Sunday, February 27, 2011

Deschooling: breaking free and Reconnecting

We’ve spent the past few months deschooling, in other words breaking free from the external structure of the schooling system and reconnecting with our own internal rhythm of life.  And in even simpler terms, it means giving ourselves a break and not doing much at all, allowing ourselves to find our own flow again.  It’s been said that it takes about one month for every year at school for us to return to our own flow, so for us 3 years at school means 3 months of deschooling...give or take ;-)  On a deeper level it takes adults much longer to break free from the conditioning and limitations of being schooled for the majority of their childhood, and move into new ways of trusting in the natural evolution of life and learning without fixed plans.

During this time we’ve been living life as usual…which at our place means lots of crafts, reading, outings, visiting friends, cooking, playing and all the other things that make their way into our days.  Not to mention swimming, dollmaking, painting, singing, drumming and circus!  We went on a ‘Wild Weekend’ away to a wilderness retreat and spent a few days learning about different bird calls, went on early morning bird-watching walks and went spotting nocturnal animals on a late night forest walk.  We’ve been reading ‘The Ringing Cedars of Russia’ series of books about Anastasia who lives in the Siberian forest, who has been sharing with us some deeply profound wisdom and practical information about how to live in harmony with nature and inspiring us to make the most of this life we are blessed with on Earth.  And although we are meant to be ‘doing nothing’, the girls’ thirst for knowledge has naturally led us to doing some projects and learning about animals such as dinosaurs, dolphins, foxes and unicorns!  Luna has shown a fascination with ancient civilizations, so we’ve been researching that too.  At the moment she has a particular interest in Eskimos and Indigenous Australians.  We’ve explored the difference between textbook history and true history, and looked at the current state of the world and visioned the world we would like to create for our future.  We’ve made Shamanic Drums, connected with power animals and connect with the directions and the elements in our morning circle.

And the main thing?  We have been connecting more deeply and beautifully together than ever before.  We are learning to listen and share and cooperate together, knowing that we are creating our life fresh each day.  We have reclaimed our life from the external hustle and bustle of rushed mornings and bus times and exhausted, wasted evenings.  We are spending our money on the things that directly enrich our lives, rather than spending hundreds of dollars a month on school fees.  We’ve been swimming at the river, having midweek sleepovers with other homeschooled friends, and allowing ourselves to step into the life we’ve always dreamed of.  And as a parent, I am rediscovering the joy of learning through my children, so we're simultaneously studying, playing & creating side by side. The pressure is off.  We are free.

So, as you can see, we haven’t really been doing anything.  Much. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What is freeschooling?

Freeschooling is learning as a way of life.   

It's about transforming our whole approach to education and trusting that children are innately driven to learn and explore when given the freedom to do so. They don't need to be force-fed information, but ample opportunities to learn arise along life's path.  We don't follow a curriculum, and enjoy a variety of opportunities and activities in a fun way that inspires their learning journey, while following their lead.  We also feel that developing authentic relationships & communication skills, creativity, problem solving skills, reverence for nature, self awareness and intuition are key factors in living a quality life. Children's strengths, skills and passions naturally flourish from this strong foundation, when they are nurtured with unconditional love. We trust that our children will learn what they need in their own time.

Besides all those reasons, it feels right.  It feels right to connect with our children, to see their relationship flourish, to be with them and enjoy our life together.  And we no longer have to stress out in the mornings rushing out the door to fit into someone else's schedule.  We are creating a sacred, beautiful life that dreams are made of.  We start the day with our morning circle to become fully present, to honour the elements and connect with the above, the below and our hearts within.  Our days are filled with a mixture of fun, laughter, games, play, books, experiments, creativity, learning, art, craft, woodwork, circus tricks, making things, negotiating, gardening, bunnies, friends, talking, singing, food, outings, hugs, insights, activities, being home and quiet times...all the things that make up a beautiful life.  Not all on the same day of course! And this list is as ever expanding as we are... Before bed we have a closing circle to thank the Universe for this beautiful day.  It's only been a few weeks so far, and has been an incredible journey already! We've connected more deeply than ever before and the children are thriving, they are radiantly happy and glowing.  They are totally inspired each day, excited to see what the day will bring.  We all love it. Totally.

This blog is to serve a number of purposes.  First and foremost, it is a way for us to share our journey with you, to hopefully inspire you with ideas that will enrich your own family, and to also share our insights and tribulations as they arise in an honest and open way... It is also a way to connect with other people on a similar path and a way of keeping a record of our journey.  And above all else, my greatest wish is for people to have the courage to reclaim their life, step out of the 'system' and trust that we really can live the life of our dreams! 

Because we can.