their course in response to shifting circumstances. The grit to keep moving toward their long-term goals even as the path weaves momentarily out of sight. It’s a zest for life that is almost palpable.
The Living Joyfully Network community
The Network is a wonderful online community for parents to engage in candid conversations about living and learning through the lens of unschooling. Our shared goals are to embrace lifelong learning, develop strong and connected relationships with our children, and cultivate a thriving unschooling lifestyle in our families. If you’re curious to learn more, click here!
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