What word describes this phrase – Providing opportunities for our children to have open and full minds – . I hesitate to write about this subject because I don’t know how to put a word to it. I don’t want to use homeschooling. We don’t only learn here at home. Our children have attended school. Sometimes one class a week, sometimes once a day, some have attended all four years of high school and some have gone to college. Some have done apprenticeships. I don’t want to use the word unschooling because sometimes I do insist on a subject being learned, like math. I do insist on music being practiced as well because I am paying for the lessons. Maybe there is a word out there that describes how we do things but I have not found it yet.
What I do know is that we have provided the opportunity for our children to grow, learn, love, and succeed in their own ways. I can’t say that we always made the right choices or did the right things. My children are all pretty happy, quite intelligent, community minded, strong willed, and wonderful human beings.
All our children are all so different, but alike as well. They do not always get along, I should say we all do not always get along but there is lots of love.
We are not a wealthy family. We have never been wealthy and I am relatively sure we never will be. At times we have not been above the line of poverty. We never felt poor though. We always had enough to eat, a roof over our heads. We always found a way to allow our children to follow their path. My husband has always been the one to bring in most of the money. We made the decision very early on that the best way to save money and take care of our children in the best way was to have me ‘stay home’. I have multiple streams of income. Sewing, cleaning, taking care of elderly people, even selling eggs are some of the ways I make money. I also trade eggs and produce for other types of produce that I don’t have the room to grow. I work with my kids in tow, on weekends when my husband is home and here at the house. I do not put in many hours for pay but it is a help. It allows for the lessons and the ‘fun’ things we do.
We all have a love for learning whether it be reading, gardening, music, sewing, cooking, politics, art, science, philosophy, or building. It is fun to watch how the learning evolves. To creating a newsletter and sending them out to friends and family, to reading and studying Nietzsche. To picking up the guitar and learning scales to recording music. Learning to make spoons to building a Yurt. To playing imagination games about a story you have read to learning to shoot a bow and arrow. To drawing people to creating a map of a town. To learning to sew to making a quilt. It is all amazing.
We tend to learn together. Directly or indirectly everyone seems to be involved in everyone else’s projects. We talk a lot in this house. There are lots of discussions. Lots of conversations. Lots of arguing. Again, lots of love.
I wish I would have written down all the things that I myself have learned along the way or learned from my children. I feel like I have been ‘homeschooled’ right along with them.
It is quite an experience mothering, guiding, watching them learn, and loving them so much along the way. I am in awe of them all. Of course there has been sadness, frustration, and confusion, but there is happiness, peace, and content as well. No matter what age you are you still learn. No matter how old you are there are things you haven’t done. We teach our children without even trying and they also teach us. We all are creating open and full minds.