So, this may not be totally related to unschooling,but I am going to post it here because in my mind it relates to a point.
My dd is 4, her K year would be the 2013-14 school year. Right now, I am thinking of doing a more unschooled K year. I have many, many reasons for this, but one of the reasons I am thinking of homeschooling is that my daughter shows NO signs of being willing to participate in something without a parent present. After much hand wringing and worrying over this, the past 6 months or so I have really let go of the worrying and tried to have faith that she will grow and separate at her own pace.
That is until yesterday. I work in a library, and once a week, they have a dance class for kids there. The teacher is someone i have chatted with many times. Her dd is same age and very like my daughter. (quiet, shy for a lack of a better word,) I knew she had never done anything without mom in terms of classes, though she does spend the night with grandma, something I don't think my dd would do even though she loves going to grandmas house. Anyway, yesterday, the teacher mentioned her daughter was doing a summer camp at the local waldorf school and was being dropped off and picked up. I was surprised and asked how it was going. She said she loves it, even though her daughter was VERY nervous at first. But, she ended up doing well. I should mention, her and her daughter in the past have taken mommy and me type classes there. The teacher sort of gave me the old, "mom was more nervous, and LOOK! she did fine and is learning independence" type talk that I have gotten from people in the past.
While I know that I shouldn't compare my dd or family choices to someone else's, I guess the whole conversation left a worried feel for me. I guess the conversation came a bad time for me too. My dd and i just finished in June a mommy and me style preschool class. While in wasn't perfect in many ways, (too schooly for me) it really worked well for my dd. Routine, seeing the same group of kids, (though she still would not "play" with them exactly), having another adult in her life that wasn't family, giving her exposure to something besides our home life, having mommy right there, etc. I decided to try and relax for the summer and not worry as much that she wasn't getting exposure to other kids and stuff. We do go to the park, zoo, places like that A LOT, but I don't think that is the same as being exposed to the same kids over and over. So, I have been researching different classes for my dd so we can do something else maybe in the fall. It just feels like a lot of classes are "drop off, pick up" or at least require the kid to participate while mom is there, but standing on the sidelines. I don't think my dd would even do that. I have thought about going to the classes and just letting her sit with me and watch, but I guess I feel like, "what is the point?", plus, remembering being a "shy" kid myself, I think sometimes you end up feeling like a failure because you are unable to do what everyone else is doing. (pariticipating).
So, now let me see if I can relate this to my unschool thoughts. I guess I start thinking, is this even important? Does she need to take some classes? I guess I can't decide what I think. I sorta of feel like she does because as she gets older, I worry that she isn't learning social skills with people other than family. (like I do want her to learn how to talk to someone else, something, quite frankly, I don't think she has ever done, she just recently nodded a few times when people asked her a question, and my dh and I thought that was huge) Or, I am feeling the pressure society puts on having your child become independent? Its hard to know what are my feelings and what are my ingrained beliefs from society. (similiar to feelings about schooling). But, in totally honesty, (and there is some guilt related to this) I do worry about her independence. we have seen some growth in the last few months, but she is still extremely "needy" (I hate that word , but don't have another word to use). Just this morning, she and I had a little argument because she didn't want to let me use the bathroom. When i pressed her for why, she said, "I just want mom". Totally fine, but she is totally allowed to come in and talk to me, but this morning that wasn't enough, she wanted to whine at me about how I was using the bathroom instead of sitting at the table with her, and she feels the need to touch me WHILE I AM SITTING ON THE TOILET. That is an example of something that is just too much for me. I mean, I start thinking, she is 4 and half, I can't go to the bathroom, nevermind alone, but without having to snuggle? That example doesn't happen everyday, but more than I am comfortable with. I should mention here, we family bed, we snuggle in the morning, she gets TONS of attention from both dh and I, so can't see that it is she needs more, and even if she does, I am quite incabable of giving more. These thoughts lead me to-well, maybe I should "make" her take a class without me and it will help her see she is capable of being without mommy, or it could totally backfire and she could be more afraid. On top of those thoughts, after the way I felt this morning, I started wondering if I am capable of homeschooling/unschooling, I feel like I can't meet her needs frequently.
I have to be honest here as well, I don't know if I am capable of "making" her do something that I know would make her so miserable. (take a class without mom). There is a swim class I would love to sign her up for, to learn some basic water safety, but the parents sit outside the fence and go in by themselves with the teacher. I honestly think she would freak out. I know this post went all over the place, but I just don't know what is the right thing to do. Is trying a class showing her she can, or turning my back on what I know her needs are? Should i just wait her out more? It is so hard for me to decide what is the right thing for my family, for her, and I often can't tell what I believe vs. the pressure I feel when all the other kids we know are WAY more independent.
Thank you for listening and making it this far.