Friday, September 28, 2007

Awesome Writing

I found this today while reading the yahoo list for the L&L conference. The author is a woman named Gillian, who I had the pleasure to meet this year at the conference. There was some discussion about what radical unschooling was and she had such an awesome response that I had to save it, with permission, for all eternity here on my blog. For your reading pleasure:

What is Radical Unschooling?

The term "unschooling" was conceived to describe the idea that given a supportive and interesting environment we can trust people to learn all they need to know, that if we don't mess with it, their innate sense of curiousity and wonder will settle for nothing less than exploring a constant stream of fascinating interests and passions, that learning is natural, that we can trust that being supported in following one's passions will lead people to a complete repertoire of skills and information, that we can trust each person to choose that repertoire for themselves, follow it with great enthusiasm, and so lead a full and learned life.

The term "radical unschooling" simply expands that idea beyond education to one's whole life: that we can trust people, all people not just adult people, to know what is right for them in their lives.

To me the term "radical unschooling" has nothing whatesoever to do with school and isn't really all that radical or in-your-face either. It is just living life in equal partnership with every member of my immediate family no matter what their size or age, free from mandated learning or mandated just about anything else. Within the sweet-yet-complex balance of the needs of all our family members, we trust each other to decide for ourselves when to sleep, when and what to eat, what to do with our day, what our passions are and how best to follow them. We trust that embracing those passions with our full hearts will lead us down amazing paths and fill us with all we might ever need to feel, know, do and be. We question and think and respect and choose our own paths, fully supported by one another, encouraged to be our best selves, our wholest beings. We don't bow to convention or do what we "should" or what we think others think we "should". We try to choose feeling good over the righteousness of being right, we try not to knee-jerk "wrong" when one of us wants to pursue something unconventional, we try to think outside the box and find ways to explore together believing that there is something worth learning down even the most unlikely of paths. We strive each day, each moment, to suck the maximum joy out of every second - we believe that joy is something we can fully achieve regardless of the outward circumstances in our lives, that we can "choose" to open ourselves to creative ways of being joyful despite, or perhaps because of, the specific conditions of today. We believe that when we live in harmony with ourselves we can find an infinite number of ways to live in harmony with all those we hold dear, and that our lives can forever hold peace, joy, freedom, and wonder.

The RU parents I know don't just love their kids, they love to be with their kids, and their kids love to be with them. These parents have held connection and relationship with their kids, and each other, above all else. Regardless of their kids' passions and unique personalities, these parents have opened themselves to the myriad ways there always are to connect with one another, they have followed those opportunities for connection no matter what, and they have built amazing life-long trusting relationships with their kids as a result. To us, "radical unschooling" or "whole life unschooling" has nothing to do with schooling at all, it is a way of life that centers on respect and trust and love, giving fully and trusting that small people raised in the embrace of people who give generously, serve with love, and give respect before expecting to receive it, will find the freedom and support to grow into adults who know their own needs and feelings, are able to meet them without hurting others, and who embody great generousity, expansive love, and respect for all souls.

I couldn't have said it better myself!! Thank you, Gillian!


AnneO said...

Beautiful. I just love Gillian.


kelli said...

I also just loved that post. What a blessing it was to me the day she posted it. Just wonderful :)