I’m going to take a few moments to write in praise of the most inspirational unschooling blog I know. It’s called Nurtured By Love (there’s a link in my sidebar) and the writer is mum Miranda. This blog has been a wonderful unschooling resource on so many levels.
She provides numerous links in detailed posts of what her kids are up to in terms of projects and activities, leading me to resources I might not have been aware of or thought about before. It was this blog that inspired me to sign up with Zip.ca (in the US it’s Netflix) to get regular science and documentary type movies for myself and the kids. She has many links to math and science programs, good books, and all sorts of other things that would enrich any family’s learning environment.
In addition, her talented family is the “poster child” for unschooling. All four of her children are musically gifted (as Mum herself is) and in other academic persuits they perform well above average. Even little Fiona, at age 3, was experimenting with watercolour techniques that produced artwork I’d hang in my own living room. It can be hard sometimes not to feel woefully inadequate, and this is one “complaint” about the blog. But that was my issue, and I got over it pretty quickly because of all the benefits it provides.
But truly the greatest benefit of this blog is how you SEE homelearning in action, on a day by day, month by month, year by year basis. AND…she’s not part of the diaper and preschool set! I know that many of my homeschooling-wannabe mama friends stumble on this one part of the equation – feeling that, by making the commitment to homeschool, they are sentencing themselves to 15 more years of SAHM-hood. They only know the demanding, exhausting, emotionally draining (yet infinitely rewarding) aspects of raising very young children who are intensely needy of both our time and our energy. We crash into bed at night and wonder when we’ll ever find a life for ourselves again. But kids grow, and become more independent, and slowly we carve out a place for ourselves again. Homeschooling older kids is a totally different ballgame and here is where Miranda’s blog stands as a shining beacon of hope. It does get better, ladies!
I also like that I share the same parenting ideals as Miranda does. She does not punish her children, she gives them plenty of opportunity to practice responsibility, and her children are wonderful examples of the rewards of this type of parenting. There are too many posts to link to in this example, but read the blog for a while and you’ll see. On my bad mama days I turn to her blog for inspiration, and a reminder that I won’t be raising spoiled, indulgent, useless children by not enforcing every little behaviour that society tells us “good” children should exhibit.
I’m going to close this with a link to one post in particular that represents just how inspiring I find this blog to be. Here is the report of her son’s learning plan for the year to come (those of her other children are scattered before and after it). When I read these plans I feel so incredibly inspired and in awe of the power of giving children ownership of their education. Note in particular how Noah recognizes he needs help managing his computer time, and is coming up with solutions on how to do that. He doesn’t need his mother to stand over him with a stopwatch threatening to ground him or withdraw privileges (or simply take his computer away). Noah and his siblings have had a say in their lives from virtually the beginning and the value of that just shines through in this post. If only every parent could read this blog before making the decision to school their child! If only every parent knew that this was at least an *option*. I would never have to listen to the standard “what about math?” line of questioning ever again.