Sunday, September 17, 2006

Respectful parenting

When I was growing up I was treated poorly, I was treated like a second class citizen and that my opinions didn't matter, I was verbally abused and hit. This treatment came mostly from a stepparent in my early teen years, what a time to be treated like shit.

When I was 14 I moved in with my dad and it took a long time for trust to be built up on both sides. One thing that my dad did for me was listen to me, he respected my opinion even when he didn't agree. I am very thankful that he did that, he still does, he is a public school teacher and he has never said one thing against homeschooling.

When I became a parent I really wanted to do things differently, I did not want to repeat the mistakes of my parents. I mean we all make mistakes but when we know better we do better.
I believe that respect is one of the most important things in a family, it goes both ways. Children that are treated with respect will learn how to be respectful. Of course this has to come from me first, as they grow and learn it will become part of them. Modeling and discussing are such important parts of parenting.

We do not have any rules to be broken or privileges to be taken away, we all live together and boy there is a whole lot to learn from that :)

This is no easy task, I spend a lot of time diffusing conflicts between the kids. Something that I repeat often is *treat each other the way you want to be treated*

I want them to show respect and be respected, we have to learn how to get along and compromise and be flexible. It is also so important to think for yourself and form an opinion and problem solve, I want my kids to have these qualities.

Of course what I want really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things they have to want it for themselves.

I am hoping to model positive behaviors and qualities for them, of course I'm far from perfect, it seems they pick up on my negative qualities too

Radical...positive or negative?

In the past couple of years I have been referring to myself as a *radical unschooler* from my understanding this term was coined to show that there are *academic only unschoolers* and *whole life unschoolers*. I really don't know how you can trust in the philosophy of natural learning and then limit everything else your child does. I firmly believe in modeling and in living by principles. We don't separate learning from life, it is what it is, we live, we learn, unschooling makes perfect sense. I have pretty strong objections to compulsary schooling but that is another topic.

I have pretty much always been an attachment parent and an unschooler before I knew that the terms existed. Back in PA I had a friend who was a relaxed homeschooler and she always introduced me to other homeschoolers as a radical unschooler. I usually just smiled and didn't think much of it but I did tell her that I never thought of myself as a radical anything.

In my quest to find other unschoolers I do use the term radical unschooler because I have found that people will use the term unschooling very loosely. I also really don't care for labels much except in the case for furthering my quest or learning about a particular thing. I would really call what we do *living* but doesn't everyone live? So I guess when talking with homeschoolers or people in general I will use certain labels to help them understand the idea. Being on all of these yahoo lists I have seen the importance of certain terms and phrases. I guess that many of my parenting and schooling philosophy could be coined *radical* as in *radically different from the mainstream*
I am pretty much the opposite of mainstream schooling and parenting so if that is *radical* then so be it.

I am not a fanatic or an extremist and I believe that those are pretty negative terms but radical can be a positive thing. I don't go around telling strangers that we are radical unschoolers because they wouldn't have a clue as to what I'm talking about. On the interenet I do use the term and I believe it helps to see where I'm coming from.

I am always learning, changing and growing and it is for the better. I have such a long way to go in my parenting, I am my own worst critic and my expectations really are too high, but it keeps me moving forward.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Where to begin

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all the stuff you want to do that you don't know where to start?
We moved into this house in April and we are remodeling it, it's come a long way but there is so much left to do before it is done.

Jason is working hard at getting the house fixed and I have accomplished a lot of unpacking.
One problem is that we have too much stuff, we got rid of a ton before we left PA and I have been giving things to the goodwill lately. We had a basement in our old house so all the big toys and hockey table and foosball table and race tracks have no where to go here. No garage no basement, we do have an attic and have put stuff up there and we also still have things in storage.

We need to downsize some more and I just don't know where to begin, the kids don't want to get rid of any more toys. I also have storge issues and we are in need of shelves and places to put stuff.
I have a lot of the kids resources out but I also have a lot in boxes in my closet. I need ideas of how to store the stuff but have it accessable (that word doesn't look right)
We keep supplies in the hutch in the dining room, the cupboards are full of books ,paper, crayons, markers, scissors, glue, pens & pencils.

I am the type of person who hates clutter and I like to be able to put it away or at least hide it :)

So it's hard to keep things clean and put away when there is no where to put it. I did get the kids rooms organized pretty well with bins to put the toys in and shelves for the books. I know it's a process that takes time, moving was a huge thing for us and we were in limbo for about a year.

It's time to settle in a new state, in a new house, make new memories and learn as we go.

Finding time

I haven't figured out how to fit in time for this blog. I really want to do this but it's been 2 weeks since I wrote anything. I am new to writing down my thoughts and I realize that they will be read by people I don't know.

I started this so that I could write about my kids and our interests and ideas, I just need a push to actually get my thoughts typed out.

Right now Kieran, Brenny and Cassie are with my dh and some friends at a Nashville Sounds game. Jared is home with me because he is pretty wild so we are waiting until next year to take him to a game. He is watching Bob the Builder so I actually have a few moments on the computer.