I just returned from Australia where I was the keynote speaker at the Australian Unschooling Conference. It was an amazing event with many families who attended last year’s event to share in the connection with other Unschoolers again. There was also many new families attending who were new to the concept of Radical Unschooling. I worked with families one on one between my speaking sessions late into the evenings of the conference. There was an ongoing theme among these families, and that was the idea of life without limits was a very fearful idea to them.
Most of these families still had rules, limits and boundaries surrounding bedtimes, foods and media. These were all fear-driven limits and almost all of these families came from a Waldorf education and parenting philosophy to Unschooling. Waldorf philosophy seems to be a pathway for many Unschoolers. It is often the first step in this direction of natural learning and freedom that so many are drawn to.
Although Waldorf is aesthetically beautiful with the promotion of natural toys and reconnecting with nature, much of the philosophy is very fear-based in it’s stance surrounding media, commercialism and control. Forced learning, no matter what the curriculum is still forced learning. Living in true freedom and respect of my children means that they are free to choose what to learn, when and how. An Unschooling parents’ role as a child’s learning facilitator is very different than the role of a teacher, no matter what philosophical ideals they are coming from. Waldorf is no different than a mainstream learning perspective in the premise of authority and feeling as though it knows what is best, promotes a curriculum and ideals that the child may or may not want to be part of.
I love certain aspects of Waldorf philosophy! We even have a business dedicated to making Waldorf-inspired toys where my husband makes everything by hand. I think you can take what works from other philosophies that your family loves, while respecting your child’s individual choices. Giving your child as big of a world as possible to choose from is an integral part of living the Unschooling life! Keeping your child in a box of your ideals is not.
Unschooling means you put your child’s needs and desires before all agenda – no matter how natural the approach, or how beautiful it seems on the outside. Unschooling is a joy-based philosophical perspective which is based is the philosophy of complete partnership with the child. The authoritarian paradigm is old-school and outdated. A leading-edge approach to parenting and learning is all about the child having true choice. Choice can include or encompass any philosophy, but it is that of the child with the parents full support of the individual child’s path.
Radical Unschooling is a healing path for so many. Shifting from fear to trust is a big step for many parents coming to this life. It can be scary to let go of dogma and propaganda against media and consumerism and commercialism and trust your child’s choices. It can feel like jumping off a cliff when you first begin. In taking that leap of trust and putting their child’s choices before agenda, parenting becomes joyful and they become connected with their child in a way that they never before experienced.
We are going back to Australia in 2012 for the third Unschooling event in Australia. Next year, we are calling the event “Shift”. It will be an incredible experience dedicated to helping parents shift their ideas about birth, parenting, Unschooling, health, success and abundance. Look for a Shift event near you or email me to bring Shift to your town! Jump off that cliff and feel the freedom, joy and connection that you so desperately want with your child. It takes some undoing to being to understand a new, respectful and loving perspective of honoring your children’s choices without judgement, but you can do it! It only takes a desire to shift to living in a partnership paradigm with those you love and embracing a new consciousness.