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Another "Unschooling Myself" Thread

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Which way do I go? Which way do I go?


Well, after much consideration, I'm not going to go the school route just yet.  I've made this decision so often it almost feels like "Again?"  But this time, I had thought it through, begun to plan and prepare.  But now that January is nearing and time for applying for Pell Grants etc., I've decided to not apply.  But there is so much that I have wanted to learn and *here* I am in the place to learn it.


What finally cemented my decision was finding a "Short Course in Forest Management" course book at the "community" library at my friend's farm.  Almost lugged it up and over the hill, but I'll ask to borrow it, even though I know it would be OK.  


I have alway wanted to do immersion studies in tracking and wilderness living.  I've continually discounted what I know-- I *can* pick out deer tracks where most people wouldn't.  I already challenge myself with the puzzle of what they are doing.  But I've never been Tom Brown Jr., and I think his example was weighing on the judgment of myself.  Who cares if I'm not obsessed with it????  I had a similar epiphany when brushing up on my German for a trip, and then another when I decided my guitar playing was good enough for singing with kids.  Before that, Good Enough was never part of my vocabulary.  


So, I'm setting myself some goals.   I'm making a list of what I want to learn.  Crazy stuff for later as well as stuff for now.  I still want to brush up on my math--  .5-2hrs per week.  I want to learn botanical terminology more thoroughly so I can do more than tread water in botanical ID books.   I *can* volunteer only once in a while-- I don't need to make a huge commitment.  I'm keeping a learning journal of things I'm curious about.  Yesterday's first entry was on red-tailed hawks.  I looked up where they nest, because there is a local redtail that was carrying nesting material the other day.  I'm making what I've done forever more deliberate.  


My mother--bless my frustrated and mixed-up memory of her-- did leave me with some traits that I cherish.  Her ability to strike up a conversation with anybody and everybody.  Her constant search for skill and knowledge.  She was an amazing artist who studied sailing ships and knitting, the history of England and desktop publishing.  She taught me how to teach myself just by setting herself as an example.  I could do at least as well for my kids.


That school might still be in the future.  I do need to make more money.  But decades ago I made the choice to turn away from that whole deal, and I guess the idea still lives and thrives deep inside me.  I choose my family now--school would take away too much of that right when they need me the most.  If down the road, I still want to do it, it will be for my interests alone.  Who cares if I'll be 50-something on the other side of it?  At that point, it won't matter that I can quit my current work for a $15/hr job.  I won't feel so desperate with the idea that I'm competing against kids for the choice jobs.


The first thing I need to do is give myself the same credit that I give my kids.  "I picked apart an owl pellet today that I found under the branch of a bigleaf maple.  There were 2 mouse heads in it."  "Found a large, beefy-looking lichen today.  Need to look that up."  "Watched a hawk on my walk today."  I have been my worst enemy in my life.  I need to start treating myself as I do others.

post #2 of 4

I can totally relate to this.  I'm feeling like I really want to bite so many bullets right now, I started on the path to becoming an LC a little over 6 years ago (dd1 is 6) and now I'm thinking, okay I wanna do that now.


I also want to get more yoga training, I'd like to do a 500 hour course or some sort of specialty training.  (not just random I have the specific courses I want to take and would love to take all of them!)


Then there's some other random courses I want to take:  Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese, 4 different businesses courses I want to take and I'm signing up for one in a few days.  I'd also love to get much better on the guitar and take a few other music and dance courses.  


Mostly, I've been an unschooler since I was in high school (not going to classes), so I've self-taught or studied under people aka being in the way, with a lot of things, including some forms of dance, healing, my Spanish improved due to my own initiative, not so much being in classes, but in finding some good tools, learning with my kids (after I taught them all I knew) and committing to speaking it daily and at times, speaking nothing but Spanish.  I'm just not as dedicated right now, but I'm trying to get my kids on my level again, so we can be accountable to each other.  


I'd like to be mostly fluent by the end of this year.  If not completely fluent.  I try to be somewhat thematic with my learning, as in, focusing on things related to things the kids are learning.  


I'm still somewhat planning to up my permaculture experience too.  I'd love to do a workshop this year.  

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thanks for sharing, featherstory.


Whenever I get in trains of thought and exploration similar to this, I find myself thwarted by the requirements for education.   As my accumulated experiential learning becomes larger and larger, I become increasingly frustrated by this.  Though it's not like I go running around looking for opportunities at every turn, so I might not be looking deeply enough, but when I look at internship opportunities to step up the level and intensity of my studies, they often are only extended to those with specific levels of higher education.  Hell, even the farm interns have 4yr degrees around here.  


I need to be content with the volunteer opportunities, even though I'd like to step up the depth.  Yes, I'd love to weed and have an opportunity to learn about the plants in the nursery, but I'd really love to accompany researchers collecting data on fungi, moss, ferns and other life forms in symbiosis with each other.  All I'd need is a 2yr degree for many of those opportunities, but I am not willing commit that much time to that yet.  


So, I plod on with attempts to make my random learning more intentional, and continuing to put feelers out for those people who might value the kind of learning I've been doing the last 25 years.  In 10 years, I can give them my full attention.  Until then, I will do what I can.  

post #4 of 4

Yeah...I can relate to that too.  I try to stay open to the idea that there might be someone out there with an appreciation for something more than a certain level of credentials.  I know it happens.  I used to find those opportunities a lot, before I had children.  I really don't look for them anymore, but if you just put yourself out there, there is at least a possibility someone will come along with a beneficial learning experience for you and it certainly wouldn't hurt. 

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