Sunday, May 18, 2008

Unschooling the mother.

“[Mothers can] put their own lives and interests on hold as a sacrifice to their children. As noble as this seems, [it is] a sort of negligence: withholding who she is - the best part of herself - from our children.” Monte and Karen Swan

I saw this quote at Handmade Homeschool, a blog I check frequently.

It really jumped out at me because this is one of the tenets of unschooling that really makes unschooling make sense to me.

To effectively unschool, to teach your kids to follow their passions and their interests, the parents must follow their own passions and interests. They must model that behavior for their kids.

When I find answers to my questions, when I do research on my gardens and my animals, when I learn a new skill, when I try a new recipe, when I do any of this, I'm teaching my children how to do the same.

An effective unschooling parent cannot give up their life for their child, putting off "outside" interests until the child grows up. And that makes unschooling a very intriguing option. By doing the things you want to do - with your child there, watching and participating when they want to - you're helping them learn how to learn, introducing new ideas to them, and teaching them that life is meant to be lived.

So many mothers - especially stay at home mothers - put themselves on hold for eighteen years until their child is raised. Or, at the very least, they put themselves on hold until their child is in school and then incrementally take back more of themselves as the child ages and becomes more independent. It's a very child-centered way of life compared to letting the child become part of the family, part of the world around them by being present and watching others live their lives around them.

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