So...one last mention and then I promise to give my treatise a rest.
A significant concern I had in my transformation over the past few months was wondering what Geoff's perspective would be on a movement towards unschooling. He had seen me struggling with h/schooling over the past year or two, but because he's not at home during the week days, he hasn't had any of the day-to-day experience of trying to teach where there's resistance or inability. He is a huge proponent of education and schooling - in fact, this is something that drew us together in the early days. We are both well educated and we both come from families where education is highly valued...in fact, Geoff grew up knowing that his parents emigrated to Canada in large part so their children could experience the advantages of being educated here. We've been steeped heavily in the world of academics and the importance of schooling and I'd already experienced his early resistance to the mere notion of homeschooling several years ago (he's on board now!)...and now I was going to throw him this curve ball??
The bottom line was that I was pretty anxious that my transformation in attitude towards h/schooling would not be in sync with his perspective. And I needed him to be on board with this change in direction, for at least a few reasons. First and foremost, Matthew, Seth, and Lizzie are also his children and he, too, wants the best for them. Being in accord is pretty vital for this reason alone. Second, I know full well that I will need his support and encouragement and listening ear in the months (and years?) ahead, particularly as I continue to think things through and brave the transition. I'm feeling pretty vulnerable and anxious these days. Third, people ask him about our kids' schooling, too, and I felt that he also needs to be comfortable with what we're doing in order to be able to talk comfortably with others about it.
The truth is that I avoided talking with Geoff about this stuff for some time...well after the ideas had begun to percolate. Finally, a couple of months ago, I braved the conversation - told him how our schooling hadn't been working and how I needed to make changes. I poured my heart out to him about being so worried that we were letting schooling take precedence over cultivating passions and a love of learning. I told him (and man, it was hard to push the words out of my mouth!) that I wanted to move towards unschooling and eschew more traditional means of schooling our kids at home.
I waited for the hammer to drop...the moment felt cringe-worthy to me. I couldn't even look at him as I waited for his response. I didn't even know if he knew what unschooling was.
Then the shock. Real shock. Geoff was rather excited!! Surprised, but more excited than anything. In fact, I've hardly seen him exhibit that much interest in my ideas for schooling at home. My mouth may have been hanging open. He immediately began to talk about how different his and my education and lives might have been had we been encouraged from an early age to pursue our passions rather than schooling and academic achievement as ends in themselves. He talked about the pressure he'd felt as a child and young adult knowing that his parents had moved to Canada for his (and his siblings') education, and how he had unrealized interests, and how he wished he'd been able to follow his passions when he was younger (I didn't have the heart to tell him that his passion about being a rock star could never have materialized given that he is unknowingly tone deaf), and how it had taken him so many years to discover the things he was/is passionate about and excellent at.
He was pumped about how exciting it might be for our kids to move in a different direction, one in which they might have far more ability to pursue interests and to find their passions and strengths.
He was way more of the same mind than I ever would have guessed...it still shocks me.
I am so thankful.
Together, we are now a ship attempting to change course...against the current. We're talking quite a lot about it, praying about it and wanting God's direction on it, and we're committed to a different approach this year.
And so, with all of this in mind, we're shaking things up around here with an approach to learning at home that, frankly, if you haven't figured it out by now, scares the bejeebers out of me.
H/schooling in general has produced anxiety in me along with deep feelings of inadequacy...but the direction we're headed in leaves me weak in the knees. It's exciting, but oh so daunting!
We are truly heading into a new kind of adventure, and one that I would never in a million years have imagined we would be experiencing!
This brings me, finally, to the end of my series on our transition to becoming an eclectic unschooling family, and to merely the beginning of the next chapter in our learning-at-home journey. I'll still likely refer to us simply as h/schoolers, rather than unschoolers, because no one knows what unschooling is! But you'll know what I mean.
In the days, weeks, and months ahead, you will surely be hearing much more about how things are going, what we are/aren't doing, what the hard parts and the exciting parts are, and how we're faring through the change.
I am looking forward to continuing to share the journey with you.
Thanks for listening and, for those who have left feedback and comments and questions and other thoughts in general, additional thanks to you for your support and encouragement!!