A large part of being a (successful) unschooling parent is being present and mindful with your children. Being involved in their lives. Because let’s face it, if you’re going to get rid of school, it should be replaced with something. That something should be you.
One of the members of an unschooling e-mail list I belong to, wrote that she is having trouble being truly present with her kids. I’d like to share one of the answers she received.
Here’s what I figured out as it pertains to parenting and unschooling (parenthetical summaries where I could think of them):
1. Meeting my own needs means that I can be the unschooling mom I need and want to be. (recharge)
2. I found some of my homeschooling books and remembered why I believe in this approach. (reaffirm)
3. I realized my social and intellectual needs were starving, and started seeking outlets for myself. (recharge) This is extremely important modeling. how do you want your kids to take care of themselves as adults?
4. I noticed all the signals my body had been giving me over many months that I had ignored, so that I had to be “hit over the head” with panic attacks before I would change anything. (listen to self)
5. I got online and found this list. From there, by mentioning my location, I found some semi-local moms– one that I actually knew irl! (get connected)
6. I looked at all the areas of elevated stress in my life– there were quite a few– and started taking concrete steps to make changes. as long as I was taking some baby step, I could steer clear of the panic. (take action!)
7. I consciously worked on reconnecting with nature. for me, this is my constant, my place where I can find that feeling that life is meaningful. if it works for you too, it’s getting easier now that we’re moving into summer– make sure you’re not deprived of natural light, get your hands in dirt, even if you don’t garden, which I highly recommend! (get connected)
8. I started exercising, very important for clearing those toxic panic feelings and the associated biochemistry. (be healthy)
My suggestion, then, would be to figure out what you need to recharge and feel that your life is meaningful, and go get it! I once heard Bernie Siegel speak, and he said “If you lose your keys, you go find them, right? if you lose your health, go find it!” the same is true for our motivation and our zest for life. Go find your joy! and take your kids! it will snowball once you get rolling. but you’re the only one who can pull you out of the quicksand.
**originally posted in 2006**how to unschool, Mindful Parenting, unschool, unschooling, unschooling encouragement, what is unschooling