Sunday, October 4, 2015

Celebrating him

The moment I had been waiting for since deciding to unschool X came late last night as he climbed into his bed. "Mom I need to be doing more of that work in those books. Its important for me to be learning." I silently cheered on the inside for a moment while I let what he said sink in. "Of course," I replied, "there are some new workbooks in your desk. I can help you dig into them tomorrow?" He agreed.
Oh the relief and celebration that occurred in that moment. After struggling and fighting with him to get his work done last year, I decided to not do it anymore. His education, how he learns, how much effort he wants to put into it is really his choice after all. I had been reading about unschooling but coming from an academic background I wasn't sure it was right for him. Soon after I met a mother at our homeschooling playgroup who had a daughter who had been fighting her with schoolwork and had chose to let her daughter make her own choice about the work she does. She explained all consequences to her about what it would look like for her to not know or learn how to do certain things. After 6 months of no school work, she suddenly asked to do some math and it grew from there. She said it was the best decision she had made for her, their relationship and the whole family.
I was nervous and unsure but what we were doing at that point wasn't working. We had to do something different. There were only 3 more months left in the school year, followed by summer, so I decided I would stop "schooling" him for that time and make a more permanent decision for him afterwards in the fall.
So no school work for 6 and half months. It seemed like I may have made the wrong choice but something kept telling me to wait, be patient. Frustrated with the little he was doing, worrying I was making him lazy, I started researching local schools as I was even considering puting him back in traditional school. My soul was screaming no. I could feel it wasn't aligned with our values. I asked for more clarity. I prayed that his helping spirits would assist us with this next step and I trusted we would be perfectly guided.
When he uttered those simple and yet most important words, I knew it was the answer we had been waiting for. He's taking charge of his education. He's ready. He wants to learn because he genuinely missed the process when it wasn't being forced upon him.  The no pressure space allowed him to see he really loves learning. The space allowed us both to re evaluate what is most important, our relationship.
Learning now gets to become more enjoyable for him. Something he seeks out, engages fully with because he wants to and isn't resistant to. I'm sure there will be ebbs and flows of this throughout his life but I'm so excited for him. To feel free to move in the world according to his own needs, wants, and desires and not those of a controlled system. To be able to grow and be in his own unique way without anyone making him do it their way.
I believe that is the permission I granted him in giving him this freedom to choose for himself. By following his lead and trying to really understand him, I've allowed the strength of his character to shine through authentically. He's an incredible spirit with a determination to be his best self. I don't have to demand that from him. I only have to provide him with wise guidance and enough space to stay connected to it. He proved to me that he's capable of this, all at the age of 9. I'm a very proud mama.