Parents with children older than mine would look at me if I raised concerns and said:
“Do not worry” or “You will find out.”
Sometimes they kept going “Just have fun with them.”
You were so right. And I love that they were!
Still, I was worried about gaps.
I was worried whether I could go to college or what higher education they would aim for. I didn’t want doors to close – I wanted them to have all the possibilities in the world.
Despite my lack of trust or my occasional breakdown of facts, they had every opportunity they wanted. After a (mostly) radical way of schooling our lives, they could pursue what they want.
I greet the mothers of babies who read and learn how not to go to school before they need to know. So many of their school-related thoughts about learning can be addressed before their children go to school. To Deschool even before you are in the middle of it will help so much.
I didn’t know of any homeschooling, let alone unschooling families the year before we decided to take the plunge. The idea of your kids staying at home to study and live would actually be good for them – and not just an act of indulgence from a mother who couldn’t let go – wasn’t on my radar at all. I was a suburban soccer mother – even though it was T-Ball and Tiger Cubs back then. I was surrounded by mothers trying to find the right preschool or mother’s day. I only knew people who encouraged the distance to children so that they could go back to work, do their own jobs, or just sleep a little! Nobody spoke to me about it at the time leaned in all these feelings that go with children.
This month I want to tell you to just lean on LOVE.
Look at your babies and toddlers as well as children and teenagers.
See how they trust you. See how they ask for your support. See how you are your rock.
Please note the math: you will probably be around 80 years old. Your children will need you as the sole support for maybe 20 years. That is only 25% of your life. Most likely you are over 20 years old, so you have already spent the first 25%, children are the next. This gives you 50% of your life time to keep track of what you want! And regardless of your first 20 years, if you REALLY focus on your children in the next 20 years, the second half of your life will be full of wonderful relationships with them, memories and plans for the future. It will be so much richer to focus on a little 25% of them.
Here is my list of LOVE…
I did some of it well. I wished some of it I had done so much better. And if you raise young children, you have the opportunity to learn from our decisions and have even better experiences.
LOVE who you are now.
Don’t try to shape them. Just sit down with them and listen to their ideas. Share your opinions without crushing them. Stop when you feel like you are judging them. Let them unfold naturally. When you focus on LOVE, you can let go of fear.
LOVE that you have to do what you want all day.
Create a home full of excitement and interesting things to discover – be it books or videos, pine cones or magnets. Play with them yourself. You will be surprised how your own ability to play can return. It is human nature to play with things. It’s just that if you had to go to school you should stop playing and settle in your seat. To be successful in this environment, you had to learn to curb all your enthusiasm. It may take some time to get these feelings back. But they are there.
LOVE that you live in a time and place where there are so many options.
Use your community and the community next to yours! Find cool places to explore. Learn with your kids. Even if you think, “I don’t care,” it’s worth trying. Model the setting to try. The children are more likely to pick up on this when they have watched you approach unknown things with an open mind. There may be something you like there. Or it could spark a new passion for your child. Show them that there are all kinds of interesting adventures right outside your door. And now, if you look them up on the internet, it’s much easier to find and can give a little preview of what’s to come.
LOVE that they can see and touch and hear things in the real world.
Children who are bound by lesson plans or curricula – whether at school or at home – can only read about these adventures. They have to wait to start exploring later in their lives or after their “real work” is done when their brains are exhausted or worse.
LOVE their interests.
Even if you are not interested in video games or horses or Justin Bieber (yes, that was originally written in 2012!) Or BMXing, you will still love it. Show them that you appreciate their selection. Ask them questions. Maintain your passion instead of turning on timers to tell how long you can enjoy it. Take them with you to get the game they crave. Ask them which game you could start with to find out what they love. Take them to horse stables. Take her to a concert of her choice with a friend. Visit the bike shop with them once a week to see what’s new. Find a magazine about BMX-ing.
Before you say, “I don’t want to put more money into these decisions,” you might want to rethink that.
It is your passion! Even if it’s fleeting. It will really lead to something else – it always does. And they will have had the opportunity to see that they can search for passions without anyone telling them how to find it or where to find it. Or what is a good passion and what is not.
Your LOVE will build their TRUST.
And as parents who are not required to attend school, your job is to create an environment in which they can learn and grow. It is easy to find academics who might need them later. But the relationship, the trust, the connection – that can make the difference! They are an important component in the development!
In the end, that’s the most important thing: LOVE between everyone in your family. If there is an interruption, check what you’re afraid of.
Because everything comes down to two things: Fear or love.
Just practice bringing it back to love.
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