Every year about this time I have a bit of a freakout. Mainly because it's winter and it's hard, but also because we have cycles of stress and depression that come about now. My husband has been in grad school our children's entire lives, finishing a masters, then we moved here, then he's had a couple of major setbacks, I almost died a couple of times, etc. - things have been rough and especially stressful and without an ongoing sense of normalcy, whatever that is. Our normal is struggle, I guess.
At the end of the day, we've done okay with it. I think though, that when the kids were little(r), I thought that this would get easier once they could walk and talk and choose things of their choosing and whatnot. That may have been true if we didn't have the internet. I don't know. We struggle with balancing screen time and motivation. That may always be the case. Most adults I know have that same struggle, myself included.
There's part of me that thinks they could probably play video games these next ten years and still grow up with an idea of what it means to have a productive life and still be able to read and form sentences and so on. Their whole family has advanced degrees and strives to engage in productive, meaningful work that benefits the larger community/world/culture. They'd get that message, I think.
At the same time, I'm not sure what precisely my job is here. I am a big believer in unschooling, but now and then a question comes up and I wonder. Right now I'm wondering if it isn't a good idea to make sure that my children are challenged. I hear other (non-homeschooling) parents talk and the things they value are really success in a well-balanced sense. They believe this includes rigorous academic scheduling and both cultural and physical extra-curriculars. There's a part of me that agrees with that.
As a child, though, I never had to try very hard to achieve that. I was readily interested in joining clubs and activities. My children are decidedly not, however. These days I struggle to get them into the front yard to play in the snow. That's the really exhausting part - my children would rather stay inside and play video games. They don't want to get ready. They don't want to put on shoes or head outside or get moving at all. I can motivate them but it's hard. I'm not always motivated to do so. Especially lately. I've been coping with some pretty severe depression and anxiety and I find it difficult to move or wake or work. I'm impressed with myself for keeping up with the house, for making appointments, for trying to plan anything at all.
I'm doing what I need to be doing to move forward with that. I've reached out to the homeschooling community here. My sons do not want to participate in the co-op days, so I'm searching for kids that aren't involved in that specifically. A lot of the other unschoolers live further away from us and those that we started out with which were closer dropped into school awhile ago. Regardless, I'm trying to plan the things I can and participate in what I can.
I just feel a little lost here philosophically, I guess. What am I doing? Where am I trying to go with this? What do they actually [i]do[/i] in school? Why do we as unschoolers paint this false dichotomy of unschooling/school? Isn't there some in-between? I'm sick of planning activities and my children not wanting to do the things or me primarily being the one doing the activity. When does that stop? There. I've hit it. There's my real question. I'll bold that so you can skip the whole first boring part.