Monthly Archives: May 2013

Successful Unschooling

For me, I have had the most success with Unschooling by setting up certain situations for my children. By success I mean happiness and peace which always involve learning.
I imagine that this would look different for every family and even every child.
For us it has turned out that my children are most successful when I find nature spots to take them to and bring lots of good snacks. Rivers, playgrounds, trees and paths are what they enjoy most. I pack homemade chocolate chia pudding, fresh fruit and veggies, soaked almonds, kombucha, sauerkraut, boiled eggs, sandwiches and homemade preserves like canned fruit and pickled beets. And lots of water!
They love packing a few snacks and some water and then hiking out to the unknown. I’ve noticed that usually the oldest follows and quite often with the next in age line and the youngest at the end. I’m always amazed at how they stick together and how at ease and in joy they are in these settings. They develop games out of seemingly nothing, I don’t bring toys. They are so happy to just be. They are so in harmony like this and camping with them is the best! I can Honesty say that there’s no fighting or arguing when we are out in nature.
Now that the weather has warmed, it has been a lot easier to provide this for them. They have not yet enjoyed siting for house with crafts or Lego.
What is part of creating your family’s bliss?

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Giving Children Freedom: How To Begin.

My children don’t test me. They don’t push my limits, and that is because I don’t have any. They push their own limits, physically, mentally and spiritually. There’s nothing to rebel against but gravity and all the other laws of nature. 😛
I see many parents chasing after toddlers (and older children) dashing out this way and that dangerously among traffic and sharp pavement. I feel the stress and I’m sad for them. Maybe I’m sad for you… I have noticed that children that run carelessly often are only children who have been heavily controlled and helicoptered. I know it is with the best intentions and maybe I’m just lucky that neglect come natural to me (kidding), but I feel for them. They work so hard at parenting only to have it be more work and not fun. Outings and special events turn into nightmares of children frantically searching for their independence and autonomy. It doesn’t have to be this way. But how do we change things when we’ve trained children to run away from us?
Baby steps. Ask yourself what you can let go of that doesn’t harm their physical well being?
Can you let go of the need to dress them a certain way when they would like to look another? So they won’t wear a coat in cold weather? Just silently bring one along, my kids always end up grateful I did!
Can you let go of monitoring what, when and how much they eat? It could be hard, you may need to look the other way or leave the room. They won’t starve themselves, for long… And they will begin to heal their stress-induced aversions to eating. I’m sorry you are going through this. There’s another way…
I’m not saying your kids need to look like mine (outside in a pack, all muddy on bikes with enormous smiles and hair in the wind).
What does your happy child look like?
Now here’s some hard ones but they are not dangerous, hopefully:
Can you let go of the need to tell them what to say and how to act? (Pleases and sorries). I mean it. Let their intrinsic kind nature show through. It takes longer and it’s sometimes harder to see but it’s worth it. True words from a child are so so so special. More than a million forced pleases and thank yous.
What else can we let go of that will add to our happiness? Can we let go of the stronger urge and desire to do laundry? I like to pick through and just do a load or two of what we need. This works!
Can we let go of needing to constantly clean up after kids? They make less messes if we are involved. Sometimes that means just sitting with them, observing.
The less we regulate our children, the more they will be willing to cooperate. Eventually children just begin to tune out the constant direction. Think about what wants to come out of them. They do want to be safe. They do want to be healthy and happy and human. This is their journey and they will make mistakes and get hurt and we will be there to comfort and never say “See! You should be more careful!”. They know. They’re learning. Enjoy it before it is gone. You can’t get your child back once they are gone and even more importantly: You can’t give back their childhood once it is over. Let them live it. 🙂

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That is my two youngest boys, making and eating their own sticky, messy jam. They’re so proud and happy about it and its about 10:00 at night. I was happy too.

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How do we live by our real beliefs?

We read the parenting books, consult with friends and idolize parents who match our chosen philosophy. Well, that’s where I am at least. I’ve found that peaceful and gentle parenting are for me. I want to live them over punishments, rewards and separation from the children. I follow these philosophies on facebook, in books, with friends, on youtube and I advocate for them on a daily basis.
But how much am I able to actually live it?
I think it is important to know that just because it resonates with me and I talk about it so much, it does not mean that it is always my reality. I struggle. I become frustrated, confused, angry. The philosophy means a lot to me and it makes sense but it’s not always what wants to come through me. The negative beliefs feel so deeply seeded at times that I wonder if I will ever break free of the urges to silence and control. I let that belief go…
Tonight I just watched it. I observed the tightness all over my body, especially my chest. One of my children was in one of those states where they are exhausted and unreasonable and nothing would please them, they just needed to be unconscious. I monitored my intense desire to yell out as loud as I could. I watched my thoughts that swirled around demanding to silence, spank and restrain into sleep. I began to wonder what could have caused such violence in me and I noticed the sadness creep in. I forgave myself immediately for being impatient and unloving and I lay in the dark letting the sadness flood over me while I stroked her back. After she finally settled, I cried and cried without much thought. Only unidentified pain that had been suppressed for who knows how long. Who knows why these things happen? Why would it feel so good to act against all I have learned?
When will my real beliefs become real? Maybe my false beliefs are still favouring negativity towards children, towards people, but I’m becoming more aware. Surely awareness can take me back to that state of just being? The state where love and acceptance of all situations is my usual state.

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