28 February 2011

unschool monday :: passion


We've had a challenging week in the owlet nest. Big owlet returned to her usual activities. At drama, she is getting to know a new bunch of kids because her best drama buddy moved up into a different class. She has found herself in the midst of a group of kids who go to our local primary school. For the first time, she has noticed she is the odd one out. She's also been watching a large amount of shows on iView full of propaganda about how awesome school is - that time of year, preparing littlies for the big leap. Everyone is at school, except her. Oh and her friends, but MOST people go to school... When I reassured her that lots of people stayed at home too, she was surprised and a little relieved. Still, the seed had been planted. The drama kids described school as this awesome place and wouldn't listen when she described her kind of freedom. Their way is better. She asked if she could go too... Huz and I braced ourselves. We knew this day would come. Eventually. We didn't expect it this soon.

So here comes the perplexing bit. Aside from the fact that we've found this way of life that we LOVE and that actually works when it comes to the owlets learning, we are unschoolers and at the heart of that philosophy, we listen to our children. We follow their lead, say yes more than no. Would we have to let her go? Even though we knew it was wrong for her? There was much soul searching, reading, talking... a few tears. She couldn't tell us why she wanted to go. Couldn't state what was missing for her, but something was. On Sunday morning, we went out for coffee and Huz and I told big owlet where we were at with it all... I described different learning styles and how each of our owlets learns differently. That we are lucky that we are able to meet those learning styles and help them flourish. We told her how much we love and understand her emotional responses to life. Reminded her that not everyone respects her feelings that way. We told her that we didn't feel like school was a safe place for her right now. Not until she has a little more emotional resilience and understands that she is not the problem. She agreed. Huge sigh of relief...


So, to find the missing piece. Big owlet has watched Huz enjoy Kung Fu for over a year now. He loves it. She's been itching to join him. Last week she did and it's become her passion too. She's been nagging me to get back to my passions. She's missed me creating stuff - hey, haven't we all?!! So this morning when I asked her what she might like to do, what's missing, out poured a whole load of creative projects. Not so much things for me to do with her, but rather for her. She's wanting me to make her stuff. Connect with her. Nurture her with craft. I suspect she will then join in and take up some crafting of her own. I reckon she's over the baby gazing and thinks I should spend some time following my own passions. Leading the way. She's right.


One of the most vital things I've found when it comes to how unschooling works, for us anyhow, is that if we follow our own passions and share them, the owlets join in. Or they see us working on things, enjoying them, and work on their own passions in a similar way. It's not just unschooling that works in that way. You often hear that people who are exceptional at something had a parent who shared the passion, or were passionate and exceptional at something else... So I suppose the onus is on me to get back to doing what I love. Perhaps find something new to get excited about too and sprinkle some inspiration big owlet's way.

As for little owlet, well were safe there for a while. She's never spent much time away from the nest and school is nowhere near her radar. She laughed when I asked if she wanted to go to school too. "Of course not!!" She's finding her feet beautifully and developing passions of her own. Enjoying unschooling and the freedom and experiences it brings.


  1. Phew! Disaster averted for now. I'm really proud of how insightful & wise she is about following your passions & living authentically.

    A bit of mirroring happening here - made me smile when B made me some earrings the other night, crafting her own hooks out of wire & all :) Hmmmm.....I can feel a blog post coming on ;)

  2. Beautiful L! It's inspiring to listen to they way you offer direction for the owlets without pushing them in the direction you want them to head. I'm glad biggest owlet has processed the idea and come to her own conclusion about school. My oldest and I had another talk about school the other day and I reaffirmed that it is a choice for him and if he chooses to go or not is up to him. We all understand as adults we need to be able to make choices about our direction. I wish that more people understood this about children as well. Xx

  3. Such a great post Lauren. You only know what is best for your child, and its awesome that she gets that too. So true about being passionate about something too! Its just that addicitve good energy! Have to catch up soon x

  4. I love this post, Lauren. Love the respect you have for your kids, the way you honour them by listening, by making sure they feel heard, by discussing options with them, by being completely mindful and present with them, and by being inspired by them. It's beautiful. Always.

    Thank you so much for writing. Your words always resonate in me; they feel like a gift.

  5. Great post Lauren, a challenging time when helping children make their own pathways, and to understand others.
    I suspect challenges like this will continue to arise like so many other lifestyle choices like digital games V outdoors, loads of lollies rather then good diet, why homemade food is better then packaged. All part of the course in school or unschooled :)


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