LIVING JOYFULLY NEWSLETTER
Issue #24 | October 31, 2013
OCTOBER’S THEME: Mainstream Mantras
I hope you and your family have been enjoying yourselves this month! Living and learning and unschooling keeps life interesting, doesn’t it? Let’s get started and wrap up October.
ON THE BLOG … this month
Sometimes the actions of unschooling parents may appear to be very similar to the conventional dynamic of children being “spoiled” by their parents, but the motivations behind them are completely different. Unschooling parents do a lot to support their children, but do so with an eye to helping their children do things for themselves. This changes the perspective of all the conversations unschooling parents have with their children and creates a completely different parent-child relationship.
Being busy is a badge of honour in our society: if you’re not busy, you’re lazy. So if the goal is busy, then “not busy” is the adversary. Yet “not busy” is really the only time we get to think, to process, to contemplate. The challenge is that we have nothing to show others for the time investment, no proof of accomplishment. And besides, society imagines, what does a child really have to think about?
Though it’s more time-consuming than setting up rules, helping our children get to deeply know themselves is an important aspect of unschooling. Support them as they explore the ways that activities, electronic or otherwise, impact their physical and emotional well-being, in both positive and negative ways. Encourage them as they gain experience with making choices, discovering the clues that guide them in making choices that help them feel steady and whole and comfortable.
No matter the topic—video games, TV, hockey, dinosaurs—when you build strong and connected relationships with your children, you are showing through your actions that you care about and support them. They will feel more comfortable coming to you for help when they are feeling frustrated or angry. You will notice when things get challenging, and be comfortable approaching them to share your observations, your experience, and your love and support. I think much of society’s challenges with youth behaviour stems from a deep disconnect between parents and their children. Unschooling parents are choosing to do things differently.
LET’S TALK ABOUT … surrounding yourself with people to learn from
This month we’ve been talking about some of the conventional advice we hear regularly, and it reminded me about when we began unschooling, how I tried to surround myself with more experienced unschoolers, absorbing their thoughts and ideas and actions. Not with an eye to copy, but more to learn and incorporate what makes sense to me. I’ve done that with writing too—I join online and in-person communities, seeing if they are a good fit; passing on some, and getting more deeply involved with others. It reminded me of an idea I came across a while back, summed up in this quote from Todd Henry, author of The Accidental Creative:
“One thing I’ve learned about relationships is that I tend to become more like the people I spend the most time with. Because of that, I try to spend as much time as possible with people I want to be more like.”
If I want to be an unschooler, I hang around with unschoolers I admire. If I want to be a writer, I hang out where writers I admire hang out. I immerse myself with people who are doing what I’m interested in learning more about.
So if you’re feeling uncomfortably surrounded by some of the “mainstream mantras” I’ve talked about this month, here are some more unschooling blogs you can wrap yourself up in:
This is a daily snippet of inspiration and encouragement, in pictures and words, for unschooling parents from Sandra Dodd.
Amy Carpenter Leugs is long-time unschooler who has started blogging more regularly.
Here you’ll find Jennifer McGrail sharing about unschooling and her family.
A mother-daughter collaboration, this blog looks back at more than 20 years of a family experiment in child-led education.
LIVING JOYFULLY … with unschooling
I wanted to let you know that Amazon just introduced the Kindle MatchBook program. It’s allowed me to set it up so that anyone who has bought a print edition of either of my books can get the ebook edition for free!
I think it’s such a great idea, as I have found myself in the same situation, wanting both a print copy of some books for my library but also an ebook copy to have with me on my Kobo. (For those like me who don’t have a Kindle, there is no DRM on my ebooks so you can get the free Kindle ebook, then bring it into Calibre—a free ebook conversion program—to convert it to epub format, which you can then load onto any of the other e-readers.)
You can check for ebooks savings for any of your Amazon print book purchases here: Kindle Matchbook.
If you’ve bought a print edition of either my books at a conference and would like an ebook edition, just email me with the info and I’d be happy to send you the file. 🙂
Until next time, wishing you and your family a Happy Halloween!