So, last night I was asked by a good friend to come and talk about unschooling at a Salt Lake Home Educators meeting. SLHE is open to all homeschoolers regardless of style,religion, race....you know the drill. Anyway, my first answer when she asked was no. I have never been to a meeting before and I pretty much new all the unschoolers in the community and I did not want to "put myself on the chopping block" so to speak. Turns out she wanted me to be on a panel of homeschooling styles. I thought about it for a while and reluctantly said yes. It was ok....but I realized (and I kind of knew this before I went but it was made very clear while there) that I was asked because in the majority of peoples eyes, I have unschooled my kids successfully because Aspen is in college. This has really had me thinking about success and how people view that term.
First of all, I do not unschool my kids they unschool themselves. We do not measure success by what you do, what you have etc. Are you happy? Are you doing the things that you are passionate about ? That is success to us. Aspen is doing the thing that makes her happy. That is not a reflection of what I did to her, it is a result of her choosing her own path in life and finding her own way to achieve the things that make her happy. College or not I would feel like the biggest failure to my children if they went through life drudging along to do what other people thought they should do. There are enough things in this world that you "have " to do. Why is there this expectation about school and college? Honestly, I grew up hearing "we moved here because the schools are so great" Needless to say, I had the worst education known to man. Such a terrible waste of my childhood! Now, I don't have a problem with schools on the most part, or people who send their kids to them. It is like my dear friend Elizabeth in Oregon said to me the other night, "they are just mediocre". There are kids in school doing amazing things that they love and they are doing great. That is true, and I have always said it isn't the school, it is about the family. However, I don't want to spend 180 days of my life, all day long sending my kids off to something mediocre just because most people say that is success. Now, being the unschooler that I am, if my kids wanted that then sure, if it makes you happy go for it, but in all honesty there are very few kids that find public school a source of happiness. Most go like myself, because there are no other options available and public school does a great job of making you feel like a failure if you choose otherwise.
It is just so interesting to me the opinion of success. The expectations that are based on that term. I see so many people treating their kids like they are little clones of themselves and if they don't follow the path that the parent feels they should follow then they have failed. That is so sad to me.
I have 4 amazing kids, not 4 little me's or 4 little David's......
I have Aspen, away at college at 17, studying creative writing, working at Subway (where she has been employee of the month 2 months in a row ;) ), collecting her dolls, writing her stories, drawing her amazing drawings.....What this kid has accomplished on her own in Oregon amazes me.
Joshua (15)who is always dreaming, designing, planning, plotting, the next big video game. The kid that loves everyone, always eager to help out, who comes into my bedroom everynight to give me one of his amazing "Josh hugs" and say "I love you mommy" Then goes into his room at 11pm to break out the bass guitar and amp and practice :)
Mara (13) whom I swear has this ability to cram more things into a day than anyone else I know. I am constantly amazed by this kids determination to learn something new. She writes the most beautiful music and blows me away with her guitar and piano playing....like she has been doing it all her life when in reality she started guitar 2 months ago. Her drawings, her theatrics (while exhausting at times are so entertaining!) her dance, her strength...
Willow who at 5 is the oldest soul I have ever known. I told David that the minute she was born. I could see it in her eyes, she has been here before. She has the most amazing ideas about life. I love hearing her views on things. She is never afraid to tell me how she feels....while at times this is exhausting, I would not want anything less. Her determination, her passion for learning is amazing. I love watching her figure it out.
How lucky am I that I get to be with these amazing people every day.
So if you are concerned that my kids are not going to grow up and meet your expectations, well, then too bad. My kids are happy and free and doing the things that they love, ...that is their success.