Autumn is slowly coming into itself here while most of the country is welcoming the chill and stillness of Winter. Days are only reaching high 60′s and early mornings are met with blue orange glow of fire in white stone fireplace. We spend these days deep in exploration and learning. It seems fitting to me that as we really find freedom and settle into who we have been becoming, we are in the season of freedom, of shedding away of the old and preparing for the renewal of life.
I finally can say we are unschoolers. I say it with no hesitation, no doubts, no mumbling of terms. A long time coming, I have only been able to truly claim it in the past couple of months. As last of oak leaves hang on to ancient branches outside my picture windows, I hung on to expectations and fears that my head could not let go of. I wanted freedom, but… I wanted peace, but… I wanted my children to know that life was learning and learning was life and to love and embrace it, but…
Coming from a Charlotte Mason and Waldorf homeschooling background, I placed importance on certain things that I just couldn’t seem to let go of. I told myself and my children that we could unschool as long as the kids read from great literature daily and as long as we only had natural wooden toys, Waldorf dolls and stayed media free. Oh, and of course we needed to spend time outside, observing the natural world, daily. Needed to at least do a bit of copywork or drawing in main lesson books. And then of course, what were the Waldorf developmental stages again? Were the kids learning too much too soon? Maybe they should only study what the Waldorf curriculum decreed for their ages. Circling round and round again, from freedom to fear, from unschooling to curriculum, and dragging my children along in the chaos.
Knowing my children were capable, I deeply questioned what my hang ups were. Seeking advice from seasoned unschoolers and friends, spending time deep in prayer, study and journaling, I found my answer. I was afraid of the unknown, of the mystery, of not having a part in everything. I could see so clearly how my entire life I had been desperate to know the answer, to have a label, to be able to fit everything into a neat little box. Even in matters of faith, I accepted answers, didn’t question, just needed everything to make sense. Charlotte Mason and Waldorf were easy because I knew what to expect, I knew what would be read, studied, mastered and the results that would come. They promoted the things that I loved and that I wanted my children to love as well.