Monday, July 13, 2009

not really an unschooler

how can you be an unschooler if you don't stay home with your kids?

well, let's see...

there's the conversation when you come home from work:
(1) when your kids asked what you did at work today (yes, my kids ask this) you actually tell them -- I sat on my ass all day OR I euthanized a cat because the owner couldn't afford treatment OR I cut out a uterus in the name of resolving the pet overpopulation problem (Sure, you might sugar-coat it a tad, but ultimately you share your life just as they share theirs)
(2) you joke with them just as you joke with your husband and friends -- "Michael did you drive the car today?" sure, it's not the exact joke you'd use with your husband ... with your husband you might say, "What did you do all day? Bang the neighbor?" But the sarcasm and jest is similar. Just a tad more age-appropriate.
(3) you READ READ READ to them - you don't come home and try to engage in a "lesson". You just read, or paint, or color, or cook, or dance, or do whatever their brains and bodies tell them it's time to do. And you don't do this only because they are your children and you are hoping to entertain them. You do this because they are lead to do it and you're their mama who wants to participate in their joy.
(4) You try as hard as you possibly can to SILENCE the inner voice that is telling you "they're not reading on the level of other 4 year old" or "painting" or "speaking" or "potty-training as fast as other 2 year olds". You remember how much you resent being compared to your colleagues. And you TRUST THE PROCESS.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

cancer schmancer, who wants a drink?

A day will come when we are no longer unschooling caner, and we are just unschooling. Right? I just wonder when that's going to be.

I've always resented time away from my children. Even before leukemia. As a working mom with a stay-at-home husband, I am simultaneously grateful and resentful. I want to be home. I want to play legos. I want to make dinner. I want to take the kids to the Broad St Artists Co-op for steamers (and a cup of coffee for me, of course). What's wrong with that?

But after leukemia, it's worse. During chemo, I was the primary at-home. Well, really stay-at-hospital mom. I was there changing sheets, carrying back and forth to the art table, surfing you tube for jellyfish videos.

Then chemo ended. And thank god it did. But that meant an end to at-home and a return to work. Now I shouldn't complain. My typical work week is 4 long days. So I get three days with the kids. That's better than most. But this summer we're super busy and a little understaffed, so I'm working 5-6 days a week. And all I can think about is what have I learned from all of this? "This" being leukemia, not work.

I used to think I wouldn't be a good "at-home". That Matt is more patient and has more faith in the unschooling "process". "Trust the process" ... well, that's not my style. But life in the hospital showed me that I could do it. And now I wish I was. Instead I'm off to work at 7:15 am and home after 7 pm. And I feel we're pulling farther and farther away from unschooling as our lives become more and more conventional.

So, I need to stop looking at this as unschooling cancer. That's what I did in the hospital. It's unschooling. And whether I'm home or Matt's home, our kids are free-range monkeys. Learning, growing, living.