November 13, 2007

Deschooling At Last (Or, Living A Joyful Life)

The last time I had a revelation on my blog I sprinkled photos of our cats throughout the entry (even though they had nothing to do with anything!). I've had what I think is another good revelation so, in keeping with tradition, I'm posting some photos of Ravenpaw and Charlie--just for fun.

Whenever I post something about how far I've come, or how it's been smooth sailing lately, the very next day I find myself writing about how everything is falling apart. (Usually because of something I did.) Knock on wood, please, because I'm about to jinx myself. I've felt a definite shift these last few days. I've really come a long way!

Two months and three days have passed since we started unschooling and we're just now (FINALLY!) ready to start the deschooling process in earnest. It seems wrong to say "in earnest," actually, because earnest implies an intense focus and the shift I'm feeling is more a lack of intense focus. Or maybe it's just that my focus is changing. Instead of focusing on educating my son, or trying to unschool or deschool the "right" way, or fretting over how much screen-time is appropriate, my focus has shifted to living a joyful life.

What has brought about this change? Time. Research. Reading unschooling blogs. Reading the comments on my blog. Reading and posting on unschooling discussion groups. Reading books. Following my own interests. And more time.

Each of those activities has contributed to my growth and I don't think I'd have made it this far without every one of them. There's one book, however, that was especially helpful. It's called Parenting a Free Child: An Unschooling Life by Rue Kream (Thanks Evie!). I'm a little more than 3/4 of the way through it now and I just cannot recommend it enough for someone who is new to unschooling. More than an unschooling handbook, Parenting a Free Child is about respecting children as fellow humans on their own unique journey, living a joyful life and so much more. Everyone should read it!

With all of that said, I must tell you that I'm still far from being comfortable as an unschooler. It's still new. There are still things I'm not ready to change. I'm holding on to some practices that aren't very unschoolish--but I forgive myself for that. I'm learning at my own pace.

For now, my deschooling plan is to focus on one thing and one thing only.Joy. Finding it. Fostering it. And helping my family to do the same.

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