Radical Unschooling

#100 Days of Home Ed…Day 90

So we are entering the home stretch. I thought I would use these last few days to share with you, my tips for Radically Unschooling your autistic/neurodivergent or even neurotypical child.

Step 1: Throw Out EVERYTHING You Think You Know About Parenting…and Education!

Yes, EVERYTHING!!!

The older children’s fathers…the preacher…used to complain that his upper middle-class, well-educated mother saw her children as tabula rasa or a blank slate. A lump of clay to be molded and formed into what she wanted. I think that is a rather common, almost standard view of children. Schools and society most definitely reinforce that perception.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

Children…babies…even in the womb…are human beings. Persons. With their own needs, thoughts and feelings. And this view that because we are bigger or older we know what is best for them…

Well, spend a few minutes watching the news, reading your friends’ feed on social media or just people watching. Do you still think that adults are ‘wiser’? That what we have done to this world in the name of greed is…

Breathe! Off my soapbox.

But one corner stone of Radical Unschooling at least at #HomeCrazzyHome is that PanKwake is our equal. Yes, an eleven year old autistic little girl has the same rights, deserves the same considerations and as much autonomy as she can handle…wants. And that is a game changer…it colors everything we do and how we live our lives.

If PanKwake is a HUMAN BEING with equal standing in terms of wants, needs and rights…but sometimes without the skills to provide those for herself or even to communicate what they are…HOW radically does that change the role of parent? Of educator?

It sets us…the adults…up to become…

  • Mentors…
  • Role models…
  • Facilitators…
  • Stewards…
  • ..and yes, Servants.

No wonder fewer people do it this way. It is hard. And I only have the one at home…with two adults to share the responsibility. A two to one ratio. Single parents…with multiple children?

But I tell you what…this one change opens so many new and exciting possibilities for you…and them.

And it takes some of the pressure off too. I mean if they are more autonomous then you do not have the responsibility of telling them everything they must do…or worse yet…enforcing/making them.

Not saying that is easy though…the pressure to conform…to do it the way that everyone else does…

  • You’ll eat what I put on your plate…
  • Go to bed NOW…
  • Clean your room…
  • Take a bath…
  • Brush your teeth…
  • Do your school work…

When those become CHOICES and not your all-consuming job to enforce, things get…INTERESTING…

Baths…washing…are the big one here right now. It is to the point I have two choices…Cookie Monster and I physically wrestle PanKwake kicking and screaming into the shower…risk hurting her or being hurt…breaking things…not to mention the mental health damage that would cause…

Or I can discuss it with PanKwake…and let her decide for herself. By discussing that means a two-way dialogue…including her telling all about studies that show you wash away some of your skin’s protective capacity in the process. And I counter about societal expectations…for right or wrong…not making a judgement call on her. Then pointing out how uncomfortable it may make her friends…or that it has gotten so bad we cannot go to the Potato Man without risking social service’s involvement.

Hardest part…Letting her make the decision from there!

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But she does! And usually the right one.

It is also about thinking creatively to problem solve…like going to the pool. She sees the signs that say she must shower BEFORE going into the pool. That is their rule…so she follows it. And enforces it to me…lol. Then the chlorine bothers her skin so she will also shower afterwards…using soap and doing her hair.

That is what I mean about THROWING OUT EVERYTHING YOU THINK YOU KNOW ABOUT PARENTING.

But this CRAZZINESS actually creates a HAPPY human being with superior CRITICAL THINKING skills…because she knows that SHE has the RESPONSIBILITY for her choices…good or bad…natural consequences, folks.

That’s how we do this Radical Unschooling thing…at least at #HomeCrazzyHome!

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