Originally Posted by mama in the forest
I'm here. Your post made me ask myself, "when did I stop being a full radical unschooler?"
I was with my first daughter. I remember sitting up with her at midnight when she was 2 because she is such a night owl.
I actually was always with her...and then when I had five more kids I remember feeling very lost and out of control when the children took over. I think it was after my fifth babe was born that my family needed a bit of bed routines & supper schedules. Then I had my sixth and those routines have helped me transition one more child into my life.
But I am a radical unschooler at heart, and I plan to return to that as soon as I can! Actually, I see us moving slowly back to that every day. I don't like what I am when I'm making them do things, and it's always a conflict within me.
When my 3 older children were small, I couldn't always continue on sometimes. I remember the bone-crushing exhaustion. An older friend with multiple children encouraged me to lower the lights, maybe put some calming music on, fix a little snac, k and just calm all the activity down in a soothing, slow way in the evenings. Snuggling down with the children, reading them to sleep, even without fixed bedtimes can often be the kindest thing to do for small children and their tired parents.
In the old days, nights just fell, and people followed the sun. These days, even homes can be Vegas, so sometimes it helps to know it's ok for a day to come to a calm end. It's OK to lower the lights, and hush the sounds some to help little ones unwind. There isn't anything wrong with working/planning together with the children to get some shut eye.
One reason I've moved away from defining us as unschoolers (which never felt comfortable, even when we stopped with the very little structure we had) is because there are too many questions of whether something is unschooling or radical enough. "Is respectfully helping a child settle down so I can also rest a radical enough thing to do?" lol I think sleep can be a very worthy goal, and in the right spirit, it can meet the emotional and physical needs of adults and children. If the children are not running around at midnight, it doesn't mean you've failed, or stopped being the kind of parent you want to be. (I mean not unless you shamed, beat or drugged them to sleep).