Monday, April 11, 2016

Unschooling is Reclaiming Our Natural Way of Life

“Human beings are in a struggle to regain our humanity” Rigoberta Menchu

Homeschooling or life schooling is what our natural way of life was before the the colonizers came to this continent.  This was something that was brought up in the homeschooling panel we had and it resonated with me.  I sometimes forget what is means just to live and enjoy life.  The purpose of our life.  I become clouded with things that do not matter ego, success, money, social media, surviving in the city etc.  I sometimes neglect the things that matter and are real such as; love, family, friends, nature, etc. To live as we intended to live, a natural way of life.  Where I can imagine I would gather food, eat, play, make clothing, be creative, lounge and enjoy my surroundings.  Now I work in what seems to be a rat race to be “somebody”, pay our rent, buy food, or to buy crap I don’t even need but have an illusion it is needed.  In this rat race we begin to lose ourselves our humanity our natural ways of living and coexisting with other people, animals, nature, and the cosmic universe.. This got me thinking, how do we even begin to to gain our humanity, live a natural life in this unnatural society?

“The trouble with being in the rat race is that even if you win you’re still a rat.” Lily Tomlin

We as parents become caught up in this rat race even more because people judge us as “good” parents because our children have the latest toys, technological gadgets, or fashionable clothing.  One of our panelist brought up how having a television breeds into consumer society for our children and ourselves.  We know now that commercials are scientifically targeted to seep into our unconsciousness and tells us we are not enough as we are or we can only be happy if we buy this or that.  Our children become more vulnerable to this ongoing media brainwashing.

“The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work don’t buy it” Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Much of our culture and our economy are based on exploiting people’s sense of emptiness and inadequacies of not being enough as we are. We are good enough to teach our children and the most important thing we can do as parents is to build an emotional connection with our children, cover their basic needs, foster communication, and attachment and it will be much more than schools are able to do.  This in itself fosters curiosity and creativity, in which learning comes naturally.  Dr Gabor Mate points out a lot in his talks how as people we have two basic needs authenticity and attachment, when authenticity threatens attachment, attachment trumps authenticity.  We then begin to lose ourselves, and if we lose ourselves it become so much more difficult to live.  For me it took me too many years to realize the damage these institutions gave me.  I was forced to follow orders and be someone I was not in order to not get in trouble, or to fit in and be accepted.  I have used all my adult life attempting to figure out who I am and what I may offer the world.  By not placing my children in these institutions I hope they may be able to find the process of finding themselves easier.  As for myself I am trying to do what I love and make a living in my community without exploiting others, consume less and let go of more.

“The most important thing for everyone in gringolandia is to have ambition and become ‘somebody’ and frankly, I don’t have the least ambition to become anybody” Frida Kahlo

We also need to ask ourselves, what is being taught at schools?  Is it important or relevant to their lives? Or as a panelist pointed out, are they still teaching things such as the story of George Washington and the Cherry tree, then school does not have any real value or use.  In homeschooling we teach as we live many practical life skills and skills caregivers are practicing.  For my daughters this is growing food, cooking, herbal knowledge, art, midwifery, breastfeeding knowledge, music, etc.  For others it may carpentry, auto mechanics, massage, etc.  They do not waste time on the busy task of homework and are also able to fully explore their own talents and build on them.  This is what our homeschooled adult panelist did and it allowed her to become what she wanted at a much earlier age than most people.

“This is really what the whole debate over compulsory schooling is about.  Do we trust people’s capacity to be curious or not?” Astra Taylor

I live in the city where most people’s daily commutes take up a lot of time and energy because there are too many cars and too many distracted drivers stuck on their phones. Anxiety, stress, and road rage build up as they travel streets or highways almost killing themselves just to get to and from work.  There are also so many great events posted on facebook or instagram happening all over this great city that we cannot even rest on the weekends.  I often feel I have to be everywhere at once or I will miss out on something.  Many times the best thing we can do is just stay home and enjoy each others company. Sometimes it is best to stay put and leave a smaller carbon footprint. A solution was provided by our panelists; try your best to  live, work, and play close to home.  

“There is no place like Home.” The Wizard of Oz

Homeschooling especially unschooling is seen as “crazy” to many but we have to remember, we are not crazy, this society is crazy.  Our society is crazy and unnatural.  We live unnatural lives from womb to tomb, but we are in a process of reclaiming our humanity and our natural ways of life.  Birthing at home, breastfeeding, growing food, skillshares, bartering, sharing stories, unschooling, ceremony, dying at home etc all are a part of this ongoing process of returning to our natural ways of life.  This process will most likely take a lot of sacrifice, we have to be uncomfortable to create true change, and we have to do it now before it is too late.  We are already seeing the effects of colonization and capitalism to our mother earth and as humans this may be our last chance to keep humanity going.  I am a dreamer with too much love for my ancestors, daughters, community, and the universe to leave our faith in the hands of politicians and corporations.  So please let us keep talking, planning, and creating ways to regain our humanity and return balance to our universe.  Another world is possible.

“Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”  Cree Proverb