Unchool: Joy, Love, and Unschooling... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 91 Old 06-15-2009, 06:54 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been thinking about this for a while but don't know quite how to say it. I guess I've never felt like I had a lot on common with the majority of the unschoolers I know of, and I've been thinking about why. I think a bit part of it is the "joy and love" factor, if that makes sense. A lot of unschoolers I've run across seem to write and talk a lot about Joy and Love and Freedom (and they always seem capitalized) and Dreaming and Manifesting and that sort of thing... and there's a lot of discussion about how wonderful all of this is, and how happy and joyful the families have become.... and there's nothing wrong with that, of course, and it sounds like it's working for them... but that's just not how we roll here...

I mean, yes, life is pretty darn good, and every once in a while I step back and think about how great it is and how lucky we are, but really, I don't think that's about unschooling so much... we've just been lucky to have the opportunities we have, and to have the friends we have (the vast majority of whom aren't unschoolers).

Most of the time, though, we're really focused outward rather than inward... there are all sorts of things going on in the world, the country, our neighborhood... and we're learning and growing and being there. For me, spending a lot of time focusing on how glorious unschooling is would be kind of like navel-gazing...

I guess I could see it more coming from people who are new to this way of life, and maybe I've been doing this so long (10 years!) that it doesn't even seem noteworthy anymore. Yup, we unschool, that's what we do... so?

OTOH, I like this forum because it seems that posters here don't do a lot of Peace and Joy-ing... I mean, most folks seems relatively happy as unschoolers, but there's a lot more going on here than just talking about how great it is...

Thoughts?

 
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#2 of 91 Old 06-15-2009, 07:29 PM
 
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Thinking about this. It's not a concept I'd pondered much.

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#3 of 91 Old 06-15-2009, 07:43 PM
 
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A lot of unschoolers I've run across seem to write and talk a lot about Joy and Love and Freedom (and they always seem capitalized) and Dreaming and Manifesting and that sort of thing... and there's a lot of discussion about how wonderful all of this is, and how happy and joyful the families have become....
Well, I'm not into the whole "manifesting" thing, but I have been guilty of the "joy and love and freedom" and "unschooling has made our lives wonderful" sort of talk. When I'm posting online it's a focused comment, often in response to questions like, "Why do you homeschool" or "What do you like about homeschooling?" Unschooling has been a positive choice for us, so that's how I represent it.

In our daily lives though, I don't talk about the joys of unschooling, or even think about it much. It's just...our life and we're busy living it.

Unschooling has been really important to our lives as a whole though. I do give unschooling credit for facilitating the relationships that I have with my kids. Although, maybe I shouldn't, because if they chose to go to school, it wouldn't damage our relationship. OTOH, unschooling has afforded us much more time to develop those relationships...hmmm.

(See, that last paragraph is a perfect example--usually, we are focused outward. But, ask me a question about living an unschooling life, and I get all introspective and mushy.)

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#4 of 91 Old 06-15-2009, 11:29 PM
 
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In my family and among some of my unschooling friends, we have taken to saying the phrase "cultivating joy" with dripping sarcasm to mock the whole notion of manifestation as well as living with a seeming utter lack of obstacles (or just enjoying every muddy footprint on one's couch, I guess). I recently blogged about this very thing. In order to be brief here, I'll share what I wrote:
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I was thinking about joy and cultivating joy. It's something I like to say with deep sarcasm - "cultivating joy." It's a phrase I roll my eyes at quite dramatically. It's a bit of an inside joke at this point. It is not to say that there is anything wrong with actually working to cultivate joy, if that's your thing, and the rolling of eyes is not to say that I do not actively seek to be happy myself. It's just a matter of being an incredibly sarcastic person, focused mainly on the obstacles to certain paths rather than the great journey of getting there. I see obstacles as opportunities for problem solving, which is serious work, rather than as fantastic adventure.

Actually, I say all that, but I've not yet been able to articulate what it is that so supremely annoys me about endless optimism. I suppose it's a sense of entitlement. That one would expect the good outcome seems hopelessly naive to me rather than as a method of manifestation. I don't believe in the universe. I do not buy the secret laws of attraction. There is no logic in it because there is too much suffering by the innocent for it to be so. In my mind, it is a mark of utter, blind privilege. And to that end, I instead view the world as a struggle. I expect the worst so as to create the best possible outcome rather than to be disappointed.

Yet I am in the place I always wanted to be in. I have arrived quite fully into the life I had planned. It's just not quite done, so I have a hard time recognizing it at any given moment. I see my children, I see their joy, I sense their adventure and I try my best to give them the freedom to be with that, to feel it. Yet inevitably, I fail. I come down on the truth of an act or event with far more harshness than is at all necessary. Or I skate the edge. It is not every moment, but I am not perfect by any means. And my sarcasm and downer attitude tell you that ahead of time. You know what to expect around here. We are not perfect. We are not perfectly happy, we do not excel at bliss. We excel at reality and at laughing terribly hard at it. We offer our guffaws and our chuckles and our cackles up in open mockery to the universe. I'm convinced the universe loves us for it.

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#5 of 91 Old 06-16-2009, 12:01 AM - Thread Starter
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In my family and among some of my unschooling friends, we have taken to saying the phrase "cultivating joy" with dripping sarcasm to mock the whole notion of manifestation as well as living with a seeming utter lack of obstacles (or just enjoying every muddy footprint on one's couch, I guess). I recently blogged about this very thing. In order to be brief here, I'll share what I wrote:
Well, clearly great minds think alike... We get the sarcasm thing going here sometimes, too.

Maybe it is about entitlement, and that's what I'm reading as looking inward. It just seems like a lot of focus on how joyful and free everyone is feeling, and not much about what people are doing with that, except I guess being an example to non-unschoolers about how wonderful unschooling is (and yes, there was a touch o' sarcasm there).

I guess it seems very self-indulgent... and maybe to some people unschooling is very self-indulgent. Maybe this isn't really an unschooling issue at all, but a values issue. I value trying to make the world a better place for everyone, and not by trying to make everyone be more like me. While I've never been wedded to any particular academic outcome for my kid, I must admit that I would be disappointed if wasn't interested in causes that were larger than herself, and in being an active participant in making things better.

And yeah, there is that real-life thing, too... sometimes we're frustrated or grumpy or angry or sad, and sometimes we swear, and sometimes we're disappointed in ourselves... that's our life. Overall it's good, and unschooling is very good, but it's not all sunshine and roses and Cultivating Joy....

 
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#6 of 91 Old 06-16-2009, 12:16 AM
 
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I agree. I once wrote a post about Unschooling and notions of privilege and met a lot of animosity about it. As though education weren't a political issue.

My whole life is dedicated to social justice. It's in everything I do. I very strongly considered social justice as an obstacle to unschooling because unschooling can be such a privileged path to take. At some point I just decided that I didn't want to sacrifice my children to the machine if I had the option.

Somewhere along the way, I've also realized that unschooling is very much an alternative form of governance (for lack of a better word) that fits in nicely with my anarchistic philosophies. In fact, they've come to be synonymous for me. Unschooling is just an exploration of anarchism in my mind. And I figure that's a good way to change the world in small increments.

To that end, while I may extol the virtues of unschooling as the most real pathway to learning how to be a functioning adult member of society (as well as most closely oneself), I don't like to go on about how fabulous it is every minute of the day. For one, it's not in my personality to do so, but also I'm human and life is hard and I'd rather be honest about that in order to share connections and knowledge and glean the same from others than to gush about it. I don't really believe gushing. It rings false to me.

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#7 of 91 Old 06-16-2009, 12:30 AM
 
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As someone quite new to homeschooling, I think that what you're hearing from unschoolers is just this kind of 'golly, gee-whiz' that I always feel when I look at how my kids have changed since I kept them at home. Changing from a 'school' perspective to an 'unschool' perspective is a huge flip in how we see the world, how we see our children .... and it's also a major life change. Probably in 10 years I'll be a little more blasse about it...but right now it is just such a freeing, life-changing, blah, blah, etc etc...thing...it's kind of like having a new baby and boring your friends to tears with stories of the brilliance of your baby's babbling and bowel movements. I'm definitely very navel-gazey right....I'm just really enjoying my family and my little life......
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#8 of 91 Old 06-16-2009, 12:36 AM
 
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Maybe that is a difference. I started unschooling 15 years ago.

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#9 of 91 Old 06-16-2009, 01:03 AM
 
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The thing is that my life IS more joyful now than it was before. I don't see anything wrong with pointing that out. And I don't think this just happened by accident at the same time we began unschooling.

I don't believe in manifestation and the laws of attraction in the typical sense of those words but I DO believe that if you choose to focus on the negatives in life then that is all you will see but if you choose to always look for good, or solutions when good things just aren't happening then life is just better. Everyone has hardships and obstacles in life and the difference between an optimist and a pessimist, IMO is the belief that you will survive. I do not naively float through life thinking that I can keep bad things at bay simply by thinking happy thoughts but I have come to understand the difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is external and dependent on the events of the world. Joy is internal and dependent only on me.

When my kids were in ps and I was teaching ps we bought into so many lies that are prevelant in our society and those lies ate away at us. We were so far into the pits of the running on empty, stress filled life I had created that there was no internal joy for us. I do think we could go back to ps now if we needed to for whatever reason and would be able to carry the lessons we've learned with us but I'm not sure we ever could have learned them to begin with while we were in that situation.

So maybe this is what some people are talking about... maybe not. I know that some people are just naive but when I meet someone who is naive enough to think they can prevent all the bad in their lives I tend to be glad for them. They haven't endured anything to burst their bubble and I hope that remains true for them. Other people have endured so many bad things that believing they have some control gives them comfort and that's okay too... I'd never want to take that away from someone who needed. Either way, if the rug were ever pulled from someone in those situations I'd just try to be there for them.

ETA: you can see in my signature that I'm a believer in the pursuit of joy... true and lasting joy. And I make no apologies for that.
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#10 of 91 Old 06-16-2009, 01:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Somewhere along the way, I've also realized that unschooling is very much an alternative form of governance (for lack of a better word) that fits in nicely with my anarchistic philosophies. In fact, they've come to be synonymous for me. Unschooling is just an exploration of anarchism in my mind. And I figure that's a good way to change the world in small increments.
If you ever want to write a blog entry explaining more about this I'd love to read it..

And I do think timing has something to do with this... I'm sure I did more "unschooling is cool" posting when Rain was younger, and I've been questioning traditional education since... well, since I dropped out of high school and started reading Summerhill, maybe? We're just so far out of traditional education reality now that we rarely even think about it. So maybe I should have more patience with new converts? And maybe I take our freedom and happiness (I swear I like that word better than joy) for granted now, and occasionally it's good to be reminded that it is something cool and unusual...

Still, I can't help but hope people eventually get past the Joy-Cultivation Naval-Gazing and do something more... but then again, I guess that's more about my valuing social activism than unschooling. Although now I'm intrigued by annakiss's connecting of the two...

 
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#11 of 91 Old 06-16-2009, 01:58 AM
 
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I tend to be a gusher. For me it's most definitely because we've moved from a very authoritarian household to a radical unschooling one in a year and a half. The transformation has been nothing short of a miracle.

Unschooling is the complete opposite of the way I was raised. I had Nic when I was very young and slipped into the 'mainstream' parenting methods even though it was very much against my instincts. I didn't want to parent that way but I didn't know any better. Once I learned about this it was so incredibly freeing, for all of us. That's just the complete and total truth, it IS joyful. Not every minute of every day but yes, I am absolutely aware of the joy in my life everyday that did not exist in my childhood and that is a gift to share with my kids now.

We are also around traditional people, and the traditional 'system' often so we are constantly reminded why we are doing this.

Dar said "Still, I can't help but hope people eventually get past the Joy-Cultivation Naval-Gazing and do something more... but then again, I guess that's more about my valuing social activism than unschooling. Although now I'm intrigued by annakiss's connecting of the two"

I'm not sure what you mean by this. I don't get the connection between people saying life is joyful and drawing the conclusion that they aren't doing anything?

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#12 of 91 Old 06-16-2009, 02:07 AM
 
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Another thought is that unschooling boards are usually about unschooling, not social activism. So maybe that aspect just doesn't come up a lot?

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#13 of 91 Old 06-16-2009, 02:40 AM - Thread Starter
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I guess a lot of the things that many unschoolers I've come across do talk about doing sound like Joy-Cultivation Naval-Gazing to me - the big-kid equivalent to noting how adorable your newborn's spit bubble are. And they are adorable! They are! But at some point, I just found that I needed to move beyond spit bubbles... and for me, Joy doesn't come from remaining in that place of awe but from taking the enormous privilege that has allowed me to come to this learning and living philosophy that so perfectly fits our lives and doing something meaningful with it.

To me, unschooling is about what you and your kids do... so if you're helping clean a resource center with Afghani refugee women or telling a teenage friend that there's nothing wrong with her sexuality even though her parents think she's going to hell or studying for the SAT IIs or volunteering at the local aquarium... it's all unschooling. I can't (or don't, and won't) separate what I believe and do and try to change from unschooling, because for us unschooling is all of it.

I feel like I'm not saying this clearly, because it's not really clear to me... but clearer than it was...

 
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#14 of 91 Old 06-16-2009, 03:51 AM
 
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Another thought is that unschooling boards are usually about unschooling, not social activism. So maybe that aspect just doesn't come up a lot?
I've tried to bring it up and I don't think people see the connection, though I can't help but see these same folks flip out about government involvement in their family lives. I see it as intrinsically a political thing. Though, I see everything as intrinsically political. I cannot separate my dedication to social justice from anything at all.

And the thing is, we're talking about personal choice that is deviant from the norm. It is inherently a radical step to take. And we don't do that in a vacuum. It is connected to what we think about systems. What value (or lack thereof) we see in systems. And we talk about that a lot, and I've seen discussions about everyone being able to unschool or having the option. Having the option is a very, very privileged thing. Taking that step is largely at odds with society, family, the culture at large. And it's a questioning of, a challenge to the cultural treatment of children, for one, and cultural assumptions about systems of authority for another. That's political.

Even if we're not talking about compulsory attendance laws, it's political. Even if we're not discussing states rules for homeschoolers, it's political.

I take all of that very seriously. And while we may feel that we're benefitting from something that others are missing out on and there is joy in that, or we find happiness in our life choices, at this point, unschooling is living my life and living my life is fraught with struggle. Struggle against ideology, struggle with identity, struggle with the day to day (and in that, the foundation of the nuclear family, a questioning of what a good society does or is...), struggle with obstacles large and small, normal and extraordinary... And all the while recognizing, constantly and daily, the absolute privilege I wander around with all my life.

Not to mention, the study of the world examines the differences between our privileges, our beliefs, our core values and those of everyone else on the planet. We see the world, the people in it, their lives, their struggle, and we talk and we think about it. My journey into philosophical identity becomes my children's understanding of the world at large. My research or reading into the obstacles that face our planet, our nation, is the curriculum my children are brought up with. We must examine our place in it all to make the decisions that matter - not just to us, but to everyone.

I don't know if I'm making any sense. It's late and I am tired.

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#15 of 91 Old 06-16-2009, 08:55 AM
 
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I guess a lot of the things that many unschoolers I've come across do talk about doing sound like Joy-Cultivation Naval-Gazing to me - the big-kid equivalent to noting how adorable your newborn's spit bubble are.
I find this to be true of many people, not just unschoolers. Some people never move beyond the need to tell others how great their kids are or the need to marvel at their kids feet. I don't think this has anything to do with unschooling. I am specifically thinking of a former colleague who could not have a conversation at all, ever without bringing her kids into it. She didn't have opinions, she told us her teenagers opinions. She thought her kids were spectacular and she expected everyone else to think so too. This was a very insecure woman and this was an extension of that.

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Another thought is that unschooling boards are usually about unschooling, not social activism. So maybe that aspect just doesn't come up a lot?
I had this same thought. I know that it is all related but I think many people, especially those new to unschooling, come to this board for support they can't get anywhere else as it pertains to the radical choices they've made. As someone who is relativiely new to the lifestyle I am still prone to panic and worry. I'm also still seeking the all elusive balance to our unschooling and finding our place on the spectrum that feels right for us. I come here because I need advice from those who've BTDT and also to offer any bits of wisdom I may have gleaned in the past year. I do share how I've seen them grow to new unschoolers asking questions but I don't really participate in the discussions of how great and smart my kids are. By the same token if someone were asking a specific question about activism I would respond but to simply have a discussion about such things would also seem gushy too me.

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I tend to be a gusher. For me it's most definitely because we've moved from a very authoritarian household to a radical unschooling one in a year and a half. The transformation has been nothing short of a miracle.

Unschooling is the complete opposite of the way I was raised. I had Nic when I was very young and slipped into the 'mainstream' parenting methods even though it was very much against my instincts. I didn't want to parent that way but I didn't know any better. Once I learned about this it was so incredibly freeing, for all of us. That's just the complete and total truth, it IS joyful. Not every minute of every day but yes, I am absolutely aware of the joy in my life everyday that did not exist in my childhood and that is a gift to share with my kids now.
This is me... miraculous transformation the whole bit. And I think this transformation has led us to be MORE socially active... that whole putting your own oxygen mask on first thing.

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...happiness (I swear I like that word better than joy)
For me there is a distinct difference between the two, as I stated in my PP... I think this comes from my spiritual background. I have always been taught and truly believed in joy as a choice and happiness as external. For example, when we volunteer at the food pantry it is not a happy day to see so many people struggling. It is however joyful to see the resiliance of the human spirit and see people who haven't lost hope despite the fact that they haven't been able to find work in a year.

This also speaks largely to how I feel about something annakiss said that I didn't get into my multiple quote... the comments about struggling against things. Again it is largely semantics I suppose (much like happiness and joy) but I think there is a difference between working against something and struggling against it. I can recognize injustice and work against it but I don't struggle with it anymore. Perhaps that is a perspective of privelage but I don't think so. I look to my socially active mentors (literal and metaphorical mentors- some of them are people in my life I admire, others I admire from a historical standpoint) as my guide and in them I don't see people who think of their life as a struggle. I often think of interviews I've seen of Medgar Evers' widow- this was a woman who knew tragedy and suffering yet she maintained a sense of peace and forgiveness. She knew that focusing on the struggle did not solve problems, focusing on the good that was there and spreading that good was the real solution to social injustice. I also think of a quote from Mother Theresa when asked to attend an anti-war rally. She refused and said when they had a peace rally she would be there. These vastly different but equally strong and inspiring women help me remember where my focus should be. I don't think that's naval-gazing. I can be active and actively choose to be joyful at the same time.

I do understand where you're coming from Dar I just think that perhaps the frustration is with people who sit back and enjoy their privelage and assume that life could be this good for everyone if they would just make the same choices in life that they've made. I find that frustrating as well and incredible condescending. But I don't think this attitude is exclusive to the joy-cultivating crowd and certainly not exclusive to unschoolers.

I don't know if I've managed to get my point across, it is very early in the morning. All in all though I've found this to be a very thought provoking thread. I certainly haven't changed my perspective and am still one of the joy gushers, lol. But I now have a greater understanding of why I fall on this side of the fence.
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#16 of 91 Old 06-16-2009, 08:58 AM
 
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It just seems like a lot of focus on how joyful and free everyone is feeling, and not much about what people are doing with that...I value trying to make the world a better place for everyone, and not by trying to make everyone be more like me.
What makes you think others aren't trying to make the world a better place? I'm a little unclear if you're talking just about message boards or irl as well. I think message boards tend to focus on the beginnings of unschooling. Questions from people with little ones or just starting out. I would expect them to be about the nitty gritty of juggling more than one kid, or things like "Is it okay if my 8y/o doesn't want to read?" or "Isn't this a great life--it's so different from what we had before."

I don't understand what you mean about trying to make everyone more like yourself. (Again, irl or on the boards?) People talking about unschooling on an unschooling board are interested in unschooling--people on the gardening board aren't trying to convert everyone into gardeners, they're there because that's what they want. I must really be missing your point on this.


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The thing is that my life IS more joyful now than it was before. I don't see anything wrong with pointing that out. And I don't think this just happened by accident at the same time we began unschooling.

I don't believe in manifestation and the laws of attraction in the typical sense of those words but I DO believe that if you choose to focus on the negatives in life then that is all you will see but if you choose to always look for good, or solutions when good things just aren't happening then life is just better.
This is how I feel as well. I have had a lot of crap happen in my life. Some of it is still happening. I could choose to focus on that and nose-dive pretty quickly into a pit. OR I could focus on the good and the JOY () while doing whatever is practical for me to do about the crap.

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That's just the complete and total truth, it IS joyful. Not every minute of every day but yes, I am absolutely aware of the joy in my life everyday that did not exist in my childhood and that is a gift to share with my kids now.
Yes. We surely have struggles. Not "unschooling struggles" but life struggles. Ditto for those around us. Still, there are many times I pause and think, "Gosh, we're sooo lucky to be able to do this." Sometimes "this" is a trip to the nature center on a gorgeous day, other times it's being able to get to the doctor and focus on healing without worrying about a school schedule or make-up work, etc. still other times, it's being able to volunteer for something or help someone out because we weren't tied to a schedule. The happiness is in all of that.

I do agree that unschooling is political. I thought that was a given.

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#17 of 91 Old 06-16-2009, 09:21 AM
 
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One more thing to add to that long and rambling post I just made...

Introspection in and of itself is not a bad thing, people who have this ability also have the ability to do more good in the world. Naval-gazing is introspection without action. This is a discussion forum so of course there will be a lot of introspection taking place but whether or not people act on that introspection isn't always part of the discussion. It would seem silly to me to come here to discuss every action I take. I'm here to discuss the philosophical side of things and IRL I put those philosphies into action. So perhaps the frustration, at least here, is that we are limited in our view of each other's lives.
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#18 of 91 Old 06-16-2009, 10:43 AM
 
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And yeah, there is that real-life thing, too... sometimes we're frustrated or grumpy or angry or sad, and sometimes we swear, and sometimes we're disappointed in ourselves... that's our life. Overall it's good, and unschooling is very good, but it's not all sunshine and roses and Cultivating Joy....

This is where Joy-joy, love-love bugs me.

There is no question in my mind that USing is a joyfull path for many people, yet the constant positivity can seem quite dismissive to those having real problems.


Here is an example. Someone online or IRL mentions they are having difficulty keeping the house clean - that they want their kids to explore but hate cleaning all.the.time.

If someone responded with: "oh, I just clean it, I don't mind. I love seeing their creativity" -the original poster may feel slightly dismissed and that she clearly isn't zen or USer enough because she does have issues with cleaning.

It is far better, I think, to acknowledge the issue and help her problems solve or explore USing/children/cleaning philosophy. It would even be Ok to say, "I don't struggle with that issue - hopefully others will pop up with some advice."

I do think the "joy" is real - but there is a balancing act between expressing/living this and living in a self-righteous pollyanna world.
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#19 of 91 Old 06-16-2009, 10:54 AM
 
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If someone responded with: "oh, I just clean it, I don't mind. I love seeing their creativity" -the original poster may feel slightly dismissed and that she clearly isn't zen or USer enough because she does have issues with cleaning.
Or, the op could think, "Well, that's another way of looking at things." and be able to stop stressing about the cleaning so much by focusing on the creativity that's happening.

I think it's an issue of different personalities and that different things will work for different people.

I was thinking about the original question and I think THAT might be all about personality as well.

I know that, if I were to be focusing on things like "Life is a struggle" and "The world is a miserable place" and "Expecting the worst so there are no negative surprises" it would not put me in a very good state, emotionally. I would not be motivated from that place to reach out and make any changes in the world. By focusing on the good in my own life, and appreciating the positives, THAT motivates me to go out and do positive things and try to make things better.

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#20 of 91 Old 06-16-2009, 11:08 AM
 
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This is where Joy-joy, love-love bugs me.

There is no question in my mind that USing is a joyfull path for many people, yet the constant positivity can seem quite dismissive to those having real problems.


Here is an example. Someone online or IRL mentions they are having difficulty keeping the house clean - that they want their kids to explore but hate cleaning all.the.time.

If someone responded with: "oh, I just clean it, I don't mind. I love seeing their creativity" -the original poster may feel slightly dismissed and that she clearly isn't zen or USer enough because she does have issues with cleaning.

It is far better, I think, to acknowledge the issue and help her problems solve or explore USing/children/cleaning philosophy. It would even be Ok to say, "I don't struggle with that issue - hopefully others will pop up with some advice."

I do think the "joy" is real - but there is a balancing act between expressing/living this and living in a self-righteous pollyanna world.
this made me giggle because my Facebook status all day yesterday was... "trying to remember that dishes and laundry are a symbol that my family has plenty to eat and clothes to wear." I still don't like doing those things but my attitude toward doing them shifted when I remember that there are those in the world who can't feed and clothe their children.

My depression era great-grandmother who grew up dirt poor, buried 3 children and never learned to read taught me that life is about 5% what happens to you and 95% how you respond to it. I didn't understand that lesson before but I do now and if she could have inner joy with all the hardships she faced then I certainly can. I choose to be positive, simple as that.
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#21 of 91 Old 06-16-2009, 11:15 AM
 
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Or, the op could think, "Well, that's another way of looking at things." and be able to stop stressing about the cleaning so much by focusing on the creativity that's happening.

.
I think most people post when they are stuck. If they could have overcome an issue on their own - they would have. They are looking for real advice and discusion - not a pat answer (which is what the whole "manifesting joy" seem to be).

I do agree this might be a communication issue. For me, helping people with problems or even engaging in discussions involves the following:

-defining/clarify the issue
-clarifying the boundaries of the issue
-any "been there, done that"
-problem solving
-philosophical analysis / researching other points of view.

A "It is my joy to clean (or whatever issue is at hand)" would come across a flip to many people, particularly those looking for help.


kathy
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#22 of 91 Old 06-16-2009, 11:18 AM
 
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The most joyful unschooling families I know don't bother me, but I'll describe the difference between me and them. I am not a touchy-feely person, and I often worry if my kids have only been playing make-believe day after day. But we're happy, and finding a good balance in life for the most part, I just don't talk about it much. Other, more joy-centered parents I know are much more inclined both to talk about how wonderful their life is, and to really embrace whatever their kids want to do today. The parents are also involved in the community, but at this point, the kids are just following their own bliss for the most part. The kids are young and I imagine they'll be more involved in their community later on.

I see the difference between joy-centered parenting and whatever I am as more of a question of style and personality than a fundamental difference in what we're doing.

ZM
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#23 of 91 Old 06-16-2009, 11:25 AM
 
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A "It is my joy to clean (or whatever issue is at hand)" would come across a flip to many people, particularly those looking for help.


kathy
I guess it would to some. But like I said, different things work for different people. I've had the experience when I was upset by a problem and after talking with a friend who gave me a different way of looking at it, I could see a way where it WOULDN'T be a problem.

I can't be the only person in the world like this.

IRL, with people I know, I can temper advice and comments to fit with what I know that person to believe, or how they think about the world. On a message board, I have no idea what advice a person will find helpful. I put my stuff out there, and others put their stuff out there and the op has to decide what's helpful. I've seen many threads similar to your cleaning example and some people will respond with the idea of chore charts or rules like not taking a second toy out until the first is put away. That would not be helpful to me at all, but people can still put it out there.

One can't expect to only get the perfect advice for them when posting a problem.

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#24 of 91 Old 06-16-2009, 11:26 AM
 
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I see the difference between joy-centered parenting and whatever I am as more of a question of style and personality than a fundamental difference in what we're doing.

ZM
and if I wasn't so long-winded, this is what I would have written.

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#25 of 91 Old 06-16-2009, 11:33 AM
 
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1-defining/clarify the issue
2-clarifying the boundaries of the issue
3-any "been there, done that"
4-problem solving
5-philosophical analysis / researching other points of view.

====
Looking at this again...

#5 is what would help me most with a problem. If it's my problem, I already know 1 and 2. #3 ("Been there done that") is helpful in making me feel not alone, but it doesn't really help me solve the problem. And #4, the "problem solving" usually comes from #5.

So, i think it really is a matter of different personalities needing different responses. Items 1-3 I would feel a waste of time to me on a message board and wouldn't really help me.

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#26 of 91 Old 06-16-2009, 11:34 AM
 
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I think most people post when they are stuck. If they could have overcome an issue on their own - they would have. They are looking for real advice and discusion - not a pat answer (which is what the whole "manifesting joy" seem to be).

I do agree this might be a communication issue. For me, helping people with problems or even engaging in discussions involves the following:

-defining/clarify the issue
-clarifying the boundaries of the issue
-any "been there, done that"
-problem solving
-philosophical analysis / researching other points of view.

A "It is my joy to clean (or whatever issue is at hand)" would come across a flip to many people, particularly those looking for help.


kathy
THIS. This is why I won't go near a lot of other unschooling boards. Over and over and over, someone posts because they are at the end of their rope, and the response is a shaming "get over it" "what's wrong with you" kind of post. There's no recognition that it is difficult to get no sleep, or do all of the cleaning, or whatever the op's problem is. There are no suggestions about how to get the op's needs met in an unschooling way, just shaming and vague suggestions to embrace the stuff that's making them nuts (typically it's the mother of teenagers telling the mother of many little ones that because baby and toddlerhood are fleeting, she shouldn't be worn out.)

FWIW, my grandmother also grew up with almost nothing and has a fabulous attitude, but she wouldn't look at someone who is clearly going through a tough time and callously tell them they are wrong, wrong, wrong to be feeling down. She knows full well that sometimes life is hard.

ZM
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#27 of 91 Old 06-16-2009, 11:46 AM
 
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...and the response is a shaming "get over it" "what's wrong with you" kind of post.
ZM
I haven't viewed those posts as shaming. I just see them as a different pov. (Have people said those actual words or is that the feeling you get from their responses?) I've re-framed things for MYSELF in this way--not in a shaming way, but in a "look at it like this" way. If I'm sighing over the fingerprints all over the wall, recognizing that there won't always be a little person here to make them, helps me. (I actually smile now when I see the fingerprints, knowing how fast the time goes and how much it really doesn't matter in the big picture.) When I was exhausted from getting up with a baby, realizing how lucky I was to HAVE a healthy baby to get up with, helped me to refocus. It didn't make me any less tired, and it didn't mean I didn't have a right to be tired, but it did help me through the night.

I LIKE to hear from parents with kids older than my own. If I'm worried about something and someone tells me it won't matter 5 years down the road, that's comforting to me. I might still worry, I might still try to solve the problem, but I also find it helpful to hear from people with a view from down the road.

I think, generally speaking, most people offer advice that they believe will be helpful. It might not be, depending on the recipient's philosophy. But I don't think most people are out to make others feel bad with their advice.

And I think most people represent the joy in their lives honestly. I could stack up all the negatives and complain about my horrible life, or I could focus on the positives and celebrate.

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#28 of 91 Old 06-16-2009, 01:12 PM
 
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This is something I never really thought about.

My family is not the gushy type.

We know a gushy family, they hs, but they are not unschoolers. They are great and we enjoy them.

Here's how my teen dd describes them:

Breakfast:

Good morning, Daddy!

Good morning, darlings!

Daddy: We're going to the Jam Factory today!

Children: Oh, goodie! We love jam!

Mommy: It will be such fun!

First child: This is such a good breakfast!

Second child: Oh, yes it is! Please pass the salt!

Daddy: Here is the salt, darling!



Dinner:

First child: Daddy! I saw a bug today!

Second child: And I wrote a report about it!

Daddy: That is wonderful! tell me everything!

Mommy: We had *such* a lovely day!
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#29 of 91 Old 06-16-2009, 01:17 PM
 
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FWIW, my grandmother also grew up with almost nothing and has a fabulous attitude, but she wouldn't look at someone who is clearly going through a tough time and callously tell them they are wrong, wrong, wrong to be feeling down. She knows full well that sometimes life is hard.

ZM
I was not in any way suggesting that life isn't hard or that we should callously dismiss those who are struggling. I was merely pointing out that it is not only people of privelage who take on the attitude to look for the good in life as was suggested in some PP.

There is a tone to a post and I try to address that in my replies as much as I adress the content. Often times people come to these boards and the tone is that they are venting and need to get things off their chest and to commiserate- and that is okay. To those people I offer hugs, support, and a great big "I hear you mamma!" But to people who are coming and asking for advice in how to cope I offer up how I do that and that is often framed in how I view things, it doesn't mean that what they are feeling about the situation is wrong just different than what I'm feeling in similar situations. If a mamma was venting about a colicky baby I'd commiserate with her, if she was asking for advice on how to cope I'd honestly tell her about things I did to dig deep and gain new perspective. That isn't telling someone they are wrong, that's answering their question.

Again, very thought provoking thread but it seems to be sticking with my thoughts when I'm away from the computer and I'm feeling the need to compulsively check in... maybe I need to step back for a while.

ETA: I am also finding the need for sarcasm (in general not to the post I quoted) about the gushy Joy-cultivators disturbing. If that's the path someone has followed and it isn't for you, why do you care what they are doing? Annoying maybe but do they really deserve such disdain? Isn't finding what works for you individually at least part of what unschooling is about?
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#30 of 91 Old 06-16-2009, 01:25 PM
 
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I haven't viewed those posts as shaming. I just see them as a different pov. (Have people said those actual words or is that the feeling you get from their responses?) I've re-framed things for MYSELF in this way--not in a shaming way, but in a "look at it like this" way. If I'm sighing over the fingerprints all over the wall, recognizing that there won't always be a little person here to make them, helps me. (I actually smile now when I see the fingerprints, knowing how fast the time goes and how much it really doesn't matter in the big picture.) When I was exhausted from getting up with a baby, realizing how lucky I was to HAVE a healthy baby to get up with, helped me to refocus. It didn't make me any less tired, and it didn't mean I didn't have a right to be tired, but it did help me through the night.

I LIKE to hear from parents with kids older than my own. If I'm worried about something and someone tells me it won't matter 5 years down the road, that's comforting to me. I might still worry, I might still try to solve the problem, but I also find it helpful to hear from people with a view from down the road.

I think, generally speaking, most people offer advice that they believe will be helpful. It might not be, depending on the recipient's philosophy. But I don't think most people are out to make others feel bad with their advice.

And I think most people represent the joy in their lives honestly. I could stack up all the negatives and complain about my horrible life, or I could focus on the positives and celebrate.
Here's an example of the kind of thing I'm referring to: a mother has a 5 year old who wants to be carried everywhere. The mother has a bad back and finds carrying the child to be painful. She posts looking for advice about how to get her child to agree to walk, and is told that one day she will look back and long for the time when her child wants to be carried, and so she should just ignore the pain and continue to carry her child. And add a heavy sprinkling of guilt about how terrible the child must feel that his mother is not willing to give him what he needs.

I'm not quoting a real post, just the kind of thing I was seeing. It's not helpful, IMO, to reply to someone's request for help by telling them their problem doesn't exist and their feelings aren't valid.

ZM
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