Saturday, February 2

My Unschooling Experience

The dust of exploded beliefs may make a fine sunset. -Geoffrey Madan, writer (1895-1947)

Okay, I know its been a while and I'll address that. Later. I just had to get this out of my head and onto "paper"...

I think I've finally hit the nail on the head as to what "getting" unschooling feels like to me-at this point in the journey. Fumbling in the dark. Serious, mis-directed fumbling. You know what its like when you're walking through a dark room in your house? Pitch dark. No discernible shadows. Remember what it's like to have your sense of direction out of whack? THAT'S what it's like, right now, in this place of my journey.

I swear I know this "room" of RU. I was certain I had mapped it out in my brain in the clear daylight of the postboards/yahoogroups of "what if" and "when", but then, I find myself, alone in the dark, full of confidence that I know what's where, what to avoid and where I'm truly headed. Stretching my hands up at shoulder-height for that shelf I know that's there, stepping rather quickly (for the dark) and confidently, then *whack*, I get a low chest in the shin. {damn!} Okay, I wasn't headed *exactly* the direction I thought... regroup... adjust slightly. Now, a bit slower, but still confident, splaying my fingers out at hip level for that dresser *thwap!* there's that shelf, giving me a goose-egg on my forehead! {gob damnit!} I thought I had adjusted the right way... maybe I overcompensated-or is it that I didn't compensate enough?? Okay, full stop. Think it through, chest, shelf, rubbing my head.... Alright, I think I see where I messed up. Slowly, now, carefully.... *this* direction. Hand out in front of my face (just in case) and toes feeling along the floor, carefully... making progress... *scraaatch* {son of a biscuit!} How the heck did I get the corner of the nightstand in the hip??!! That's nowhere *near* where I was headed!! Alright, there's only one way left to go. Inching ever so slowly, eyes open beyond wide-hoping for even the teeniest hint of shadow... is that a blob over there? Hands now scanning back and forth, up and down to avoid any possible contact with anything... tense... hoping for the best, yet fearing more failure and pain... *POW* the doorknob hits me in the BACK?!?! {now jumping up and down, swearing like a sailor, yelling in pain} That wasn't even the direction I was heading-and I was walking *forward*, I know I was!! How the hell did I get it in the back from the doorway I came IN through?!?! Then my anger turns to disgust, disappointment and self-loathing as I sink to the cold floor in the middle of the dark, weeping hopelessly...

And that's how the jumps and starts of my unschooling journey go. Nothing like I picture: no smooth transitions, no gradual progress, no stunning sudden leaps of unschooling mana... Yet, sometimes when I look back, it *seems* like I've come a long way... Ugh. In a way, I hope I'm not the only one that fails so regularly and miserably, yet in a bigger way, I hope that no one else has to go through the extremes that I seem to.

So, the reason its been a while... I quit unschooling. Well, I quit the respectful parenting, radical part. I had one of those "sink to the cold floor in the dark" moments and instead of falling into despair, I got pissed and decided I was done on this "one way street", so to speak. That I was going back to being a mainstream parent, the boss, the punishing meany. Anyone gasping in horror, yet? How about disappointment? Guess what? Respectful parenting seems to be a one-way street. I found that once on this street, I couldn't turn around. I couldn't bring myself to go back to disrespecting these wonderful people in my family. I'd gone too far down the street and not only couldn't go the other direction, I couldn't even find a place to turn around. Go figure.

Since that decision and subsequent discovery, I think I've come to the conclusion that I'm having peri-menopause related PMS and mood ... swings? Nah, they're not mood swings. Swings sway gently back and forth, up and down in a gentle, rhythmic pattern. Swings are fun and predictable and comforting. I guess I have mood... jolts? That's just not *enough*... Mood collisions? Closer... Maybe mood-natural-disasters. Mood tsunamis. Yes, huge, unexpected, crashing waves of destruction that leave folks drowning in bafflement and disaster. That's what they are: mood tsunamis.

At any rate, I have a direction to go now that I have a PMS thing and methods to use to resolve it. That still doesn't have anything to do with my lack of clear direction and losing my path on the RU journey. Maybe it will come if I keep working at it. Is it *me*, or does it seem like the mentoring voices on the unschooling groups had a much simpler, shorter, easier journey?

Does anyone else picture them the way I do? Ever-gentle voices of patience and peace. Sitting cross-legged on their "mount" of a kitchen chair with a hot cup of tea steaming on the table beside them. Doling out wise advice and perfect stories of their own families with ease and kind patience to all that file through their virtual, online kitchens. Never a hair out of place, goddess-like halo of flowers on their heads, smiling warmly in acceptance as each parent begs for help at her knee... Okay, maybe its a bit whimsical and over the top, but you get the idea. And me with that whole "dirty urchin", cinder girl feeling... Its true. I've always been hard on myself. It goes easier when you're hard on yourself first-then when others are hard on you, it doesn't hurt so much. But then again, too, I'm the only mama my boys have and I want to do it RIGHT!! I don't want to get it right by the time their 18, I want to do it right-now. I kick myself 50 times over for every wrong and I fear to revel in the good stuff-even for a moment-for fear that I will get complacent in my place on the journey. Gee. I sound like a screwed-up whack-job, don't I?? LOL

I guess I need to have occasional anxt-y moments... jeeze, I wish I could find that awesome saying from Legend... the only thing I can remember is, "without dark, there can be no light"... Wonder if google can save me... Gee, I thought it was longer than this:

There can be no good without evil...
No love without hate...
No innocence without lust...
No heaven without hell...
No light without darkness.

But all I can find reference to is a "voice over", but what I remember are the words scrolling up the screen... Someday we'll have the DVD and I'll get it down right for posterity. But back to my point. Maybe I need the back slides to make progress, the negativity to help me find the positive.

And now I'm too hungry to think and type properly so I'll go and munch and ponder...

To find a person who will love you for no reason, and to shower that person with reasons, that is the ultimate happiness. -Robert Brault, software developer, writer (1938- )


Stephanie said...

Wow De, what an experience.

I too deal with hormones and I beat myself when I get mad at the kids.

I fully believe in unschooling and respectful parenting.

I think it's Sandra Dodd that says life is made one moment at a time, bad paraphrase maybe she'll correct me.

My point is we know where we are and where we want to go so just do better in the next moment :)

Thanks for sharing your journey and I hope you continue on the path.

MomMartinelli said...

Hi De,
I just want to say that no matter what parenting method you choose, you'll be fine, because your relationship with your children is based on mutual love and respect; and that's what makes a good parent. Not a particular style of parenting.

De said...

Thanks, Erin. You have no idea how much that means comming from you-I really admire your patience and parenting skills with your kids. Oh, shoot-I just realized I forgot to bring your fondue pot Friday!! LOL Wednesday. Wednesday. Wednesday. That's my mantra for the week. ;~)

Anonymous said...

De, Ultimately, what our children will bring with them is our love for them no matter what are mistakes are. Each child in my opinion thrives with a different style of parenting - some kids need flexibility - some need rigidity. Some kids need unschooling, and some kids need a curriculum. It is OK to be a different parent with each child, to be a different parent as your child matures, and it is OK to let them see your failings and to show them that love is the glue that will hold your family together through all the good and bad times.

I have seen into your eyes, and I know the love and kindness in your soul. There is no way your children will not feel this as well.

Laura L.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be nice if I could edit my typos, LOL - are-our. And we all wonder why Ethan has to get tutoring for writing, LOL.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to add this link. It is by Kalil Gibran from The Prophet and is about love:

Here is one about children:

and marriage:

I find that I come back to these whenever I doubt myself.

Laura L.