our return to the outdoors {and some thoughts on unschooling}

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we’ve returned to the great outdoors for our days, finally. these days have been bittersweet as i know that, at least for now, this chapter of our free wheelin’ unschooling days is coming to a close. it’s the right decision for us at this moment and i have high hopes that we’ll see darla in the right atmosphere for the next phase of her education experiment. because that’s what it is in the end right? an experiment? each generation comes along with ideas and tests them out in the big experiment that is the evolution of the human species so i don’t have to worry about making *the right decision* for her. it’s all a gamble, no matter which way you slice it. i feel like education is one of those areas of life that many people take staunch stances, sure that their way is the best but from where i stand i feel like it’s all a gamble. it’s all a dance and at some point it’s time for this group number to narrow down to a solo effort. i feel darla has lent her voice towards the desire to try out school so that’s what we’ll do.

and it doesn’t feel as heavy as it once did. i’m not stressed. i feel that as she’s grown older and come into her autonomy these decisions that we’re supposed to navigate are not as loaded as they once were. one of my main goals as a parent is to be able to trust that my daughter has what she needs inside of her to create her own path and that she always has. that is just where i’m at with this journey. a few years back i felt like i could feel the weight of every decision as we pressed on into the future. now i’m more at peace with the fact that it’s really my daugther’s right to figure out how the path of her own life is going to run. she must be her own and i must be my own. i’m settling into this role of “guide” much better than i ever have felt as “mom.” as darla told her friend the other day “no ones the boss of me. my mom and dad just help me figure out how to be the boss of myself.”

maybe i can get this next child to call me mother-guide.

so this leaves us with one last summer, one last summer of flexibility and adventure. this leaves us a few short months of mother + daughter roaming until we all go through the very big learning experience of incorporating another human into this fold. how’s that for unschooling?

and then i’ll get to start this all over again. and who knows, if we get a year of school under our belt and find it’s not the best fit and we find a way for me to be able to accomplish my work as well as help two children educate themselves then maybe we’ll take that path.

maybe not. it’s all a great experiment, after all.

creek skipping

 fallen tree

 stone steps

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5 thoughts on “our return to the outdoors {and some thoughts on unschooling}

  1. it took me two years to be comfortable and trust unschooling. it felt like a HUGE amount of time to gamble with. but now, looking back, i realize i couldn’t have gone wrong. best wishes on your journey.

    • thanks! i feel like this recent return is what makes it so bittersweet because i’ve seen a little deeper just how much it is working for her. we’ve gotten back out into our world more in the past weeks and i’m amazed at what a thorough understanding and recall she has about things, especially the natural sciences. just when i’m feeling like i trust it, we’ve switched up the plan and we’ll see where that take us. maybe after i have a year to get used to a new rhythm and see how i handle accomplishing my own goals as a momma of two we’ll revisit. who knows! we’ll make the most of this summer that’s for sure.

  2. This is like taking a trip back in time and watching you all over again. I can see you building a bridge across the creek, moving big heavy rocks (and I think you crushed your finger between a couple). I remember you making a village under the pine trees with assorted pine cones and leaves and stuff and wanting to sleep out there on a pile of branches. And of course you were always up in a tree, sometimes with a book. No wonder all your dolls and toys remained intact for Darla. Even when you played dress up in old prom dresses from my sisters you took it outside. These sure are great pictures of the here and now. The added bonus of reflection on the past is quite enjoyable!

    • haha! i had a draft of this post that went into these very things about my childhood but thought i was not pulling it together very well. thanks for doing this for me! i think that’s why it’s so important to me that she have these experiences. however, she’s much more attached to the television than i ever was…

      • I agree that you were not attracted much to television. But we also did not have much of a selection. Prior to cable we had only the local stations that did not provide a lot for children. What they did deliver was not high quality. If some of the programs that are available now were coming in when you were little I think you would have been more drawn to it. When I showed Darla some Punky Brewster she did not like it at all. I think that programs now are much better designed to attract kids and that television when you were small was really designed to attract adults. You did pay attention to many of the high quality programs on PBS and later Disney cable station carried some good programs. I remember sitting as a family watching Anne of Green Gables, and the follow up shows about Avonlea. You would give your attention to the better stuff and videos. However, I don’t think there were ANY high quality infomercials in your day.

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