A Garden of Delights

How We Work

Posted on: April 12, 2010

I’ve been having a delightful time of late reading (really catching up because so much is already out there) other people’s blogs.  The Blogosphere is quite the happening place of late and since I’ve always loved to “People Watch” my PC seems to be the next best thing to sitting in the mall with a pen, paper and a Chai latte.  And I get to do my laundry and dusting too!

Of course, the people I find in the mall are people who tend to be the kind who like malls.  Good for me, since I really hate malls and this opens a new window to the world for me.  Of course, I do love Chai, and spending time in places that sell great lattes tends to lead me to the kind people who like tea and books and pens and paper….

Recently I’ve been reading a lot of blog posts by people who are in the Unschooling community (if such thing really exists).  I know I’ve mentioned this before, since I have a friend who is actively and radically unschooling her two children and we’ve come to verbal blows about how my fascination of her lifestyle flows.  I do think we both have a better understanding of the differences in the ways our minds work now. but it was a long hard road.

Anyway, the truth is I do see what these people are saying in my own experiences with my son.  Marcus is constantly amazing me with the things he does.  His delight with languages and with numbers, with writing…  I truly must get the scanner hooked up and post of some thing things he’s done, if only because I’ll be able to enjoy the time looking over his creations.  And if anyone wants to help choose some good Spanish — English readers for him, I’ll head over to the bookstore in an instant.  French, Spanish, German, Japanese…  He’s already moved onto the For Dummies series just because he read the titles on the bookshelf.

We certainly practice strewing here.

However, we did still choose to send our son to Early Childhood Schooling at Doane Stuart.  And that doesn’t really fit the model of the Unschooling lifestyle as I’ve seen it.  My reasons were many at the time.Here’s a few:

    1) I was feeling overwhelmed at the time and felt I could not be the mother my son needed without risking real harm to him (I had, and still have, a lot of childhood issues to deal with that I didn’t want to subject to; fortunately we’ve both grown and changed over the year).
    2) All my attempts to really connect with the local homeschool groups seemed to work well in the Ether, but never in person…after the umpteenth time of telling Marcus we would be meeting some other kids at a playground or a park or a restaurant, only to find no one there, I felt so frustrated and depressed.  Yes, we still had some fun, but I could see that how much it was hurting him and how much he was beginning to doubt it when Mommy would make plans.  A school setting gave my son a security I was clearly failing in giving him.
    3) Silly as it may sound, I just couldn’t bring myself to see my son risking himself learning some of those basic skills (scissor use, playing on monkey bars, etc) that so many kids do without freaking. And yet, I knew I should not let my fears for him rule his life.

I could go on, but except for the yearly decision to continue at DS or try something new, the reasons aren’t interesting to most people.  The effects perhaps are.

Truth be told, it was a rocky road.  I now am sure that my fears of Marcus being too young to be away from home so long were founded.  If I’d had to send him to a school that wasn’t as open about parental involvement as DS, I’d have pulled him out  early on, and the expense be damned.  Fortunately I was able to have those special Tuesday Concert days with him, take him out early for special Mommy/Marcus times on Fridays, come into class and read and paint, go to the theatre and on field trips with him, smile at him through the window, be there for his nurse visit.  Heck, on my “in the city” days, I’m as likely to be on the campus as off it.  I’ve even written some of my story in there.

Parenting is letting go.  I’m convinced of that, and I had to let go of my son a lot this year.  But in letting go, no matter how one does it, I feel the goal is to allow the child we are raising to go out and take the world into his/her hands and say “This is mine, I love it, and I want to experience it fully!”

Our own journey is an ever changing one that we continue to look at with considering eyes, adjusting our course to see what direction we feel will best get us to that goal.  Will we send Marcus to school next year? As I’ve told him, if he wants to go, we’ll make it work.  If not, we can find other options.

And just for the record, and in honor of those “cow trails” that Dee and I love to follow…  This was not at all what I intended to write about.  But clearly it is what I needed to write about.

Maybe I’ll even get back to the in depth analysis of this delightful Blog post that had inspired me to pick up the keyboard and stop crocheting that blanket I’m trying to finish making.

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