Years ago when I first learned about unschooling, it didn't appeal to me because I'm a naturally lazy or disorganized individual. In fact, I'm so much of a busy body and obsessed with being in control and organized that I worried I'd not even be able to embrace the philosophy, despite the fact that I was so attracted to it. And now, here I am, officially unschooling two out of three children and to be perfectly honest, it's actually quite difficult for me. It goes against my very nature. Aspects of my nature that quite frankly I would like to change.
Refraining from picking an all-in-one curriculum, not setting up a rigid schedule, never pushing my kids to their breaking points, and letting them learn at their "natural" ease and convenience is simply hard as heck for me.
Almost daily I find myself having to stop, breathe, and remind myself that I'm probably better off to do the exact opposite of what my natural inclination happens to be at the moment.
I am not ashamed to admit that I could easily screw my kids up for life (and probably will anyway) if I behaved towards them in relation to education and in parenting them in the way that I really want to. If I went with my knee jerk reaction, or with what feels natural for me, I'm certain that our relationship would be seriously damaged... and they would be more screwed up than they already are. For, the truth is, I'm a nut job.
I want to schedule every single meal and snack that goes into their little bellies. And I want to control what is in that meal. It needs to be raw, organic, sugar free, dye free, preservative free, free of artificial flavors, vegan, local, and fair trade. Not to mention alkalizing. You know, so that I can assure that none of my kids ever get cancer. Hmph.
I want to control what toys they play with. The toys need to be nonplastic, handmade, and not plastered with any characters or faces. You know, because that might make my kids... ummm... shallow or obsessed with consumerism or something.
I want to control what clothes they wear. The clothes should be all organic, not involve flame retardant chemicals, and should also never have any characters on them. Ya know, so that we aren't absorbing chemicals into our skin which also will prevent any and all cancer and also, so that we aren't... ummm... advertising for the overly commercial likes of Disney, Nickelodeon, etc.
I want to control what music and television my children are exposed to. The content should be free of sexual themes, profanity, violence, and crude potty humor. Ya know, so that I can prevent them from becoming murdering rapists or something.
I want to control what they are learning most of all. They need to be reading and doing math at their "grade" level and they should be doing the "correct" history, science, and whatever the heck else they "teach" in schools these days. Ya know, so that they don't end up stupid and unable to care for themselves in the future.
But, having adopted first and foremost, faith in Christ, and secondly, an unschooling philosophy, I have made peace with the fact that I need not control a darned thing. I can make gentle suggestions, I can guide, I can strew the environment, I can make healthy meals but dag nab it, IT AIN'T ALL ABOUT ME. And the best thing that I can do to impact the destiny of my children is to pray, pray, pray for them... and just be there by their side as they take this walk through life.
Do not ever think that I'm not fighting against my need for control every single day of my life. Oh how sweet it looks standing there staring me in the face. Taunting me. "Come on Mandy, you know you want to just give in. You know you want to control everything and everybody. It would be so EASY."
I'm so glad that I'm stubborn. And have a strong will. And that I'm a fighter. And that I can easily resist pressure... even when the pressure is from myself.
My children are better for it.