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Any radical unschoolers here? - Page 7

post #121 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by WuWei View Post
There are many families who radically unschool with children with "special needs", including autism.

Pat
Do you know if RU eliminates ABA as a possible therapy?
post #122 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by WuWei View Post
I try to reframe my question to "What IF my husband never self-regulates with a healthy balance?" That is the same level of respect and autonomy that we aspire to honor in each member of our family.

How is my husband to judge, what is a "healthy balance" for ME?
The more I think about this answer, the more I feel it's the same kind of non-answer that I have gotten all along. (Not that I am saying you are not answering me, Pat, just that it's not an answer that explains things more to me.) I think that setting up an equivalent relationship between adults partners and parents and children is not an accurate reflection of how things really are and how children really develop and, again, side-steps the issue of what a parent can do if their child is making unhealthy choices or choices that can have long-term detrimental effects. I guess if a parent were to say, "I don't care if my kid gets fat, I'll talk to my kid about making healthy choices but in the end, if my kid gets fat, so be it," I could accept that as a parent's viewpoint, but I could never be comfortable parenting that way.

Quote:
I think sometimes parents think that RU parents just sit there and "let" their kids do whatever. To some extent i do, but we discuss ALL the time about everything, about calories, sugar, how certain foods might make you feel better, how many calories are in a candy bar and what that means, about how we feel after spending hours on the computer vs not doing that.
I know enough about RU to know that it's not about letting a kid do whatever she wants. And we do the same thing you do in discussing healthy eating and food choices. We talk a lot about the nutritional value of certain foods and how they affect our bodies and how our spiritual values affect our choices. We talk about values and choices in every aspect of life. But the idea that, if my kids make choices that could have lifelong negative consequences that they can't see or understand given their ages and stages of development (or, in the case of my oldest, her cognitive abilities) is somehow just 'their perogative' because my years of life experience somehow can't apply to them just kinda baffles me and, frankly, seems to turn millions of years of evolution on its ear.

But, I don't want to hijack the thread and turn it into a debate.

dm
post #123 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama in the forest View Post
The question is: can a parent who chooses not to keep a television (or video games, or candy, or insert whatever other controversial item here) in my home still be considered RU by the vast majority of RU parents? ... I do limit some things just naturally. By not bringing them into my home.
If my kids were asking for the item in question, I wouldn't say "no." I feel it's as much my kids' house as it is mine, and our money is family money, so I wouldn't refuse to have something simply because *I* see no need for it. (Actually, if I lived alone, I wouldn't have a tv--other members of my family enjoy it and want to have it around, so we have one.)

We do actually sit down with our kids when we go over our budget. They know how much we have, how much money goes into the mortgage, utilities, etc., and we discuss things we all want to do. We make group decisions about home improvement projects, vacations and other expenses all the time.
post #124 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by mama in the forest View Post
: I love this. This is exactly how I see myself too. It all begins for me when they are first born. I see their little bodies as so sacred, and I am filled with such a huge, deep respect for them as individuals. I open up my heart so that they can communicate to me what they need....more gentleness while I wash them? More strength? Softer tone of voice? Whatever my baby needs is what I give her. My six have all been different and I love that I can see that and devote myself to them completely.

Mama in the forest, I bow to your wisdom and kindness. You are an intelligent servant of peace in the world. Thank you for sharing your experience of 'trusting and listening'.

I believe that trusting and listening (on multiple levels) are the answers to all the world's problems, and your style sounds especially sweet to me, mama. I see you as someone who really gets how it serves you and all of humankind for to peacefully serve others and that there is truly no separation between us.



Quote:
Originally Posted by UnschoolnMa View Post
Great question! My line of thinking is that if you'd have the freedom to have/watch TV or eat candy they should too. Many RU families feel that the money belongs to the family rather than just to the adults. Of course I know parents have to make the actual decisions when the kids are really little, but then most 1 year olds don't much care how mom and dad spend the next paycheck. It's when they get older and verbal that things get more interesting than that though.

I think in many RU families these things would be handled with a lot of discussion and problem solving. So let's use junk food as an example. A family has had a pretty junk food free home up to the present and the kids have started to request more junk food during shopping trips or etc. The parent(s) is resistant to spend the money on it because they don't see it as healthy and they worry (naturally) about the children taking in an unhealthy thing. I think the discussion could maybe involve things like this:

*The parent shares their concerns about junk food and it's affect on bodies. (sugar, weight issues, heart health, diabetes, trans fats, cholesterol, chemical dyes, etc.) Invite the kids' thoughts on those things. Have they ever over done it on a sugary or greasy food? How did they feel about that? What do they think a diet too heavy on sugary, greasy foods would do for a person?

*The parent sharing thier concerns they might have about kids choosing junk over more nutritious foods too often, and the result that can have on health. Invite the kids to talk openly about what they feel healthy amounts of junk food are. What is the nutritional difference between an apple and a candy bar, in their opinion?

*The parent could share that they are conflicted about spending money on something they don't see as valuable or "good". Ask the kids about things they value enough to spend money on and things they wouldn't. Why?

*Discuss the role money has in your family budget and lifestyle. Invite their thoughts.

*Discuss the possibilities of them earning/having money of their own to purchase junk foods when they wish to have them. Ask them for their ideas too. Are they interested in learning some recipes for some homemade junk food? Or could the grocery budget just allow for a junk food option twice a month, 3 x a month??


Just some ideas to bounce around. The idea is that everyone is thinking, talking, sharing thoughts/concerns, and being heard equally.


UnschoolnMa, your examples are excellent! Thank you for sharing what works for your family and way to go on articulating how the "ideals" of RU can be ordinarily applied! Love it!
post #125 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmamama View Post
The more I think about this answer, the more I feel it's the same kind of non-answer that I have gotten all along. (Not that I am saying you are not answering me, Pat, just that it's not an answer that explains things more to me.) I think that setting up an equivalent relationship between adults partners and parents and children is not an accurate reflection of how things really are and how children really develop and, again, side-steps the issue of what a parent can do if their child is making unhealthy choices or choices that can have long-term detrimental effects. I guess if a parent were to say, "I don't care if my kid gets fat, I'll talk to my kid about making healthy choices but in the end, if my kid gets fat, so be it," I could accept that as a parent's viewpoint, but I could never be comfortable parenting that way.



I know enough about RU to know that it's not about letting a kid do whatever she wants. And we do the same thing you do in discussing healthy eating and food choices. We talk a lot about the nutritional value of certain foods and how they affect our bodies and how our spiritual values affect our choices. We talk about values and choices in every aspect of life. But the idea that, if my kids make choices that could have lifelong negative consequences that they can't see or understand given their ages and stages of development (or, in the case of my oldest, her cognitive abilities) is somehow just 'their perogative' because my years of life experience somehow can't apply to them just kinda baffles me and, frankly, seems to turn millions of years of evolution on its ear.

But, I don't want to hijack the thread and turn it into a debate.

dm
Wonderful post dm! You articulate this so well! Children are not adults, they live in the moment and do not see long term (or even short term) consequenses of their actions. I agree the analogy of equating children to husbands or adult friends holds no water.
post #126 of 267
For those of you who have commented on your doubts about self-regulation ~


My experience with this subject is that it is a process. It can be drawn out. And it is about trust, at its most basic level.

When children have not previously been trusted to the extent that their growing parents now want to offer, there is usually some time in which there is what would appear to be chaos or destruction (such as in the area of their health in the example of junk food, for example).

If the period of time in which they evolve through their own discovery of balance takes longer than is in accordance with OUR self-regulation senses -- can we trust that path of theirs?

Can we create and hold the space of sincere trust that they are intelligent beings, perhaps beyond our own awareness and knowledge, and that they'll find their way in the world most opitmally with our unconditional love supporting them?

Can we know and trust that everything balances itself out, eventually? That that is nature's law, in fact?

Can we absolutely know what is best for our children, or for any other human being? Can we come to the place where we find that we don't and cannot actually know that, surrendering to grace? Can we remind ourselves that we are only human beings and that it is not our job to be the all-seeing, all-knowing god of all things? Can we trust that everyone is always doing the best they can in each moment of life, including us, and that our work as parents is then sufficient?


Just some thoughts to ponder, if you will . . .
post #127 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZanZansMommy View Post
As someone who is learning/trying everyday what it's like to be an unschooler your story was partuclarly helpful mama. Thank You for posting this & sharing what must have been a difficult day for you. It touched me & lifted me up today
I'm sorry I missed this yesterday. I have trouble sharing the not so lovely times, so thanks.
post #128 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigeresse View Post
Children are not adults, they live in the moment and do not see long term (or even short term) consequenses of their actions. I agree the analogy of equating children to husbands or adult friends holds no water.

In my experience, living in the moment is the wisdom of the Universe, coming through child, teaching me. Full presence in the moment is the only place that knowledge can occur, in my opinion. So, I move more and more toward living in the Now with each breath I take. The children are wiser than I, in this sense, as they have not left that space that I struggle to return to.

And I do not know that it's true that children do not see the consequences of their actions. Just the opposite is true, in my own experience ~ when I assert more power than is humanly mine, I notice that my interference with their experience of cause and effect of their actions causes their focus to shift from actually learning the consequences of their choices to "beating" mom in the game of Being Right (which is the one area which we frequently don't see eye to eye - their opinions are rightfully based on their experiences and perceptions and my opinions are based on my experiences and perceptions. There simply is no such thing as "wrong" in the area of what is *right* for each individual, IMO) That is how things such as "truth" are always relative and subjective.

And this does not mean that I don't tell my children about my and others' personal experiences with the choice they're about to make, or that I don't share with them my knowledge of the way things work in the world throughout history -- things such as the anatomy & physiology and biology that I've studied for years, knowledge that they don't yet have and can partake in through me if they're interested . . . which I notice that they always are and my theory is that it's because I don't force it on them. That is my evidence of the innate wisdom of humankind, right there; that is how I see them finding their way without my insistence of anything.




post #129 of 267
Quote:
My experience with this subject is that it is a process. It can be drawn out. And it is about trust, at its most basic level.

When children have not previously been trusted to the extent that their growing parents now want to offer, there is usually some time in which there is what would appear to be chaos or destruction (such as in the area of their health in the example of junk food, for example).

If the period of time in which they evolve through their own discovery of balance takes longer than is in accordance with OUR self-regulation senses -- can we trust that path of theirs?

Can we create and hold the space of sincere trust that they are intelligent beings, perhaps beyond our own awareness and knowledge, and that they'll find their way in the world most opitmally with our unconditional love supporting them?

Can we know and trust that everything balances itself out, eventually? That that is nature's law, in fact?

Can we absolutely know what is best for our children, or for any other human being? Can we come to the place where we find that we don't and cannot actually know that, surrendering to grace? Can we remind ourselves that we are only human beings and that it is not our job to be the all-seeing, all-knowing god of all things? Can we trust that everyone is always doing the best they can in each moment of life, including us, and that our work as parents is then sufficient?
That is a wonderful and beautiful post. It comes down to this, though. There are times, and really some of the only times, that I must say this is best for my child with autism because she simply does not know, cannot be reasoned with, and it's always for her own safety. Such as her needing to come inside so I can run upstairs to the bathroom or b/c her brother needs a nap...she cannot play outside safely without supervision and she fights this with all of her might. I do know what is best in that circumstance and any reasoning about kidnappers or locking herself out or anything else does not reach her at all. She must experience and see in order to know and in the meantime I'm not going to leave her in an unsafe situation for her to experience what she does not know.

I've seen RU who do regulate their child's diet...feingold or eliminating sugar or dairy or whatever. How is this not putting your knowledge as parent onto a child? You have greater knowledge to know what harms your child and so you regulate it but this is you. If you truly had trust wouldn't you just let them eat what they want and suffer the consequences? We are gluten free and my dd willingly follows the diet b/c she does get sick. And yet I can't see how saying to her, you can't have that b/c it has gluten in it, is really any less respectful than saying to her, if you eat that you probably be sick for the next three days but go ahead if you feel it is best.

There are many times with children with autism and Asperger's that no amount of reasoning will sway them from their reality...is it truly healthy to allow an obsessed child to indulge the obsession and not eat, sleep, or do anything but the obsession? I have seen friends with children with autism whose children *do* this and they have had to set limits with the obsession for the child's health and no the child did not find self regulation on his own. He did not want to eat, he did not want to bathe, he did not want to go to camp, go outside, swim, do ANYTHING but the obsession. Is it right to say her child knew best and that she was not trusting his ability to self regulate to set a limit on the obsession?
post #130 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
Do you know if RU eliminates ABA as a possible therapy?
There are many therapies which are agreeable to an individual. We were just having this discussion in the Special Needs forum. My understanding is that social oriented therapies vary greatly by practitioner. As a philosophy, ABA doesn't seem in line with RU, per my understanding. However, Dr. Greenspan's Floortime is much more child-directed and respectful of the autonomy and passions of a child, imo. The crux, again, is what happens when the child's preference *for himself* varies from the agenda of the parent or therapist.

Personally, I have experienced very painful physical therapy, per my own preference and consent. I believe that children can be facilitated to understand the alternatives and communicate their desires.

I believe that Anne Ohman's essay "I AM WHAT I AM" is more in line with RU, however. http://www.livingjoyfully.ca/anneo/I_Am_What_I_Am.htm

Pat
post #131 of 267
Fluttermama,

We (ds and I, not dh, lol) do follow a Feingold diet, consensually. (Not perfectly avoiding, however.) Also, we avoid wheat, dairy, gluten. Consensually. Again, not perfectly avoiding. Ds has been able to choose these freely since he has ever voiced a preference. We discuss his experience (and ours) and trust him to be able to see how he feels and how his choices have impact.

I highly recommend the book Engaging Autism for you. But, even more, I'd recommend reading the archives at the AlwaysUnschooled and ShineWithUnschooling yahoogroups. Many of us have had similar experiences about honoring the autonomy of children with special needs.


Pat
post #132 of 267
MayMay,

Thank you for articulating the spiritual paradigm shift that RU embraces. Choosing to live from a place of Trust, coming from an upbringing based in Fear, has been affirming of the joy of living and learning.

Pat
post #133 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by fluttermama View Post
That is a wonderful and beautiful post. It comes down to this, though. There are times, and really some of the only times, that I must say this is best for my child with autism because she simply does not know, cannot be reasoned with, and it's always for her own safety. Such as her needing to come inside so I can run upstairs to the bathroom or b/c her brother needs a nap...she cannot play outside safely without supervision and she fights this with all of her might. I do know what is best in that circumstance and any reasoning about kidnappers or locking herself out or anything else does not reach her at all. She must experience and see in order to know and in the meantime I'm not going to leave her in an unsafe situation for her to experience what she does not know.

I hear you. This, to me, would be similar to the question of ~ Do you save your child from running into traffic or do you let them 'learn for themselves' about cause and effect in this area?


My response is that of course I protect my child from traffic. The difference is, however, that I'm clear that my reason is because it makes ME feel better to do so and not becaus I presume to know what is best for them, which I cannot possibly know in my experience and opinion.

This is what I'm referring to when I speak of 'staying in my own business' -- which is never a vacuum and often (if not always) spills over into all of humanity, including my dear children.
post #134 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by WuWei View Post
MayMay,

Thank you for articulating the spiritual paradigm shift that RU embraces. Choosing to live from a place of Trust, coming from an upbringing based in Fear, has been affirming of the joy of living and learning.

Pat

You're welcome, WuWei, and I love that you get that. I can see no other perspective at this point in my evolutionary path.
post #135 of 267
Danielle Conger, list mama at Always Unschooled, just posted the following in regards to "crunchy values and parenting". She gave me permission to share it here.

Pat

Quote:
I'd like to pull out the shift in language here from the
original "teach" to "inform." I think the delicate balance begins with
that shift: I'm not trying to teach my kids nor am I wanting to
determine their values for them. What I am trying to do is forge deep,
meaningful, authentic relationships with my kids where they really know
me and I really know them. I do this by sharing my life with them, my
values and opinions and choices. As an unschooling parent I am,
hopefully, exposing them to the world, to information, to choices they
may make for themselves. So, I would say I agree when you talk
about "modeling" as well. But....

I think the delicate balance becomes even more tricky when we try to
figure out how much exposure, how much information, how much discussion.
I've found that if I'm keeping the focus on myself and my choices, then
my kids are really open to hearing and considering and discussing ideas.
Maybe not so much when they're eying up that Bratz doll with the sparkly
hair stuff. *g* But even when they make the choice for a sparkly new toy
with outrageous packaging, they see me painstakingly take apart that
package, paring it down to any possible recyclable, reusable potential
and throwing away only what's left. They see the importance of
particular values in a way that doesn't induce guilt or shame or denial.

Keeping the emphasis on my choices has been really helpful around here,
as has stepping back and taking a more long term view of such values.
Not expecting my young kids to hold such abstract ideas forefront in
their minds, not expecting them to prioritize such ideas over their own
desires in the moment helps them to be open to considering those values
as a choice they may make. Also, keeping those values light and happy
rather than filled with doom, gloom, and guilt is really important to me
as well. I want my kids to associate my values with loving and
compassion and fulfillment, so I try really hard to frame them that way.
Ultimately, they may not choose to embrace my values, and that's okay
with me. But I really hope they don't reject them because they're filled
with yucky feelings, kwim?
post #136 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by WuWei View Post
I believe that Anne Ohman's essay "I AM WHAT I AM" is more in line with RU, however. http://www.livingjoyfully.ca/anneo/I_Am_What_I_Am.htm

Pat
That's a beautiful essay, Pat. Thanks for sharing the link!
post #137 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by May May View Post
If the period of time in which they evolve through their own discovery of balance takes longer than is in accordance with OUR self-regulation senses -- can we trust that path of theirs?
I guess with my HIV+ daughter, who could make decisions now that could damage her health to a degree from which she could never recover, my answer is no. We don't have time to let her mess around discovering her balance about taking her medication. KWIM?

dm
post #138 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by WuWei View Post
Choosing to live from a place of Trust, coming from an upbringing based in Fear, has been affirming of the joy of living and learning.


WuWei, I want to respond more to this.


For me, part of the affirmation also is how healthy I feel when I trust me.

In light of that, I notice my upbringing that was based in fear and and see that I've spend my life moving away from that original, unquestioned belief (that "life is safer when lived in fear"). I am trusting myself and no longer need to reason with myself constantly with decisions -- they make themselves when I trust me, listening to my inner voice.

Another part of the affirmation is that I trust and support that this is where I'm supposed to be right here, right now and that I cannot possibly move my self ahead of my own evolution.

When I'm in this space of trust, I see the way out of the fear, step by step, laid out before me, clear as day. My children are then witnesses to a a real process of evolution that happens to be going on in their mother. It is reality and the evidence is that we're more vital and intimate than ever before when we sit in this space of trusting and loving what is, together. I have been showing them the way out of Hell in my opinion (the only kind of hell I know of - we don't have to die to go there in my experience), and now they're blessed with the knowledge of how that's done should they ever experience suffering from the effects of believing that they want reality to be different than it is at any given time in their lives and they're not experiencing what they want in that moment.

In that space, they're not sheltered from reality they're trusted along with reality.

In addition, I see that my children are noticing that they want to generously serve others with their knowledge of the path to peace on Earth. Truly universal healthcare, IMO.




post #139 of 267
Quote:
My response is that of course I protect my child from traffic. The difference is, however, that I'm clear that my reason is because it makes ME feel better to do so and not becaus I presume to know what is best for them, which I cannot possibly know in my experience and opinion.
I'm a little confused...you cannot presume to know that it is not best for your child to run out into traffic?
post #140 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by fluttermama View Post
I'm a little confused...you cannot presume to know that it is not best for your child to run out into traffic?
That kinda confused me too. :
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