So I was super nervous about my phone conversation with The Organic Sister yesterday.
As the clock approached 1315 I began to get irritable, pacing, chewing my fingernails.
See I have this anxiety about the telephone...
Anyway, she called pretty much exactly at 1315 and I answered with super trepidation. Caller ID didn't pick up her number, and I normally don't answer "caller unknown" calls - mostly because I watched too many horror movies in my teen years - but I knew it was her so I answered.
She did most of the talking, and I was glad because I was so scared I wouldn't know what to say.
During the conversation I felt like - wow, I don't really think I'm getting that much out of this - I think I already know most of this stuff - but after I hung up I realized I had learned a ton.
I also get to email her this entire week for free for follow-up consultation. I've already emailed her once :-)
I guess, more than anything, I learned that the keys to unschooling are two-fold:
1. Have genuine respect and trust for everyone in your family.
2. Say yes more often.
I also learned the unschooling is NOT life without boundaries - in fact, a big part of the process is understanding what YOUR boundaries are for others and then learning to respect the boundaries that others have for themselves. It does not mean you never tell your kid not to touch a hot stove, but that you treat them with the respect you would show your best friend. You don't let their pet die because they forgot to feed it - because you would never do that to your best friend. You don't run over their bike because they left it in the driveway in order to "teach them a lesson", but you can say "Hey, I moved your bike out from behind the car today, I was thought I might hit it! Do you think you could put it in the garage?"
The really interesting thing is that Michael and I tend to parent like this anyway.
I finally understand what a friend of mine meant when she said that Michael and I have a really different parenting style. I guess I always thought that everyone parented that way.
Nope. No dice. We're freaks.
Regardless - another thing that was really interesting was that part of "unschooling" is trusting your child to want the best education - to desire to be in the environment that is most conducive to his or her learning. Jonah WANTS to go back to Montessori. I told him that if he ever wanted to stay home he could do that, so he knows it's always on the table if that's something he wants to do.
I also realize that me taking him to see all of his school options was a total unschooling concept. Most parents just send their kids to the public school because that's what you do. I always thought it was a matter of trying your hardest to do what is best for your child, and if it's a money issue and you have to send them or you both work and you have to or whatever, then you have to and that's a hard choice to make. I never thought that people would just not think about the sort of education their child might receive at any place. I never thought of my child's education as some kind of status symbol or way to fit in or show off my money or anything - I always just thought that I should send them to the school or place where they would learn best.
Jonah is SUPER DUPER social, so I get why he would want to be at school.
I think Montessori is a GREAT school as far as schools go.
I'm not that happy with how they teach patriotism alongside pacifism, because I don't think they always work together, and I'm not a fan of how they teach evolution without the option for a Creator, but we're Jonah's parents, and we can teach him at home too. We are his life-guides.
And once we get the RV, unschooling will be happening in a more traditional sense.
For now, we're working on being nurturing and shifting our lifestyle even further into a more "unschool" paradigm.
Unschool isn't about "no school". It's about trusting your children and treating them with respect.
If you're interested in learning more about unschooling and have a little cash to spend to talk to someone who "gets it", I suggest calling Tara, from The Organic Sister blog. She's an unschooling coach who can give you the help you need. Click here for a link to her coaching page.