Saturday, March 1, 2008

I'm baaaaack :)

Well, we have had an eventful month, those Joyful Learners and I.

It was very nice to hear that people were missing the blog, but it was also making me even more conflicted. Ella has decided to try school, and Declan also wanted to go. Due to some other issues in our lives, I thought that this might be a good time to go with their desire to try.

It is very hard to make this decision. Many people in my life who I know through homeschooling have made a point of telling me how much their own children will never want to go to school, and how grateful their children are for the homeschooling lifestyle.

This makes me feel (whether it is intended or not), that they have an implied judgement on my failure to make my children *love* being homeschooled, or that they want school because I am an unschooler, or not really an unschooler, or whatever the implied judgement is.

Granted, I am not in the best most secure head space right now, so I could be making this all up.


Ella was *very* clear. She LOVES her life. She is happy. She likes her friends, she loves her family, she is secure. She is grateful. She is learning. She wants to try school.

She has been wanting to explore school for a good 6-8 months now. I did what most "good" unschoolers would recommend. I expanded our world, I connected more. I facilitated. I validated.

I finally realized that I was making a big mistake.

I had finally hit that place (her wanting to try school) where I was not letting her make her own decisions. I was, in fact, manipulating her into "appreciating" the gift of unschooling, while at the same time denying her wish to try something new.

If it had been skydiving, I would have said, "Let's explore that!"

If it had been driving a car, I would have said, " can we fill that desire?"

But it was school.

And I was saying, with all my gyrations and interesting strewing, "WHY!?!? What am I doing wrong? What can we do differently?" All the while implying that her desire was wrong.

So I said, "Okay. Let's give it a go."

Now, I am wondering where this will lead us, where this will leave this blog, what I am going to do in this new chapter of relating to the kids and school.

But, I am back here. And will be keeping you updated on the Joyful Learners in school for the time being.


ihunt said...

I think the blog looks great Jess.

You have done so much for our kids, and I just want you to know how much I appreciate it, all the time, every day.

Anyone who knows you well understands how you feel about your kids, and if they are making a judgement about the decision to let them try going to school then screw them.

Hang in there.


Kit said...

School is part of the world. If one succeeds in letting a child explore the world confidently they will explore that too. I have five now grown kids. All of them tried school. Three came back home, after a minimum of two years of trying it out. The other two got more out of school because we were unschoolers at heart. It will be ok.

Madeline said...

I think it is great and also sooo about unschooling that you are letting them go. It is their decision and you are respecting it. It also reflects on the self assurance they have as a result of growing up so safely with you that they have the guts to try something so new and different. Please keep blogging and keep us updated about their continuing learning journey.

Love, Madeline

mindy said...

I think the hardest, yet most valuable, part of unschooling is allowing for our kids to make decisions we ourselves would not make. I also believe school is a completely different entity when the child has freely choosen to go, and has the freedom to come home. I know how hard this must be for you...

harmonywood said...

Good for you Jessica for honoring their choices, giving them the freedom to make their own decision, even if it was school.

Keep blogging :)

mindy said...

I tagged you! Check out my blog for the details.

Jessica said...

I appreciate all the supportive comments. I wonder about remaining an "unschooling" blog, and have been really sad to feel separate from a community I have been a part of. You all made me feel a little bit better~hooray!

Dee said...

I've been behind in my blog reading, so I'm sorry I didn't see this sooner. It makes me sad to think of anyone putting you down (intentionally or not) in regards to LETTING (as opposed to PUTTING) your kids go to public school. Like you said, its what they want. Maybe they'll want to stay there, maybe it will be a short lived experience. Who knows? But I know for sure that its nothing you did or didn't do correctly. You rock!!

Anne O said...

You said all of that oh so eloquently. I trust your kids knowing their hearts and knowing themSelves. They are awesome that way, thanks to their Mom.