Oh Yes! I think you mamas said it all for me!
Well, I would have made DH read the same books I did! He does it with me and ohhhhhh, he is still not deschooled! He has got some things in his head that are seriously all about success at this age, mistrust, slacking.. ugh.. and then we do have that one local friend that does more and seems like she is trying to serve us each time we get together. I know for a fact that we are her only friend and feel really sad that we keep feeling like she is showing off. Her kid is going to K... It just makes me really uncomfortable when he "performs" knowledge... I am not sure why. I guess that isn't the "point" and the "point" is the biggest lesson I deeply feel is "the question" at the mere age of 5. My kids want to feel loved, celebrated and they also need help showing each other. They want to communicate. They dearly want to play. They need more and more healthy food and time outside. One of the biggest things I am happy I did was find Waldorf and not strickly follow it as an unschooler (semi- due to DH). Today my love was going on about singapore math for $23 a workbook. It was clear to me that there was no toys involved and this was going to be instruction. I got a long lecture on scientist studing people and finding out best how they learn. The same week my close friend got my son a toy that shoots bullets. OT, I am pretty upset.
I tried to nap with the baby. Then I got an idea. I got up and made a cone out of felt, which we made into a toy strawberry and gave to his sister when she woke up. I made sure that the "cone" lesson got spelled on the chalkboard and that DH was in the room. I made other cones of smaller circumference. When sister woke up her gave this to her and said "I love you with all my heart!" It was very sweet and in the end I collaborated and got my way. I pointed out that learning in the early years shouldn't start with "ABC" but "I love you, I love me, and I love the world" It is hard to explain this to many people.
You ever watch a movie that makes you feel like the important things can get so lost and we always see these people realizing the moment has passed and it is all to late? That is probably what I wish I would have learned from the very first day of holding my son. My life has changed tons since then and I feel that I am %80 there. I wish for certain I would have ripped the TV out of the house! I wish also that I lived in one place! I really wish that I would have followed the Waldorf environments and toys more carefully than all the rest! (or as a true starting place). I do half and half now because DH use to see me as almost a open ended toy, anti-mainstream smoother... and it has taken me so long to hear him say that he really admires the way our children play... and yes, we see the difference a lot!
I wish I would have gotten in tune with my own imaginative side while my son was an infant. I have not had time to read about Waldorf but I have flocked that way and gotten information that I can believe with my whole heart! One key was about health and nature being a huge part of life before age 8. It all makes a ton of sense to me now. And it isn't from the point of view like you are a dentist telling them their bodies will rot. It is far more celebrated, everything is way more positive. It is for every kind of person, even urbanites, because it is a foundation to a healthy life -Love, food, activity, creativity.
My fav book was by David Albert " the journey of the self-seeker" I have not read many others..
My up side of unschooling has been that I ask my child questions and hear the answers and they are always my fav part of the day. I also celebrate their birthdays by staying up all night and giving them a grand day (I nap... it could be better if I had more time to prep). I am planning on journalling really soon with both of them and this is were writing 101 will begin and also give us all something meaningful.
I understand the side of extended family. A really sweet member gave me "the talk" one late night and said the point of life was to compete.. I barely could speak when I said I thought the point of life was to love. Many people can't understand my views on my dedication to my family. These are my children! I don't expect some other better bird to teach someone else's bird to fly and I am really annoyed that people don't think it is enough for me to teach my own children how to shine. They honestly are making it out to be a sad statement of wealth vs passion, or them finding a passion that will make them the most money. I get it, I am not walking away from that idea and I think that art vs. math - then I stand with art.... but really - it is to teach a whole rich life approach. Sadly.. we still aren't in our own home yet and the garden is not great. We have been trying to explore.
I think I would try starting my own art coop as soon as possible with high quality materials. I would also try to get the whole thing tax free.
I would get in with the holistic moms ASAP (just for GD really).
I would plan to celebrate the seasons with more real life than crafts... I feel like the shut up in a room learning is really where this came from.. kids are totally aware of the outdoors :). Let them wander! I would keep my crafts to ones that come out really well done.
Over-stimulation is something I never worried about until I had two kids. It seems I compete with everything. You want them to be "on" during certain times - you might not have a child that likes to cram- they need down time. TV is not down time, in my house, running around is more like it.
I guess my biggest point is I wish I had more DH support to create and support my DS's imagination vs ANY kind of other academic materials. So - think etsy? Think all that kind of stuff! It goes by soooo fast!!!!!