Join our family of rabid unschoolers (frothing at the mouth) as we quit our day jobs, skip the country, and live, love and learn in the "real world"! Mom, Dad, two teens and a toddler traverse Thailand.

Friday, March 25, 2011

I love teens!!

I am tired of hearing people complain about teens.  Just yesterday I heard it again--”Thankfully only one of mine is a teen...How do you do it with two?”


Do people not remember what it was like to be a teen?  Do you have partial amnesia when it comes to remembering that YOU, adult now, wanted to do things, wanted to be things, that your parents or teachers DIDN’T?  Did you forget how passionately you felt about things, how alive you felt, how every day was filled with wonder and excitement?  And don’t you remember how people, OLDER people, teachers and parents and the media, poo-pooed your feelings, told you you had no idea what life was really about?

They were wrong.

When you were excited and passionate about life, that was the rightest time there was for you!  Get back there again!  Embrace your inner teen!

When you were willing to rebel against to status quo to be who you really were, that’s where you need to be again!  Don’t look to mom or church or society to tell you who you are--YOU KNOW!  Be her!

And then, when you are happy and glowing in your own, well-adjusted, self-assured teen-ti-tude, look at your own teens.

They are awesome, aren’t they.  I mean, REALLY AWESOME!

They’re excited about so many things, and so deeply!  They’re funny and tell dirty jokes and LAUGH....join them!  They want to keep odd hours and hang out with friends and listen to music and eat too much or not enough (perfect for them!)--help them do that!  Sure, sometimes they don’t  look at the “big picture”, sure sometimes they just live “in the moment”....


Sometimes they do something until it’s not fun, and then they stop.....


Sometimes they act like being happy is the most important thing....


Find your joy--and please, go hug your teen.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Live in Freedom, Live in Love

My kids live in freedom.  They learn what, and when, and how they want.  I don’t decide what “needs” to be learned, now, by a certain age, or by adulthood.  I respect my children’s autonomy the same way I respect my husband’s, or that or my friends.  My children don’t have bedtimes, or limits on television or video games, and they can eat whatever they want, whenever they want, in whatever amounts they want.  My teenagers don’t have curfews. I don’t know how to spell it out any more plainly--I am not in control of my children.  

This is one aspect of radical unschooling--complete freedom, both over one’s education AND over one’s own body and life choices.  But that can look awfully cold, if that is the only side of unschooling you see.  Freedom?  You mean you just abandon your kids?

So, on the flip side, my children also live in love.  Their passions and interests are supported wholly and enthusiastically by myself, my husband, and their father. I find articles, and classes, and books and programs and trips that I think would interest them, and I joyfully give them the information, without any expectations on my part as to whether it will be used.  They are accepted for who they are at any moment in their lives, exactly as they are.  My kids sleep with us until they are ready to move on, nurse as long as they wish to, and are able to choose the foods they want at every meal.  I help my kids when they need help, and they, in turn, help me when they see I need help.  I enjoy sharing books, or movies, or games, or tv shows with my kids--watching, discussing, imagining alternate scenarios--even into their adulthoods.  We laugh and cuddle and chat and discuss....I listen and handhold and support and love.

I do not control my children.  I love my children.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Why Thailand?
Start with a daughter who loves Asia.  Lauren (18) has studied Japanese for a few years, and last summer headed off for three week to Japan.  She came home even more delighted with Asia, and more anxious to explore it. Add a friend who has been to Thailand.  My friend TC has been to Thailand a couple of times, and is closely affiliated with a group called Power of One, that organizes trips for teens from around the world to Thailand, for volunteer projects.  We went over for dinner with TC and Myn, and by the time we left Lauren was excited to head to Thailand after Christmas, 2010.  Mix briskly with a jealous mama pining away at home.  Lauren is not a caller.  She goes away to a foreign country, and she ENJOYS that country.  She doesn’t think about home.  So mama sat at home....and read a travel book about Thailand.....and checked it out on the internet....and plotted her daughter’s course through the country....and found a link to teaching English in Thailand....and read it...
I should back-track a bit here.  Paul and I had been talking about quitting our day jobs and taking off for a few months before this. We are an unschooling family of 5--Lauren, 18, Otto, 13, Miranda, 2 1/2, and mom and dad. Paul works as an IT guy, and I’ve been a coffee roaster with my own company for the past 7 years...but lately we felt we'd been spending too much time working, and not enough time hanging out as a family.  Sooooo....when we started reading about teaching English in Thailand, and looking at pictures of warm, white beaches, and imagining swimming and caving and shopping and eating and boating and exploring....well, it seemed like a no-brainer that THAILAND is where we would go, to have an adventure together as a family. 

Stay tuned for further adventures from the rabid unschoolers!