Thursday, July 30, 2009
Enjoy your week everyone!
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Taking it further, radical unschooling is letting go of control over your child's life. I want to make it very clear that when I say "letting go of control", either referring to a child's education or their entire life, I do not mean letting go of your child, in the sense of becoming an absent parent. Unschooling is becoming more involved in your childs life, not less! Many people seem to equate control with love, for some bizarre reason, and then think that if parents are not controling their children, they're just being "lazy" and not showing love for their children. However, without control, you can still help your children. Support them. Love them. Control, in my mind, makes it harder to help, support, and love your children, not easier. In adult romantic relationships, control is not a good sign. Control, of what you eat and wear and do, of who you see, is considered, rightly so, abuse in such situations. So why is it considered acceptable treatment for children?
Some people also think that unschooling can be dangerous. If you're letting your child "do whatever they want", they could cause harm to themselves or those around them. And this brings me to the point that unschooling, and radical unschooling specifically, is treating children with the same respect as you would a person of any other age. If my best friend tried to walk in front of a car, I would physically stop him. The same applies to a child. If a toddler is crawling along on the ground eating cigarette buts, it's not okay to let them! Unschooling means not making arbitrary rules. It doesn't mean letting someone do something that will likely cause harm to themselves or others.
I think some of these thoughts could certainly be worked out more, elaborated on, etc., and I'm certainly not the first to address these issues, but since I've found myself in the place of explaining unschooling to people lately, I've been thinking a lot about how to address various points... How to put things in a convincing way that makes sense to people. So I'm just working things out here... :-)
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Ages ago I was given the Lemonade award by Linda of Amy's journey - unschooling through high school. Thanks so much Linda! :-) The award is for blogs with "attitude and/or gratitude" and recipients are then asked to pass the award on to 10 other blogs. Now, this is really hard for me! I follow around 70 blogs, and I really do read most of them most of the time! I love reading about other peoples experiences, opinions, everyday happenings in their lives... But I'm going to try and narrow it down to the ones I read right away when I see that there's a new post, the ones that I frequent most often, lately... So here they are!
Sheila of Always Exploring. One of my best friends-that-I-have-never-actually-"met", Sheila is a fellow "grown unschooler" who writes beautifully and with passion about such diverse subjects as music, spirituality, natural childbirth, and simply what's going on in her life.
Eli of Eli Gerzon's Worldschooler Blog. Written by a grown unschooler/worldschooler who now leads travel tours for unschoolers to various interesting places, this wonderful blog discusses unschooling, worldschooling, world travel, and similarly fascinating things.
Danya of Made of Carbon. Danya finished public high school, but having learned about unschooling, decided that, for one year, she would follow that lifestyle, and see what happened! I greatly enjoy reading about her journey.
Michelle of Natural Attachment. A marvelous blog by an anarchist radical unschooling mom, that talks about (and shows in lovely pictures) their day to day life, as well as discussing various aspects of radical unschooling.
Stella of Not an Ordinary Teen. No matter how bad a day I've had, Stella can make me laugh! Stella is an unschooling teen who's passionate about dance, and her blog is always a joy to read.
PS Pirro of Over the Wall. An unschooling green anarchist mom and author of 101 Reasons Why I'm an Unschooler, I love reading this very political, and very well written, blog.
Andrea of Saying Yes 2 Boys. It's strange to say, but this blog almost makes me feel like I'm a kid again! Chronicling the adventures of a radical unschooling family with younger kids, I just love to see all of the adventures they go on, and the freedom and joy in the boys faces.
James of How I Learn Stuff. Unschooling dad and author of Secrets of a Buccaneer Scholar, I love his very logical and very respectful approach to things.
Anna of Adversarian. Written by an unschooling teen and dealing almost exclusively with unschooling and learning in general, this blog is quite enjoyable.
Majikfaerie. It's rather strange to say, but I don't know her name! What I do know is that she's a world traveling unschooling mom, and I LOVE reading about (and seeing in photo's) the places she goes and things she does.
So there you have it! I hope you enjoy the blogs listed above. :-)
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
"Exchange economics presupposes a one-dimensional scale of value, according to which everything can be appraised: if an avocado costs a dollar, and a new sports car costs $20,000, then a sports car must be worth exactly twenty thousand avocados. But such equations are absurd. Can you calculate the financial value of a friendship, or the exchange rate of a clever joke for a meal tenderly prepared, the comparative worth of the sound of birds singing in the trees against the current market value of lumber? Those who would measure such things miss everything that is beautiful and unrepeatable about them; once one recognizes this, it becomes clear how pathological such calculations are in any context. To asses the commercial value of experiences and sensations, let alone trade in the very lives of the human beings around you with an eye to your own advantage, is to flatten the world for yourself and everyone you touch."
"Some call this a democracy--did you get a say in what the billboards you pass every morning say, what they go on repeating inside your head all day, the trees they cut down by your house to make room for the new gas station? How about the preservatives they put in the food you eat, or the conditions in the factories that produce them? What about your wages at work, or how much money the IRS takes from you? These aren't just inevitable "facts of life"--they are the manifestations of conflict as the system of human relations, every man for himself and force against us all. The leagues of intimidating red tape and the battering of woman, the biased news coverage and the inhumanity of factory farms, the jockeying for ascendance between colleagues and countries, all these are simultaneously expressions of the strife at the heart of our civilization and weapons which, used by factions fighting for survival on its terms, perpetuate it."
Oh, and this is my current Facebook status:
A moth just landed on my hand, poked at my skin with it's mouth, antennae twitching curiously, tilted it's head, seemed to clean it's leg, then fluttered off. All of this happened in about five seconds. A creature both utterly beautiful and utterly strange... And for a few seconds of my life, I was completely engrossed in it's delicate world.
Here's to the small moments in life, the interesting things that happen late at night, and finding happiness in even the rockiest parts of life.
Monday, July 20, 2009
I was just sitting by my computer, window open wide, warm air blowing and sunlight streaming in, when I heard a crow caw, and a memory flashed. In that memory, I'm looking out of the window of my Great Grandmother, Nan's, house in Gaspe. Crows wheel in the air, cawing. They also cluster on the ground, talking and squabbling while they hurry to grab the best bits of food. Nan would always keep a large, once white, bucket in the kitchen for table scraps. The evidence of thousands of meals was forever immortalized on that bucket in a variety of colors, mostly those of rotting food! Then, periodically, she'd toss the scraps out onto the wide expanse of mowed grass that stretched out from the side door. And I'd watch the crows. I've always loved crows!
It's been many years since I'm been to Gaspe now, but I still remember it as one of the most beautiful places on earth. It's right near where the great St. Laurent river meets the Atlantic ocean, and as it's too far North for it to be fashionable as anything but a tourist destination, it's not overly populated. Vast tracts of forest lie virtually untouched, except for where the ski slopes cut abruptly through the mountainsides, scarring a place that I wish I could have seen several hundred years ago... You can pick cranberries in the meadows, or buckets full of wild blueberries, sweet and sun warmed, right off the plants, clustered in the edges of the forest where grass turns to trees... You see both deer and moose tracks regularly, and the area is also home to a host of other wildlife.
By the seashore, you can play in the waves, as long as you're careful of the occasionally deadly undertows, and I've watched seals playing in the water a mere few dozen feet from the shore. As you walk along certain beaches, on one side is the water, and on the other side, cliffs, crumbling slowly and surely down onto the beach, old Summer houses sitting precariously close to the ever retreating edge. I've sat in an unoccupied life guards chair, and looked out onto a glittery, ever moving expanse of water that stretches on forever... I've walked the beach at night, when the cool white/gray/blue light of the moon stretches out from the shore to a perfectly full disk, a pathway to the moon...
Some places you go, you can watch the whales lifting themselves out of the water for a perfect photographic moment, or, more likely, simply see the flash of fin, and feel a thrill of excitement at getting even a glimpse of one of the most amazing creatures on earth... In the harsh rocks near the waters edge, you can go searching for fossils, imprints of old sea life on broken rocks, creatures that have been dead for millions of years, and trace their spiral shells with your fingertips, cool and hard to the touch...
I love that place so much, even though I haven't been there since I was 11, and I haven't been there for more than two days since I was 10! Nan, my Great Grandmother, is still alive, and turning 99 (I can hardly believe it!) next month. However, she's not really up to taking care of herself anymore, and lives with her son, although he brings her back to Gaspe every single Summer... The house where they stay, the house I remember so well, is right next to the very same house that my Nan grew up in, almost a century ago, a house that was built by her father in the late 1800's. In the old cemetery, now hidden behind someones house and almost inaccessible, you can find the names of my family carved in stone, or so I've been told. So much of my ancestral history lives on there, and so, so many memories from my childhood... So much beauty and life, far away from the city lights, and far enough north that you can watch the northern lights flicker, ethereal and unearthly, across the night sky... I have to go back there. Soon. Because I miss it...
Friday, July 17, 2009
Unschooling, Worldschooling, Child Led Learning, Delight Driven Learning, Life Learning… Many names, yet one desire to live in freedom, loving, learning, and living each day to the fullest! That is the joy of Unschooling.
I'm an 18 year old longtime Unschooler, and it was always hard for my family when my sister (16) and I were younger, since pretty much everyone we knew was very school-at-home, and thought we were crazy to be Unschooling! So I want to create something that wasn't there for my family when I was young, but would have made things so much easier for us! What I want to do is bring together a supportive, caring group of Unschooling families, families who are seriously considering Unschooling, and those passionate about Unschooling, who can validate each others choices, share experiences, and just enjoy each others company!
If this sounds as great to you as it does to me (or even if it just interests you) please check out this Yahoo! Group for a bit more information on the support group, and if you're interested in being part of this, please join!
Still have questions? Feel free to contact me at UnschoolingMontreal@gmail.com
I hope to see you at our first meeting! :-)
I greatly appreciate support from people all over the place, and would love to hear your ideas, suggestions, etc. for the group, but I'd like to keep the Yahoo group as simply an extension of a physical group that actually meets in real life, so please only join the Yahoo group if you're in the Montreal area!
I'm so excited about this!! *Dances around excitedly*
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
I hope you enjoy!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Whatever Happened to Mother? Is an absolutely WONDERFUL story of the vanished mothers of old. Not wonderful as good, since it's incredibly sad, but wonderfully written. I love how it's literally written as a story. There are actually multiple 'Chapters', but since they seem to repeat a lot of the same material, I'll only link to the first one I read.
Look on the Bright Side is an article on the good things, environmentally speaking, that are happening right now, as well as a call to action.
Atrocious Advice From "Supernanny" The title says it all. It's horrifying to me that people actually watch this crap, and even think that's it's the "right" way to parent! That bothers me on such a deep level, and makes me incredibly sad.
The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Rocks The Boat: Life Learning as the Ultimate Feminist Act Again, the title says it all.
UPDATE:Forget Shorter Showers is the newest Derrick Jensen article from Orion magazine.
But I know that's not the way to find epiphanies.
Instead, my epiphany might smell like woodsmoke, or sweat, or Autumn. Maybe it'll sound like rain on a tin roof, or crickets chirping, or laughter. Perhaps it'll look like fresh turned earth, rich and brown, or spray paint on a wall, or the flash of a raccoon's eyes at night, bright, inquisitive, and utterly wild.
I don't know when I'll find it.
I guess I'll have to wait and see. But I know I can't wait passively. As much as I try and avoid knowing so, evade the question, delude myself, I *know* that if I want to figure life out, I need to stretch myself, to grow, to reach out. To walk new paths and meet new people.
And the thought of doing so scares me shitless. So I make excuses that are half true, procrastinate, and wait for bright shiny epiphanies to fall in my lap.
If I believed in God, as such, I'd pray for strength. As it is, I know that I have the strength, I just need to do it. To let go. Of so much piled up fear, and uncertainty, and self doubt, and a million other emotions.
I can do it. I know I can. Actually doing anything, on the other hand, is considerably harder.
God, the Divine, the Universe, the Great Mother, and anyone else who's listening, give me strength.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
If you want to check out the whole YouTube channel, here it is!
Monday, July 6, 2009
When I first started this blog, it was going to be a chronicle of my unschooling life, showing, daily, how I was learning as an unschooler. This was as much to prove to myself that I was actually learning as it was to show anyone else what unschooling looked like! No one, except for my mom, even read it. And it was started at a time in my life when I was really uncertain. That Winter and Spring before the beginning of this blog was really tough for me. I was frequently depressed, and in the Spring I lost a very close friendship that had meant a lot to me. Added onto that was the fact my father felt I wasn't learning anything at all (my mother was pretty sure I was learning, but was plagued nonetheless by doubts and worries, as is everyone at times), and I really wasn't so sure I was learning, either. I mean, unschooling is pretty "out there". Learning in freedom, learning what you want and need, when you want and need it, learning through life. For some reason, most people find the idea unthinkable. So I was very unsure, very insecure, but determined to prove to myself, and the world, that unschooling can, and does, work in practice, and that I really wasn't going to fail at life if I didn't go to school.
Of course, seeing as unschooling really is learning, and as I read the Teenage Liberation Handbook, mentioning that frequently in my early blog posts, I started to relax about unschooling a bit, and start realizing that by scrutinizing each day for whatever learning was gleaned from it, I was kind of missing the point. So the posts stopped coming every single day, and started focusing less on the details of each day, and more on my thoughts and feelings.
Also, in my earlier writings, I was just starting to research and learn about anarcho-primitivism. It was a fascinating journey for me, learning, thinking, discovering. I had always been semi-interested in, but disgusted by, politics, and no political party ever really felt right to me. But as I learned about anarcho-rimitivism, as I read a ton online, and a bit later read a ton by Derrick Jensen, it all just felt right to me. Scary, as it was the most radical philosophy I'd ever discovered, but right on a fundamental level. Like deep down, I'd already known and believed all of it, I'd just needed someone to point it out to me, to point me in the right direction. And the rest is history. As I thought, discussed, and wrote on this blog, my opinions moved from strong interest and curiosity, to tentative agreement, to absolute agreement. I had found my own worldview, the educational philosophy I knew was right, and even the vague direction I wanted to take in my life. Through it all, I blogged. I worked things out in writing, expressed my thoughts, my insecurities, my opinions, my beliefs. And gradually, I also developed a readership.
At the start of my blog, no one really read it. But as I continued writing, a few people started following this blog, and as soon as I knew there were actually people reading it, I had a real incentive to keep writing! So I did, and as my opinions solidified and my writing grew stronger, more people started following, until now, there are nearly 50 people officially following this blog, with more, although I have no clue how many more, reading regularly, or following through a program that doesn't show up in my little followers box! And really, the value of all you people who visit my little corner of the internet can not be overrated. If, as I tentatively started to write about ever more radical and unknown opinions people had reacted negatively, I'm not sure I would have continued. But having the support of people online who actually agreed with what I had to say was wonderful! Knowing that, even if everyone I talked to in person, aside from my mom and sister, thought I was insane, at least there were people in other places who felt the same way I did, saw things from the same angle, or at the very least supported my right to hold those opinions. That made, and makes, such a difference to me.
This past year has been one of great growth and change for me, and this blog has been there every step of the way, reflecting what's been going on in my head and in my life. It still seems slightly strange to me that people actually want to read what I write, and that many unschooling parents are more likely to say to my mom "Oh, you're Idzie's mom!" than for things to be the other way around! :-P
I'm still growing and changing, as humans constantly do, and still feeling insecurities and worries. Everyone lately seems to be either very impressed with me, or very unimpressed (seeing as I'm neither in school nor working, and to many people those both assign value to a person). I'm not sure which I struggle with more! I feel my life isn't very impressive. I want to be able to tell people that I'm a member of a permaculture co-op that teaches people how to grow their own food, or that I'm working with a center that helps teenagers liberate themselves from school, or something similarly impressive. My life is a continuous process, and I want things to change in certain ways, but am not quite sure how to do so, and even more then that, I'm afraid to do so! But as I continue to change, this blog will continue to reflect those changes. It's therapy for me, and support at times, simply writing things down and then letting my words loose in the World Wide Web for all to read...
So to sum up this very long post, I simply want to say Happy Birthday, I'm Unschooled. Yes, I Can Write.! And thank you so much to everyone who has read, does read, or will soon start reading my blog. I'm sorry if I sound soppy in this post, but I really do mean everything I say! I love you guys, and you make all the difference to me! :-)
Friday, July 3, 2009
Earlier posts pertaining to this discussion, from newest to oldest, can be found:
I'll now link to the other response videos that I did not post before, and simply told you to check out Hunter's channel if you were interested. I'm linking to them now, instead of just posting the video's here, since I commented on them directly. I didn't address every point, since I found things were taking too much time, but I responded to the points I felt strongest about.
Response part 2
Response part 3
He then both sent me a message, and made a final response video:
The message he sent me (he reads in in the video, but I'll post it anyway):
I finally got around to reading this whole thing and I've reached a conclusion.
I will NEVER agree with you and I will NEVER sympathize with you. You believe in the structure of a society which I know in my very nature as being integral to the survival of the human race. Which I believe has elevated our level of conscious. Structure of one sort or another is in my opinion integral, I need to know more I need to do more and with society as a catalyst I do not believe that can occur.
Don't bother arguing with that, I was just stating my opinion as you stated yours.
So in our views of life and society I believe we are polar opposites, however I will say I believe we can find common ground under several fronts.
We both respect the nature of the individual and believe that there are many forms of learning and teaching as well as many differing ways of living life.
We both believe the world is one without absolutes the is no RIGHT and there is no WRONG, there is only grey.
We are both humans and we are both sharing in an experience we like to call life, while we may disagree to no end we are still human and as fellow members of a race I respect you.
Thank you so much for sharing your opinion with me and allowing me to, not understand (I don't think I ever will) your side of the argument, but to gain a level of respect toward the dedication and level of belief you harbor for it.
Sincerely, Your Fellow Human Being
The considerably less eloquent message that I sent in response:
Yeah, I hesitated before deciding to comment on your videos at all, but I have a hard time reading/seeing things I disagree with and NOT stating my opinion on the matter! I finally only picked the points that I felt strongest about, and addressed those.
I agree entirely that we will never agree. Just as you *know* in your being that this structure is "right", I *know* in my very being that this structure is the worst thing that could happen to our species and all life on earth, and is fundamentally "wrong" in every way. I don't really see room for agreement there on either side! Although, of course, we have found a bit of common ground on a few points, which I think is a good thing. :-)
I agree that there are many ways of learning.
Certainly. The world thinks too much in black and white... I've certainly been guilty of doing so, as I'm sure you have been as well, on occasion, but I try to remember that there are many shades of grey, and that even if something seems completely ethically wrong to me, by another person's ethics it probably isn't.
I do respect you. We managed to have a civil debate on something that we both feel very passionately about, which I think is quite an accomplishment! And even though, yes, I will never agree with your opinions, I think I understand them, at least to a certain extant. Thank you, as well, for sharing in this discussion!
I hope you found this whole exchange worth following!