I should be folding laundry…

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but instead, I am sitting here, on my high horse. 

 The other day, I spent WAY too much time reading a blog I stumbled upon.  I read every post this woman had written for the last year.  And with every post I became more irritated. 

This blog was(as most of our blogs are) a recounting of this woman’s daily life.  Her adventures as mother, partner, Alaskan.  She and her partner have chosen to live off the grid in a remote area of Alaska.  Pretty cool, really, something I have entertained, even fantasised about at times.  I understand the appeal. 

She practices EC, or elimination communication, where a child grows up without diapers, where the parents learn to read the signals that a child is getting ready to urinate or defecate.  Great!  Wonderful, she is at home, full time, and lives in the woods.  Heck, I would do it too, laundry by hand is a real pain, and if you are off the grid…  Disposables are obviously not an option, even the chlorine free, degradable stuff isn’t truly environmentally friendly.  EC makes great sense for her lifestyle.  Go for it.

What got my back up was her insistence, in nearly every post written, was the reminder to the reader that she was a part of the homeschooling movement known as “unschoooling”. 

 Now hear me on this:  I respect the choice to home-school.  Many of my dearest friends home-school.  Admittedly, I don’t always understand their choice to keep their kids at home, and I know that some of these wonderful friends question my IQ and sanity with respect to my choice to ship my kids off to the public schools.  Especially since I live here in Madison, liberal capital of the heartland. Whatever, we are good friends and these differences don’t lessen our respect and affection.

Unschooling, for those of you not in the know, is in a nutshell this:  child directed learning, no set curriculum, study is based on what the child shows interest in.  (Keep in mind this is the very barest explanation, and does not cover the whole thing, but you get the idea…Un-school).

Even this would not have gotten me all hot, but the fact that this blogger kept repeating, repeating, repeating her unschooling stance, just got under my skin.  When it was stated that her kids, her unschooled kids, were ages 1 and 5…  I lost it!

 1 and 5?  Oh really, 1 and 5?  Unschooling kids who are 1 and 5?  huh, imagine that.  Unschooling at 1 and 5. 

 Well, when my kids were 1,2,3,4,5… I sometimes took them into the woods, and we looked at plants and we talked about them.  Once in a while, if they were interested, they would climb up on the counter while I baked cookies or bread, and guess what?  I would explain to them what I was doing, and they would help me fill up the measuring cups, dump in the chocolate chips. And when they would bring me a book that caught their fancy, are you ready for this?.. We would read it together.  I didn’t know enough to call what I did anything but being “just a mom”.

So I think that is what made me so mad.  This woman is doing, each and every day, what I have done, and what so many women do everyday.  But she couldn’t say she was “just a mom”.  I felt, as I read her posts and insistence on labeling her daily activities as unschooling, that she was ashamed of being “just a mom”.  As if giving the daily, the mundane, a new title and calling it a movement, makes it so much more than being “just a mom”.. More legitimate, more acceptable, more exciting.  More important. 

My kids don’t know that they were unschooled for the first few years of their lives, I probably won’t ever tell them.  I won’t tell them now, when they ask if they can help with dinner, and we study a recipe together, or when a question comes up about some event in history and we do some research to find the answer, that they continue to be unschooled.  I think I am going to just let them live in ignorance and when they are all grown up, I hope they remember:

I was just a mom.

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About Sandie

A little background: A mother of 3, two boys and a girl. Married young to a good man. No longer young, but he is still a good man. Grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis, lived several years in small town Alaska, spent a couple years in the city of Madison, currently residing not too far from down town Anchorage. Drink a crazy amount of coffee. Fiercely loyal to my friends. Truly rabid in my defense of family. Beyond thankful that my God loves me enough to allow me to doubt and question.

4 responses »

  1. Is it wrong for me to find this extreamly funny?!~
    So, your going to have to stop reading all the back post of new blogs you stumble upon! That or find a way to live without sleep.
    My mom – the whole blogging/world wide web thing is like quick sand for her. It’s like when she thinks of all the conversations/stories/lives she COULD be reading and participating with she starts to smoke at the ears and little “tilt” lights start popping on and off in her eyes. . .
    Good thing she doesn’t know how to work a computer.

  2. It IS funny! I have been so worked up about this. And yes, I know how your mom feels. I sometimes forget to blink while sitting here in front of the computer, then I can’t figure out why my eyes hurt, so I check out some medical website for “diseases that cause dry eyes”, find out I am going to lose my sight in the next 3 months and panic, until I remember to blink… I suppose that is fodder for another post.

  3. Dearest Sandie! Please don’t let this lady’s insecurity bother you. (I wonder what her mother-in-law says about this all. . .)

    That being said, you are WAY more than just a mom!!! You’re a chauffer, a shoe-tier, a chef (and a gourmet one at that!), a fixer of broken things and a drier of tears. A teacher big time, a kisser-betterer, a movie critic, a maid, a harp encourager, a home decorator, a grocery and clothing shopper. And even sometimes a launderer, although from the title of your post it sounds like you’re on a mini-vacation. 😉

    And if that’s not enough you’re an awesome friend and I miss you immensely. So here’s a remote hug!!

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