March 1, 2006

Unschooling Article Interview

{The West Coast Bureau Chief for the Chicago Tribune based in Los
Angeles is writing an article on Unschooling. Following is my response to the questions he asked.}

My husband and I have 3 young sons. 7yo, 4.5yo, 15mos. We've been unschooling our children since birth, as it is a very natural progression of the lifestyle we adopted when they were born, which is 'attachment parenting'. AP is all about trusting your children to know when they need what. For example: a baby *knows* when he needs to nurse, for how long, they don't need *us* to put them on a feeding schedule. We nurse on demand. Also, a child knows when his nursing need has been completed. This is child led weaning. Some children wean as infants, others (more common if allowed) will wean when they are toddlers, 3 or 4 years old. We trust our children to know when they are ready to move out of our bed, into their own. We trust our children to know when they are ready to walk, talk, feed themselves, it's all on their own timetable, and *every* child is different. They won't all do these things at the same time, so why would we expect them to *all* be, for example, reading, when the public school says they should. So, we just extend this trust in our children to know that they will signal us when they are ready for new information (which is constantly) then it is up to us to provide a very rich and interesting environment for our children to have access to.

The reason we 'decided' to unschool, again, comes from how we'd been living our lives since they were born. My children have been the experts of themselves since they were born, living joyfully, learning all the time. Why, just because they turn *5*, would I turn them over to 'experts' who will tell my energy filled boys to sit down, be quiet, eat/drink/empty your bladder when I give you permission. My children have the freedom to be who they are and love who they are, without others telling them that something is wrong with them just because they aren't 'doing' something that the 'experts' say they should be.

A typical day for us can look quite different from day to day. Every day, we follow what the boys are excited about that day. Some days, it's long days at the park, others it's a trip to the library and hours of reading snuggled up on the couch. My 7yo enjoys Neopets right now, so he's proficient at getting to that site by himself, and checking out the new game of the day, as well as keeping a close eye on how many 'neo-points' he is racking up. We cook together often, we engage in very messy projects, with no worry about the end product; the process and the fun we are having together is our focus. Currently, the boys are active in our local homeschool gym days, Tae Kwon Do, playgroups, story times and volunteer activities. We are free to go where we want, when we want, and we are grateful for that.

Before children, I was a Kindergarten teacher. I now do Doula work (professional labor support) more as a hobby and a passion of mine. I also spend time supporting other mothers in their mothering journey.
We are a one income family.

If you need more, or clarification, let me know, Vince. I would love to see the completed article, if possible.


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