Lately I have been reading a lot of really cool blogs and article about unschooling- mainly the radical kind. Where unschooling means letting you child take the lead in their learning, radical unschooling extends that thinking to their whole life. A well known unschooler put it best:
Unschooling includes trusting your child in what they choose to learn. Radical Unschooling, which expands unschooling philosophy to parenting, means you extend that same trust to other areas of your child’s life, like foods, media, television… (It) requires thinking outside the box and a huge dose of courage.
Parenting is supposed to be joyful, and it can be when we learn to connect with, rather than control, our children. We were raised in a different era, where the majority of the parenting focused on obedience and doing what we were told…Once you understand that there is a more respectful, fulfilling way to live in harmony with not only our children, but also with others, you are well on your way. Just learning that a new parenting paradigm exists is often the first step in someone’s journey to a new awakening. ~ Dayna Martin, Radical Unschooling: A Revolution has Begun
There are many aspects of my life that I want to improve upon but the way I parent is the top of the list. The bottom line is that I don't want to make the same mistakes my mother, and many parents in this country, made. I don't want my kids to have childhood memories that involve spankings, guilt, harsh criticisms, groundings, bribery, and feelings of not being "enough".
I want my girls to lead a life that they enjoy, be productive members of society but not feel like they are "supposed" to do anything that does not feel right for them. I don't want them to enter careers that they are not passionate about, that they will dread going to every day. I want them to take what they learn in their youth and let it grow into something beautiful and real.
But how does one go from the norm of chores, set bedtimes, basically a very controlled environment to a whole life unschooling approach?? Well, I am taking those first baby steps by following the mantra,
"Read a little, try a little, wait a while, watch."
A good friend, Melissa, gave me that advice when I asked how to even begin changing how I approach my kids. Do I just let go of everything and let the chips fall where they may? No! Then they would take over the house and it would be an urban version of Lord of the Flies! =)
So this weekend I decided to take some steps and do away with a set bedtime and media monitoring. We will see what happens and watch our kids enjoy life in a stress free, full of joy way!
If you are interested in reading a bit more about unschooling, this is a great article to get your mind thinking of the possibilities!