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Posts tagged ‘raising a revolution’

Every Day Unschooling

I have been thinking lately about how to breathe some life back into this blog, and I think I might have found a way.

Breastfeeding an infant provides ample opportunity for reflection, and I’ve been reflecting on how much unschooling is integral to our lives – about how every day we do things little and large to make the world a better place. And I think I might use this blog as a way of talking about those little things (for a while, anyway.)

Like, today we buried nga whenua of little Alfie and of Joss. Joss’s has been in the freezer for nearly six years – I was so determined that this was not going to be the case for Alfie’s that I forbade Ron from putting it in the freezer. A woman having just given birth is allowed to forbid things. Besides, turns out I was right: having a small plastic container of placenta in the fridge provides high levels of motivation to dig a hole in the back yard and deal with it.

We got Joss’s out of the freezer a couple of days ago, and this morning she asked if she could have a look at it. I’m going to be honest and admit that plunging my hand into that cold, dark, bloody mess so that we could look at it had me swallowing a couple of times and taking some deep breaths. But I did it. The midwife had shown her Alfie’s on Monday night after the birth, so I’m guessing she wanted to see how similar or different hers was. She was quickly satisfied, and I was gladly relieved of my medical examiner duties.

I insisted that everyone was dressed for the occasion. We get to insist things too, us postpartum women. I thought about putting on some mascara, but Alfie woke up and needed feeding. We each made our way outside carrying something to bury with nga whenua.

I said a few words. Louis placed Alfie’s whenua in the ground, and Joss slopped hers in from about shoulder height. We placed our extra things in with them, and then the big kids and Ron took turns filling in the hole while I stood in the sunshine (still) breastfeeding Alfie.

Joss found a tile in the garden that a friend had given me when we left the Netherlands, 13 years ago. We hosed it down and scrubbed it up, and Joss carried it to the now-filled-in-hole. I could hear her saying a few words as she placed the stone, but couldn’t make out what they were. She was full of the light-hearted, celebratory occasion that it was.

The section of the garden where we planted them today is where we planted Louis’ placenta when we first moved here. It feels so wonderfully complete to have honoured nga whenua of our three children and returned them to nourish te whenua that nourishes their souls – their own back yard.

This is how we raised a revolution today.


Raising a Revolution

I feel really strongly that raising children outside of the conventional education system is one of the most politically active things I’ve ever done. The only thing that comes close is lobbying to get the drinking age lowered to 18 when I was a Youth Councillor. Priorities.

It’s my firm belief that in order to change the world we live in, we have to change the way we live in it. For some, this takes the form of zero waste, for others, veganism, for me it’s raising free-spirited children who aren’t cowed by the system. That’s my truth. It might not be yours, in the same way that veganism isn’t my truth but I respect that it might be yours. See, we can all be friends.

A lot of people get completely wigged out by our unschooling.

  1. “But, what do you DO all day?” Whatever we want.
  2. “How do they learn?” The same way they learned to walk and talk.
  3. “Will they go to high school?” I don’t know. They don’t have to. They don’t have to not to.
  4. “What about socialisation?” Oh, I just can’t even. But. We have lots of friends who don’t go to school and if we feel like it we can hang out with them. And I can get socialised.
  5. Pause.
  6. “What time do you get up in the morning?” Whenever the fuck we want!!!

And for people starting out questioning whether or not to send their kids to school, there are a lot of questions:

  1. All of 1-6 above, plus:
  2. How do you get time for yourself?
  3. How do you support your child’s interests?
  4. How do I make sure they’re learning to read and write, while supporting their interests?
  5. How do I know whether they’re learning?
  6. Will they have friends?
  7. How do I know if I’m doing it right?
  8. Who are your inspirations?
  9. What books can I read?
  10. But, My kid will want to play Minecraft ALL DAY, that’s not ok, right?

This blog, together with our You Tube Channel, is aimed at answering those questions, starting with our first video Our Week Plan

We’re about to embark on a 3 month holiday around the North Island of New Zealand. Follow us here, on Facebook, and on You Tube to learn more about what unschooling looks like in the day to day, and maybe whether you’re up for Raising a Revolution with us.

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