I have to admit, I am very fortunate. I have an extended family that supports and encourages our family decisions. Well, maybe at times, my brothers think I am nuts but other than that I am extremely blessed.
First my mom. My mom is nothing short of awesome. She gets me, she gets us. She is completely supportive of our unschooling ways and is there for me whenever I need her. Thank you mom. I know that many families do not have this support. I feel for you. Doing things that are unconventional, things that are against the grain takes guts. It takes more guts if you do not have a great support system. Unfortunately, my mom lives far, far away. I miss her a lot. My sister, my friends and my husband are all great partners in this path as well.
Second, my father in law. Now this is a little shocker for me. Not only because he is ULTRA conservative but his son, my husband, is his only child. But he is awesome. His upbringing was the typical authoritative, children are to be seen and not heard brand of child rearing. Authority is to be respected and unquestioned and education is of utmost importance. So for him to be not only accepting but embracing of our “hippy”, nonconforming ways is a great relief and display of understanding. He had his own son in an ultra-strict catholic school as a child. Yes, nuns, rulers and all. So for him to support us in this lifestyle is amazing. He does ask questions, he does have concerns but he also listens. He sees the results. He sees the love and he sees the joy. He even googled unschooling, on his own, and watched the videos and came to the conclusion that this stuff is probably okay. But mainly, he is open and he is willing to learn. Even after 70 years.
Support and understanding is so helpful in this journey. It is possible to go against the grain on your own but it would be so, so, so much harder. I really just want to say thank you to those who are willing to take the ride with us. To take the road less traveled and to trust the journey and to trust the children. It is a scary adventure when you don’t follow the crowds. Out of an estimated 56 million school age children, about 1.5 million are homeschooled. Of that number, at least 100,000 are believed to be “unschooled”. That means that 2.6% of children in the US are homeschooled and only about 0.2% of children in the US are unschooled. That is not a lot. We also had our 3 babies at home and only 0.72% of babies are born at home in the US too, so I guess we start out against the grain. And we were supported in that decision as well.
We are VERY lucky and we realize that. I often hear stories of families who do not embrace this journey and who sabotage parents best intentions. They do it, mostly, out of love and concern and trying to remember that can be difficult. Some do it out of envy too. They see a life of less stress, more understanding, more fun and more joy. And they want that life but feel stuck and scared.
Taking the road less traveled is scary. It can be lonely and it can be risky. But it can also be amazing if you have the right people in your corner. So thank you to my support team. You know who you are and if I can help support you. I am more than happy to help.
Choose love. Choose joy.