unschooling when you're not okay: depression, grief, family upheaval
Today I'm sharing my thoughts on continuing to unschool when you're not okay - through depression, grief, and other emotional upheaval.
I started writing this nearly ten years ago, reflecting on a time 5+ years before that...when I was deeply apathetic and miserable, and not yet aware that I was experiencing psychological abuse from those closest to me.
I started unschooling when my kids were 4 and 1 - and I was 22.
I didn’t learn about attachment parenting and never even considered unschooling until I had my second child.
I have to wholeheartedly agree with parenting expert and unschooling mom Laurie A Couture, when she says that unschooling is a natural extension of attachment parenting.
Unschooling is more than a parenting style, it’s simply the natural way of relating to human children, from birth onward, into what most people call the “school years”.
However, a good education arguably needs to go beyond just survival. When I was struggling with depression, grief, and other challenges...were my kids thriving back then?
Well, they were fed and safe, and their most basic needs were met, but we weren’t really living a rich, full life together. I wasn't capable of following their interests much, because I just didn't have the bandwidth, the finances, the stability...
In my zeal to unschool, I’d somehow lost sight of mySelf along the way, and neglected my own needs--or more appropriately, pretended I didn't have any.
In hindsight, I believe I ended up doing a disservice to my kids by modeling that I, their parent, was expendable and not worthy of care.
I didn’t fully integrate that lesson for a long time.
I learned that being true to myself is in the best interest of my kids as well. If I am honest with myself, whatever I need is very likely to also benefit my children - either directly, or as a result of me having my own needs met and therefore able to show up for them more fully.
As a mother and as an unschooler, I think many people get hung up on thinking unschooling is supposed to be an extension of helicopter parenting, where the kids’ preferences overshadow the adults’ needs - and this isn’t true.
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