I'm not writing this to convince anyone to unschool or homeschool. I'm writing this to shout out my joy and appreciation for my life to the Universe! I am so grateful for my family and for how we choose to live and lately the way we unschool has been front and center on my gratitude list! Thank you world for giving us the opportunity to live life as we desire and rejoice in the magic of it all! So why do I love it SO much?....
Breaking the stigma with Monday's: As a person who went to school I always dreaded Mondays. Of course a lot of us know the Office Space quote regarding 'having a case of the Mondays'...it's a common thing-to dread Monday. To feel like you must mourn the end of the weekend and living life in your free state which you've enjoyed for 2.5 days! Well, I have always had a tendency to go against the grain in certain areas so I have been a self-employed lady since I graduated high school. With that being said, I have also been an employee and know that sensation of dreading work days. However, as an entrepreneur, and specifically at this point in my life, I LOVE Mondays. I look forward to doing my work and connecting with folks all around the world when Monday comes around! I also don't have the dread of getting up earlier than necessary to rush my children off to school, just because it's a Monday. Stigma of 'having a case of the Mondays' Crushed!
Sleep: This is HUGE! As a high schooler I wrote quite a few papers about how we (children and teens) would function better if school started later. Now, I first must admit that I am an Owl. So, there's that. However, it's True! Children are able to use their energy to grow and have better brain function if they can get enough sleep. They also are in better moods and have fewer emotional upsets. (You can google search this if you want to find research-that's not my point. I'm simply stating things I notice). Take this even a step further and we can consider our...
Adrenals and adrenal fatigue: Good lord, how many adults are walking around with adrenal fatigue these days? Being in a constant state of stress and tiredness. Living on coffee. It's remarkable! As a bodyworker, and a person on her own self healing journey, adrenals were often front and center for so many issues. So why adrenals? What do they have to do with school? Well that whole wake up to an alarm clock thing is part of it. How do you feel when you get to wake up naturally?
I feel GREAT! And I live my life in a way so that I have the pleasure of doing so almost daily. However, I am still a mom so I may wake numerous times in a night or be awoken before my wishes. Plus there are other fun things I do which require setting an alarm clock...which brings me to, how do you feel when you wake up to a buzzing alarm clock? or a blasting radio? There are times when I simply hit snooze and roll it off. But there also times when I am jolted out of my sleep. I feel adrenaline rush through my body. Now is that a fun or healthy way to start a day? Not in my opinion. I would have to do some fact checking to see if there are scientific health ramifications for starting your day with the stress response (sympathetic, fight or flight) on a regular basis. Point is, it's not for me and I'm grateful to not add that to my children's weekday routine.
Now we can add to the adrenal issue by throwing in transitions and lowered support with one adult to tend to 20 children to help them through each transition. Or we can throw in bullying and being made fun of. Societal shaming and the pressures of feeling like we have to change who we are to fit in. (I think that is another post in and of itself entirely)! All of that triggers those defense mechanisms.
Of course stress can be good and we are all going to encounter it. I'm simply throwing some other ideas out there of how it is being minimized in our lives.
Food: Personally I feel the best when I get to eat and drink when I'm hungry and thirsty. I enjoy listening to my body. I also feel best when I can take time in the morning to get protein in my system and eat what I'm craving-which sometimes doesn't happen when I have to be somewhere soon after waking. Add to that, quality food-and my school lunch sure didn't compare to what I eat now or at home! (Of course some schools are getting way better at this but others are still failing miserably). And that doesn't even tap into the whole food sensitivity situation.
Travel: We (as a family) LOVE to travel! We are currently traveling to help out my dad which would not have been possible if we had to stick around home for the kids to start their school year. I want to be able to travel for fun and for emergency situations without batting an eye about if school is going to impact our ability to travel. (We do participate in sports and dance etc so there are times when we choose to not travel to maintain that consistency).
I don't like unnecessary conflict: Now of course if you are choosing to school then this conflict is more 'necessary.' Yes I said 'choosing.' It is a choice. I know that there are some certain circumstances which make it seem like the only choice. And I know in other circumstances, one parents hands may be tied due to legal encounters with another parent. However, in most situations it's a choice. If you want to unschool/homeschool, you can. It takes support but you can do it! With all of that being said, I live my life with as little conflict as possible. I'm not talking about being passive, or even passive aggressive. I'm talking about preventing triggers and living in conjunction with my children's desires to the best of my ability so that we don't have to push and fight for each of our rights to do and be as we please.
These first few weeks of school I have heard from so many parents how it is a 'constant battle' with their kids to get them off to school, to do their homework and to go to sleep at night. I have also experienced working with some kids during these first few weeks. I was able to make some of the transitions a bit more flowy and easy however there were times when I felt out of my comfort zone. For instance, a boy I was working with absolutely did NOT want to do his homework. We finished one page but then it was a standstill. All he could say was "I don't want to do it!" and all I could do was empathize. "I know it!" I had enough days when I didn't want to do homework. My partner could also empathize. as a boy he was like this boy- did NOT want to do homework EVER. In my nature, I do not want to manipulate a person to get him/her to do what he or she does not want to do. Nor do I want to force it. So I was sitting there at a loss. I didn't want to bribe. (manipulate). My explanations for why he needs to do it were not comforting nor helping bring motivation. (He needed an intrinsic desire to do this, not an external explanation). And how do I really explain it-for me I don't want to put my girls in school (unless they really showed they wanted that) because I can't stand homework, so how am I going to convince a 6 year old that it's something he needs to do?
My point-I don't like unnecessary conflict, and for me the battle with homework is not invited into my life. Nor is fighting about sleep, or waking up in the morning and feeling rushed to get off to school. I know it's possible to maintain the connection with your kids and make these tasks happen-it just doesn't resonate for me.
I love learning. I love seeing my children learn. I see how it happens spontaneously. I want to support that and help it fluorish. It's simply amazing to watch my children learn. Violet picks up on things without me having to force her to memorize anything! She learned the days of the week and facts like 60 seconds in one minute, 60 minutes in one hour, by asking questions and applying information. She pointed out to Me how 3 4s makes 12. She isn't memorizing facts by having it drilled at her and being asked to memorize it. She's Learning it because she's curious and wants to know it! She starts reading when she wants and takes breaks. She asks to do experiments and she learns so much as we travel to other places! She also gets to hone in on her passions right away. For instance, she's interested in sewing so we have given her the tools to learn and as she grows we attract others to take her farther so she could easily apprentice someone and be selling clothes by the time she's 12 if that's what's right for her. That is One example of her following her passions and beginning to serve the world through her gifts. My youngest, Regina, is also a joy to watch learn! And you can see how she learns differently. She is a feeler. She wants to touch things and take them apart and put them together. Violet wanted the words first. I not only get to observe but I get to be the conduit for each of their unique styles! I get to be in awe on a daily basis!
Basically I LOVE what we are doing and I wanted to shout it on the roof tops and say THANK YOU UNIVERSE!! I wish for everyone to feel this great too! Big hugs!