Google+ Authentic Parenting: Unschooling Ourselves

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Unschooling Ourselves

A couple of days ago, my husband told me that it seemed as if I am unschooling myself. It was a funny remark, but it holds true. Ever since I became a stay at home wife (I never worked in Africa, so I stayed home without having children for almost a year and a half - can you imagine the shame ;) ) I had to seek out a path I wanted to follow, since I am not the kind of person who can sit home and just be. I’m actually a rather ambitious person by nature.

Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis
The first six months as a stay at home were really really difficult. I was alone, in a country I didn’t know, I didn’t have any friends and I had been told not to bring too much stuff because I could find everything there (that was in Cameroon) - which of course wasn’t true. The books I had brought finished quickly and I got lost in my own house.
So I started taking long walks, cooking for hours a day and eventually got a crappy mechanical sewing machine. I was busy and doing stuff. I hardly watched tv at all.

When I got pregnant, I started reading a lot about pregnancy and babies and childhood. First magazines and later online. And then eventually I started this blog, for which again I read and write. And I still sew. Sometimes I craft or tricot or do some crochet or...
Ultimately, I am just following my interests, as they occur. That’s the luxury I have being at home.

I think in order to unschool successfully one must unschool/deschool oneself first. Because how can we model Authentic interest and joy of learning if we are stuck in a rut we’d rather escape from. I think to model the attitude we want our child to adopt toward learning, we ourselves must first seek to adopt that attitude towards life. We must find joy in what we do on a daily basis, we must portray that joy and eventually it will catch on in our child. If we expect our children to be active and interested in order to learn, we must first get active and interested ourselves.



  1. Because how can we model Authentic interest and joy of learning if we are stuck in a rut we’d rather escape from.

    A lightbulb clicked on me here. One of the things that alarms and saddens me is how much I hear women talk about how "boring" it is to be home with babies/kids. I've never been bored! Overworked at times, yeah. Frustrated by the lack of cultural acknowledgement of my worth as a human being, HECK yeah. Bored, not at all!

    I have my theories as to why men and women scramble to identify babywork and housecare and cooking and laundry as BORING but I'll save that (rant) for another day... :-)

    Maybe it's no coincidence you and I have ended up writing so much on authentic parenting, life learning, and consensual living - radical yet intensely nurturing practices for *everyone* in the family. Our lives genuinely capture our passions, interests, skills, body, soul and mind... so it's easier to go deeper.

    Thanks for all you do!

  2. I love this post! And it's exactly true - we need to find the joy for ourselves as much as we need to help our kids find their joy. After all, by living a rich & fulfilling life we are modeling to our children how to be happy interesting adults. I hope you continue to enjoy your personal journey!

  3. I am mindfully working on your last paragraph, but I feel as a mother to 3 kids ages 3-7 there is not enough hours in the day or blocks of time to enjoy interestes that I have alot of the time. I remind myself that if I give them a good foundation now, that as they grow older we will all be able to enjoy and support each other in our passions more and more. At this point they need my time and attention (sometimes all 3 at once) so I have make adjustments on interests that I would like to give my full attention. I am still trying to figure out the dance of being a mindful parent and deschooling myself and having enough hours in the day :)


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