We fly wildly through the vast spectrum of knowledge at a pace and in a way that is meaningful only to how their unique minds work.
If they need to move, rest, eat or use the toilet, they do just that. If they feel silly and want to laugh until it hurts or rush outside to catch the biggest raindrops they’ve ever seen, they can. They are learning to listen to their own minds, their own bodies, working out what keeps them happy and healthy. The most invaluable life skill of all.
Their minds are growing in a loving family environment of compassionate self-curiosity, where mistakes are not punishable but our best teacher. Gradually building an emotional intelligence that leaves them resilient, empathetic, self aware, with hearts that know their worth. No-one is dictated to, we try to make decisions together as a family that consider everyone’s needs. It’s reassuring to watch as they learn to show respect and kindness when someone shows them respect and kindness, not simply because a child, adult or authority says so. They will stand up for themselves and for what is right.
We have a social life that suits us. We see friends and family of varying ages as often as we like, doing what we like. We are in the community interacting with people from all walks of life. Through holidays, crowd-free day trips, home education groups, forest school and the endless classes and camps available, the opportunities are limitless. But the key is that they’re opportunities they’ve chosen. We’re always there for guidance and necessary limits, but as far as possible they feel responsible for themselves and so are learning to take responsibility for themselves. It’s an empowering feeling.
One of the greatest unschooling gems has to be that our children get to spend every day with their best friend for life, their sibling, and we’re all with the people we love the most, the most. We see our children at their best. They are growing a little more slowly. Our connection is deep and our memories together rich and vast. There are definitely tough moments: parenting isn’t easy, relationships aren’t easy, life isn’t fair for any of us. But we find this way of life mostly brings out the best in us. We are free to make it whatever we want it to be.
Tomorrow, just like every day, we will ask “what will make us happy today?” “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I know my children will grow up to be fulfilled, contributing individuals that can face life’s challenges because they already are. They are navigating and loving the real world right now and they feel ten feet tall.
And so this is my unschooling secret. What if I told you all you have to do is enjoy your life and let your children enjoy theirs, and all will come good?
Lisa Molson is a freedom-loving, simple-living, moment-grabbing, heart-following mum of two and a bump. Whenever life feels tough she rests and comes back to this quote to make a change: “You’re not tired, you’re uninspired.”