It's like...if I write about it, somehow it will cheapen what's been happening in our family, and I don't want that to happen - EVER.
I've had a lot of questions, comments, remarks - and I'm sure that these are just the beginnings of a long line of people who feel like they know better than I do what's best for my family. I'm learning that these are things that I really don't need to heed - but the learning process is slow, and the curve is sort of steep.
I've also had some encouragement from folks who actually know what unschooling is, how it works, what it means, and those things have been fantastic.
On top of learning how to handle any criticism, we've been sort of trial by fire when it comes to changing some of our parenting to fit our new choices.
Jonah no longer has a set bedtime, and that's an interesting process for everyone involved.
We're relaxing our food rules and required dinner time. Michael and I had a long conversation about dinner time last night. Both of us grew up in homes where dinner was a HUGE priority, and we both envisioned the same for our families when we reached adulthood, and yet, last night, we sat at the table, just the two of us, while the kids finished watching the Care Bears movie and their food grew cold on their plates.
At the end of our emotional conversation, we both agreed that the family dinners WERE super important in our families growing up because we simply didn't have other chances to spend time together. With unschooling, there is a TON of family time. It's not just about having dinner together. It's about living together much more than a "typical American family". And so - if the kids miss dinner sometimes, it's REALLY okay.
As soon as their movie ended they both clambored up the stairs and scarfed their taco salad. Michael and I lingered at the table to talk to them about how their days were going so far, and about the movie they had just finished, and about what was in the strange conglomeration on their plates. It was fun.
We're struggling a little with finding time for us, since Jonah is still very much transitioning when it comes to bedtimes and figuring out what he needs and wants and how his body is going to work. He is scared at night and often just wants to stay up because he's afraid to be upstairs alone. We're thinking we'll move Michael's computer monitor back to our bedroom and hang out there to watch TV so that Jonah can feel more free to go to bed when he feels tired, instead of waiting around for us to turn in.
Food freedoms are already amazing.
Today, I brought Halloween candy downstairs at 3 PM for the kids to snack on, and Jonah said, "Actually, Mom, I'd really like to have oatmeal - I think that's a little healthier - it makes me feel better than candy."
Jonah helped me make the grocery list today, requesting foods he liked on his own list for snacks and lunches: baked beans, sliced turkey, broccoli, elbow noodles, Cheerios, strawberries, and mashed potatoes were his choices to add to the list.
We've done scavenger hunts of his own creation. He has penned and illustrated his very own non-fiction book about sharks. Jonah and Michael built his Halloween costume. He is training for his 5K. He is learning guitar. He is THRIVING on the swim team. We've found a great homeschool group to hang out with on Thursdays. He's reading without prompting. He and Maeryn are building forts and LEGOs and towers and bouncing balls and he's working through the multiplication table.
It's truly just fantastic.
Tonight we're having a family sleepover and going to First Friday on the Square (first Friday of the month, new art gallery show opening every month in Leonardtown, MD). We're also ordering pizza! (my favorite part)
I am tired - but it's a great exhaustion. Michael and I are on our toes all the time and living life with our kids in a way we didn't know was possible.
I think that's all for now...
Leaving you with some photo ops from our Halloween experience: ENJOY!
|Jonah's carving design|
|Michael was the carving master.|
|Working on Maeryn's pumpkin.|
|Jonah cutting out a ghost to decorate the door.|
|Roasted pumpkin seeds.|
|The hanging of the paper chain I made.|
|Jonah = a wolf - I did the make-up!|
|Little Elmo and Little Wolf.|
|Maeryn. Post trick-or-treat.|