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Our furniture doesn’t fit.

I was watching some mindless TV during a stint of insomnia the other night – it happened to be one of those relocation programmes, where people from Britain move to France or Spain and the like (the ones who are ex-pats, not immigrants).

On their third or fourth house, the woman in this particular couple looked around the room and said, “I don’t know, I don’t know about this space, our furniture doesn’t fit with this space” and the presenter of the show said something a bit direct. She said, that’s the kind of thing someone says when they’re trying to find an excuse not to like the place. Furniture is easily fixed; sell your old stuff, buy some new stuff. If you don’t like the place, that’s fine, but don’t blame your furniture.

I’m in a lot of on-line groups related to home education and unschooling. Frequently the questions asked on the discussion boards go like this: my partner isn’t 100% on board with unschooling, his (mainly it’s his) main concern is {insert furniture issue here}.

A couple of points about this:

  1. it is not my job to convince my husband that unschooling is the way to go. If he has reservations, he needs to research and think about and construct reasoning to back up his concerns and offer solutions for what could be a middle of the road. I am not going to be the Person Who Finds Ways To Refute His Every Wobble. This way is madness, and puts the responsibility for the unschooling on one parent’s shoulders, absolves the furniture-issue parent of any responsibility. Through nothing but passivity.
  2. Unschooling for us is a lot about preserving the mental health of our kids, and ourselves. In the most general sense possible, that’s what it is. It is our opinion that school would be detrimental to the complete realisation of who they are (which comes under their general health, usually filed under mental health). Providing this is true, there aren’t many furniture-related reservations that top this. Providing this is true, we sell our old furniture (or move on from old friendships that don’t support our decision to support our children’s mental health) and buy new furniture (find new friends who do).
  3. I am not 100% patient 100% of the time. I do not sing gaily as I go about my chores all the time. I swear, and sometimes at my kids. They swear too. The excuse “I don’t have the patience to homeschool” is a furniture issue. It relates to that whole “I must be the best person I can be in front of my kids so that I am a model citizen” way of thinking about motherhood. In contrast to this, I highly value authenticity. If I’m having a shit day, I ask my kids for a higher level of co-operation to help me through. Sometimes they get it. Sometimes they don’t. A bit like my husband.

In short, there’s no furniture issue more important that realising our full potential. If school will help your children reach their full potential, then that’s great. At some point in their future, school might help my children reach theirs, or me mine. At the moment it doesn’t, and there isn’t any furniture in the world that’s a valid excuse not to honour that.

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