Radical Unschooling

#100 Days of Home Ed…Day 96

Yes, I am several days behind…and apologies for yesterday but PanKwake is on her up all night schedule. She got me up at 5 am. And when she finally went to bed around 10, I collapsed into bed and slept until 1…then had cleaning to do. On the positive side, Cookie Monster and I had a lovely date in the evening…thanks to the ever brilliant Mog.

So today and the next few I am playing catch-up.


So if you aren’t going to follow those traditional models of parenting and education what the heck do you do?

You become her mentor…his guide…their role model.

One of the analogies that I use is that of an alien. Imagine that an alien landed at your house. It does not speak your language. It does not understand society. It is pretty much helpless. It looks human enough though. And it comes with a note…

Please protect Meep and teach her about your way of life. One day we will come for her so that we may judge you by what you have taught her.

You have been ENTRUSTED with this life form. It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY

But it is not YOURS! 

It has its own unique thoughts, feelings, wants, needs and personality. It is an alien. You cannot change that!

Still it is your job to help it to understand this world in which we live…and to become a good decision maker.

So begins your journey into parenting…

How markedly different that view is from tabula raza! That ‘blank slate’ for you to write upon. To fill with your hopes, dreams and beliefs.

The first thing you learn is…

MUTUAL RESPECT!

That respect is a two-way street. Not something that is your right just because you are older or bigger.

But something that must be earned through integrity, be trust worthy and most importantly by giving it to your little alien as well.

No wonder those traditional parenting roles continue to prevail despite a century of psychology and human development that points us towards better methods. But those ways of building HAPPY children require us to change our paradigm. To grow as human beings.

So things as simple as…

  • You will eat what I put on your plate…
  • Brush your teeth…
  • It is bed time…
  • Give Grandma a kiss…
  • Put on your coat…
  • Do your school work…
  • …and so many, many more demands and controls have to change.

If this little thing is a human being with rights of its own then your role becomes one of informing their decision making.

  • Dinner becomes…would you like hot dogs or spaghetti?
  • If we don’t brush our teeth you may get cavities and those would hurt, making eating hard. When should we do that?
  • Trusting that if she is cold then she is smart enough to put on her coat if you offer it.
  • Allowing her control of her body…and who touches it and how.
  • Understanding the complexity of the sleep cycle and allowing autonomy that is age appropriate.
  • And the biggest of all…understanding that school and teaching are very different from learning.

All of it becomes more…much more complicated than demand, control and conditioning. You must…

  • Explain the rules…the whys of everything.

  • Offer options and choices that are age appropriate.

  • And above all…MODEL good choices yourself.

Those are pretty high standards! Impossibly hard actually. Ones that you are doomed to fail at. So you must add another…

  • Seek forgiveness when you mess up.

It is a full-time, 24/7, 365 job. The hardest one imaginable.

But the human beings that it creates are….

REMARKABLE!

Critical thinkers, compassionate, not easily lead, and best of all…HAPPY.

Life becomes an adventure…one that you share with your little alien. Every day becomes a lesson…for you as much as for them.

That is the core of this thing called…

Radical Unschooling!

 

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