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Any radical unschoolers here? - Page 3

post #41 of 267
I am a very patience person, and many times people have said to me "You have the personality for this, I don't!". However, patience can be learned. Like who cares if they spill water all over the floor-- you now have a clean floor. You throw a towel over the wetness and it's done. Same with dirty clothes. You change them. Or if there are no clean clothes, understand that is no reason for the sun to not set or rise.

I think people forget that everyone has rough times, and that it's ok. You just pick up and start over. That said, if you are having a lot of bad times where you lash out at the kids, you might need to find a new path, some support. Having rough times is natural, it happens. How one continually reacts to those times is what's more important. I also think it's important for those of us with older children to try and reach down and back to when things were physically more challenging and share those memories. I don't do it enough with my rl friends of small children. It's easy to forget the early years of parenting when it was all new, & we weren't old hands at juggling. When the baby needed us as much as the older kid (who seemed so old then, but really was just a little one as well).

One reason I've moved away from 100% identifying myself with unschooling theory is because I often feel people don't present honest ways of offerring help or sympathy for parental 'doneness'. Kind of like, "We've been out all day, and I am so tired, and now my child wants to go out for ice cream, plus I'm boke". Sometimes we don't want the advice to be-- "Maybe if you went outside you might perk up? Or can you look through all the couch cushions for change and come up with enough to get ice cream?" Sometimes a parent really is spent, no matter how much you wish you weren't.

Sometimes too, we want to know the world won't end if we say "Ice cream tomorrow. We'll look in the sofa cushions in the morning. Sleep tonight" and hope that we aren't the most horrible parents in the world.

Also, ime over the years with RU theory, parental weeping isn't the RU experience want to hear about, or that RU people much talk about, either. Like if you always plan your day the right way, you won't be tired, or never feel sad/guilty that you wish the kids would nap longer. Or if you could just not get pms, maybe it could always work out well.

This parenting gig is not the easiest thing ever.
post #42 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom View Post

Also as SagMama illustrates to me, parental weeping isn't the RU experiencewe always want to hear about, either. Like if you always plan your day the right way, you won't be tired, or never feel sad/guilty that you wish the kids would nap longer. Or if you could just not get pms, maybe it could always work out well.

I never said those things.
post #43 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by May May View Post
We are radical unschoolers!


At this point, I cannot even fathom trusting my children *only* in a categorical sense (as in the area of "learning" for example) and not in other areas. My experience and observations of trusting their self wisdom implicitly in discovering and knowing what is best for themselves (better than I ever could) is that it reverberates outwardly from their core into every area of life such as the food, sleep, etc. issues and, yes, knowledge interests, too.

I've come to see my role as that of ambassador and devoted assistant.

I notice that the more I feel and express trust in my children in every area of life, the brighter their lights shine and the healthier, happier and more vital they seem. That is evidence enough for me to stay in MY own business and simply be available to them.
I love the way you put that! That's exactly as I see it too.
post #44 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by SagMom View Post
I never said those things.

I wasn't quoting you. If that wasn't the gist of what you were saying, I will edit your name out. Actually, I will edit your name out, because you're not the only one and I do not want the conversation to take this turn. It's not about us.
post #45 of 267
I see some excellent questions that have come up in the second page of this thread. I'd love to share my experience in response to them.


First, I'd like to say that I've noticed there are as many ways of interpreting this way of life as there are people who live it.


Living in this manner allows me to stay in my own business - literally. Walking my talk is a full time job, I've found. I can only know what is and is not true for my SELF to participate in. So, if my child wanted to experiment with something that I saw evidence of being harmful in some way, I would and do excercise my right not to participate in that. I'd let them know that I could not peacefully participate in something that violates my personal values or boundaries.

In the area of sleep, for example, I am very clear about my personal sleep needs and boundaries. Yes, as radical unschoolers, my children are "allowed" to stay up as late as they want, doing whatever they want. However, I notice that they both choose and ask to sleep with me, in the family bed that I have created and held space for.

My personal rule is that I need for my own sleeping space to be a certain way (an area that most if not all humans have preferences for and against) and that would include whoever is my bed partner(s) coming to sleep at the same time as me, so as to reduce the potential for disruption to my deep sleep. So, my personal boundary is such that, when my 12 y/o daughter wants to stay up and watch TV, she is perfectly welcome to as long as she is willing to go to sleep in the bed that's in her room and not in mine. My rule is that, if they want or need for me to help them to go to sleep, then they need to help me with my need to go to sleep at the same time, together.

I frame it for them in my communication as a circular system of balance in which everyone (and not just the children) has equal consideration for their personal needs and boundaries. Being a truster of all beings, I have learned about myself that overriding mama's needs as an act of love simply is not true for me. That balance can only be created when there is a meeting in the center for everyone, equally. That, even if I temporarily sacrifice my needs for the sake of meeting theirs, there are unwanted reverberations to come. Therefore, I also do not wish to violate my boundary of being a nice mommy and when I don't get good sleep - I am not a nice mommy, which is simply an illustration of the Universal law of cause & effect.

So we talk a lot about commodities. How everything has a price and it is hardly limited to money. That, if they want to stay up later than mama's bed time (which happens to be earlier than theirs!) then the price is missing their TV show or other opportunities they might want. It's also helpful to frame it as a privilege & responsibility package - there simply is no privilege that I can think of in the Universe that doesn't have a partnership with responsibility. And it's not MY rule, it's nature's law.

The key distinction in this way of living for us is that the children are the one choosing between the price for and the relative value of what they want; They are the one deciding if it is worth it or not. So they get to do "whatever they want" - and so do I. They learn how to righteously use power to do "whatever they want" by me walking that talk and only asserting my personal boundaries and needs and not professing to know what should or shoudn't matter to them.


I apply these concepts and others that are born out of my practice of trusting humankind, including myself, at all times. Listening, understanding and factoring in the needs and desires of everyone equally is where I put my attention in each moment.
post #46 of 267
And in theory, I trust RU and the ideas of it. What I find difficult, and why i wish there was another name for it is because growing a healthy emotional family isn't about schooling. I also often wish that those of us who have travelled this path for so many years were more open about how we deal with various situations on a daily basis. Too much theory talk sometimes, not enough practicality.
post #47 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by May May View Post
Therefore, I also do not wish to violate my boundary of being a nice mommy and when I don't get good sleep - I am not a nice mommy, which is simply an illustration of the Universal law of cause & effect.


I wanted to amend this part of my pp and say that I'm working on and with the triggers that arise for me about sleep deprivation/interruption/etc. so that I can be a kinder mama when they do need me in the middle of the night and the next day, after sleep loss.

And one of the ways I'm working on my self growth in this area is to honor my limitations in the Now and not trying to force myself ahead of my own evolution, trusting my needs as I trust my children's.
post #48 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by SagMom View Post
I never said those things.
I cleaned it up, so if you want to edit, you can. I am really trying to understand what you mean, and I respect we both might have misunderstood each other. I think you're saying you want to hear the good things, not the time when parents were upset, because the good things are what insipires you to be a better parent, and the rough times are not inspiring, not that the sad parent is wrong/bad? Is that enough of a run- on sentence? lol

I know I said this wasn't about us, but since I posted, I wanted to give you a chance to post as well. Maybe later, the mods can get this back on track and edit our stuff? I
post #49 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by May May View Post
I wanted to amend this part of my pp and say that I'm working on and with the triggers that arise for me about sleep deprivation/interruption/etc. so that I can be a kinder mama when they do need me in the middle of the night and the next day, after sleep loss.

And one of the ways I'm working on my self growth in this area is to honor my limitations in the Now and not trying to force myself ahead of my own evolution, trusting my needs as I trust my children's.

I think that's lovely and honest.
post #50 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
I think you're saying you want to hear the good things, not the time when parents were upset, because the good things are what insipires you to be a better parent, and the rough times are not inspiring, not that the sad parent is wrong/bad?

Thank you for editing, because that (post 41)wasn't the gist of what I was saying. I DO want to hear the good things because the good things are what inspires me to be a better parent. It's not that I specifically want people to *not* talk about the bad though. Is that any clearer? *I* don't find it helpful to dwell or wallow in the negative. In fact, *for me* it leads to a downward spiral. I'm not talking for all unschoolers or all RU's, just little ol' me. And fwiw, I wasn't trying to make any big huge point here. "Water" said, "X helps me" and I replied "Y helps me." No biggie.

I think MayMay's point is important:
Quote:
I can only know what is and is not true for my SELF to participate in.
And I think that's why so much of these discussions is theoretical. It's funny, I've heard people complain that threads like these are too theoretical, but then, when people give specific answers about what they'd do in a certain situation, there are also people who complain, "Well, that wouldn't work in MY house." I really think that all we can do is throw out ideas and people just have to figure out what works for them at this point in time.
post #51 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by SagMom View Post
Thank you for editing, because that (post 41)wasn't the gist of what I was saying. I DO want to hear the good things because the good things are what inspires me to be a better parent. It's not that I specifically want people to *not* talk about the bad though. Is that any clearer? *I* don't find it helpful to dwell or wallow in the negative..

You are very welcome! I am understanding a bit better. If you could indulge me one more thought/question? lol I didn't think I was wallowing in the negative when I related that eveing so many years ago. I have always thought of that story has having an upbeat ending-- the children got all that they needed, in a loving way, and I got to rest. So my question is, is there way to relate this story without it sounding scary to new mothers. Is there a way to explain better that exhaustion and misery/ despondacy aren't necessarily the same things?
post #52 of 267
Thread Starter 
Don't exactly know where I 'm going with this. But reading other's posts I am a little confused. I consider us a radically unschooling family (although we never use these labels ourselves).

I try to accomodate my kids needs at all times. That said, I also make sure that I accomodate my own (and DHs) needs too.

If a child wants me to read them a book and I am totally exhausted, I let them know how I am feeling and that I do want to read a book with them, but need a little nap first.

I don't think we are doing any favors by not attending to our own needs as well.

If my child wants something that we cannot afford, we talk about how we can raise the money to get the money to buy what is desired.

These are my rambling thoughts. I think my main point is that I believe that all of our needs are valid. It is important to look inside ourselves as parents and question whether our needs really are needs or habits though (eg. does the house really NEED to be clean?).

From a less than perfect parent,
jenn
post #53 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by SagMom View Post
And I think that's why so much of these discussions is theoretical. It's funny, I've heard people complain that threads like these are too theoretical, but then, when people give specific answers about what they'd do in a certain situation, there are also people who complain, "Well, that wouldn't work in MY house.".
Or soemtimes people do offer suggestions and people disagree over what kinds of stories they want to hear.

Don't worry, we're cool, but I did chuckle over this.
post #54 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by radiantorganics View Post
I try to accomodate my kids needs at all times. That said, I also make sure that I accomodate my own (and DHs) needs too.

If a child wants me to read them a book and I am totally exhausted, I let them know how I am feeling and that I do want to read a book with them, but need a little nap first.
That pretty much describes us. I don't really like the label radical unschooler. I'm sure some people would describe us as such but others would hear that I brush my ds' teeth and say that we're not. We don't limit tv or food but I might suggest ds will feel better if he eats something other than more candy when he is hungry. But I'm not going to forbid him from eating more candy if he insists. So I don't know if that means I'm "radical" or not (nor do I care much).
post #55 of 267
Quote:
I've come to see my role as that of ambassador and devoted assistant.
: 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.

It doesn't really change as they grow older. I still feel the same way! I respect them fully and trust them that they know what they need much more so than I do. I cannot presume anything. My mind can't even go to the place where one might say, "why can't my whatever year old read?". I literally can't go there. My mind isn't capable of it. Each child I am entrusted with is so sacred and so full of their own knowledge. They let me know what they need and I am there for them.

My only struggle is meshing this basis of caring and loving them into the large family/group situation. Some days I'm good at that, and others......well,
post #56 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by radiantorganics View Post
If my child wants something that we cannot afford, we talk about how we can raise the money to get the money to buy what is desired.
jenn

What if the so desired item is plastic junk? Each time we go to the supermarket my 4yo wants all kinds of plastic stuff. I simply cannot afford it and don't want to buy potential sweat shop stuff.

I would love to be a radical unschooler, but I do have issues with overuse of TV and computer. Those are two things I grapple with daily.
post #57 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
So my question is, is there way to relate this story without it sounding scary to new mothers. Is there a way to explain better that exhaustion and misery/ despondacy aren't necessarily the same things?
I don't know. I think it's your story and you just need to tell it your way. Some people will take comfort in it, some will find it scary, others will find it irrelevant to their own lives, others will find it helpful. I don't think you can tailor it to be meaningful to everyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by radiantorganics View Post
I try to accomodate my kids needs at all times. That said, I also make sure that I accomodate my own (and DHs) needs too...

...I don't think we are doing any favors by not attending to our own needs as well.
yes, yes, yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
Or soemtimes people do offer suggestions and people disagree over what kinds of stories they want to hear.
I guess I'm just missing the point here.
post #58 of 267
UUMom, I just want to say that I very much appreciated your story.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom
And in theory, I trust RU and the ideas of it. What I find difficult, and why i wish there was another name for it is because growing a healthy emotional family isn't about schooling.
Yeah, I have to agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by radiantorganics View Post
Don't exactly know where I 'm going with this. But reading other's posts I am a little confused. [...] I try to accomodate my kids needs at all times. That said, I also make sure that I accomodate my own (and DHs) needs too. [...] I don't think we are doing any favors by not attending to our own needs as well.
I'm a little confused as well. Where was anyone saying that this *isn't* radical unschooling?
post #59 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom View Post
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.

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).
Thank you for saying this. I agree.
post #60 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by unfrozncavegrl View Post
What if the so desired item is plastic junk? Each time we go to the supermarket my 4yo wants all kinds of plastic stuff. I simply cannot afford it and don't want to buy potential sweat shop stuff.
It's not about being slave to another person's every whim. You allow freedom as far as it's safe and ethical. A four-year-old isn't necessarily able to understand these things, perhaps, so you make these decisions for her. If she isn't already, though, she's probably getting close to being able to understand the rationale behind some of this stuff. My older kids (6,8, and 10) all find it perfectly reasonable to forego something when I explain why. My two-year-old, no. That's why I try to distract her instead, offer her an alternative, put off my shopping until I don't have to take her with me, etc.
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