fireflies & freedom: the lives of unschooled kids
I love that my daughter can catch fireflies barefoot in our yard.
No worries about tests or grades, no cares about what day it is, no needing to rush thru an exploratory afternoon-turned-evening to get ready for school tomorrow..
My children are learning organically, realistically, without arbitrary force or pressures in their worlds.
Instead of memorizing math facts and war dates, they're learning the rhythms of nature.
They are increasingly able to notice the turning of the seasons, the blooming of the spring flowers turning to seed, the timing of the fireflies' moments of dance.
Their keen eyes know how to pick out dewberries from the bramble and weeds, and they know precisely which ones are ripened to perfection.
They go barefoot because they feel how important it is to ground, to tune into the vastness of mother earth.
They also know what ant piles look like, and they're gaining confidence in which plants have stickers, and how to tread with care to avoid sharp things.
They're learning a level of environmental awareness that was never available to me as a kid--because it wasn't valued.
That type of knowledge wasn't measured "on grade level".
It wasn't "on the test."
When I was the age my youngest child is now, I lived in a house with a yard that had dewberries growing in the bracken at the very edge of the fenceline.
I remember going out there, never once barefoot, usually with my mother close by.
I wanted so badly to eat those berries, but my mother said they were dirty, and that it wasn't safe to eat anything that didn't come from a store.
I thought I would die if I ate one of those berries.
Not because I wholly believed my mother, but because I feared what would happen if I ate one and she found out.
My heart, my intuition, was screaming at me to eat them!
I never did, though--not even once, even though we lived in that house until I was 11.
I was already too obedient, too schooled, even by the policing of my own inner narrative.
This is just one of a million reasons my kids are unschooled.
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