Its been a long time since my last post-a lot of living of life instead of writing about it. In between moving across state I’ve been busy defining and re-defining areas of my life. In my last post I talked about coming up with a new label since that of Radical Unschooler was in too big a disagreement with those who are considered or who follow the gurus of the label. In that time I found this article, at The Living Free Project, very befitting of some of the reasons I’ve, for the most part, abandoned the label.
Instead of just attaching a dogma to my life I’ve been getting to the core of my beliefs and writing my own rules for living. All rules are malleable depending on situation and personalities involved. Over the next few posts I’ll be sharing MY rules and core beliefs. When convenient for me I’ll find studies or other articles that fit in with my subject. For the most part, however, this is how we live based on us living it and finding what works for us. Its in no way intended to be a blue print for you whoever you are. These aren’t one size fits all rules that produce a perfectly harmonious household. Rather its a guide for me to create connection with my kids and people in general. As I continue to question, as my children grow, as I evolve, the rules will probably change. While I remain open to different ideas, I also remain steadfast in beliefs I’ve given a lot of thought (for instance, no hitting, ever).
To start off, here’s my list of
CORE BELIEFS-which may change slightly and be added to over time:
*Everyone is equal and has the right to be respected.
*Rules need to be continuously questioned and formed as they pertain to the situation, personalities, and developmental stages involved.
*Each person has a right to earn and own possessions/property and use it however they wish as long as it doesn’t cause harm to others.
*Shared spaces and possessions need rules drafted and agreed upon by the majority.
*Everyone has the right to their own body and what they do with it and how its should be treated. There are few exceptions to this-which will be explored in depth later.
*Each person is responsible for their own Happiness…Happiness comes from within and can be felt in any situation. Happiness is a matter of perception. Feelings happen, but you can choose what to do with those feelings and how to react.
*People are not born evil and do not need to be trained to be good. However, children are sponges and will absorb the behaviour and beliefs which are continuously presented to them.
*In order to teach Kindness I must BE KIND. dot dot dot begets dot dot dot
In later posts I will write about the rules for living I’ve come up with based on those core beliefs.
One of the reasons I wrote out my beliefs and rules and choose to share them here is as a reminder to myself. It can be difficult, under stress, tiredness, or the heat of the moment to live up to my own ideal. Keeping it fresh in my mind helps me to remember who I want to be and know I can be. I also wrote it as a guidebook I can share if I should entrust the care of my children to someone else-they are used to being parented with a certain amount of respect and I wouldn’t allow someone to care for them who isn’t willing to try to treat them that way.
I don’t intend to live this way in order to have perfectly behaved children. Many types of training can produce a well behaved child but I’m not setting out to Train my children as if they were pets. I desire connections with my children and other people. I intend to live this way to build respect and show my kids that I love them unconditionally. I’m not preparing my children to accept the bullying, the biases and isms, and the status quo. I’m setting out to raise my kids to know I love them and will support them in finding their happiness. I am helping my kids to develop deep roots but feel empowered to branch out on their own. I hope to share with my kids the skills to survive in a changing world. I intend to foster the drive to learn and be imaginative. This can get messy, it can seem hectic and chaotic to someone used to a schooled or authoritarian life. It is challenging at times but rewarding too.
Yes, in many ways we can still identify with Radical Unschoolers. Our education is going beyond the walls of a school and set curriculum. We follow our rhythms, pay attention to our passions, and honor our distinctive personalities and learning styles. We differ from them in ways that I won’t go into now. I feel its enough of a difference that I’ve had to put some distance between me and many of them and follow a path that comes more from within. In the following posts I’ll share more of that journey.