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.