I’ll start with one of my favorite lines in a song, by way of The Indigo Girls:

The best thing you’ve ever done for me,
Is to help me take my life less seriously,
It’s only life after all…

My adventure into homeschooling, and then even further into unschooling, hasn’t been just about “learnin’ my kids”. In a bigger way, it’s been about me loosening up. Opening up. Getting outside my rigid operating system and really looking at my life. Getting back to the place where everything is fresh and new…and every day is an adventure. I guess spending 24/7 with kids will do that to you.

When we started homeschooling, it came at a stressful time wondering what the future held for a child who wasn’t succeeding at school. And the thought of taking on the schooling at home added even more stress. But that was nothing compared to what The Naturalist was feeling: Panic attacks. Nervous eye twitches. Stuttering. Bouts of crying before and after school. An actual diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. !!! She was 8, people!!!!!

As I sat with her after I pulled her out of school, I remembered how I had felt at her age. I think everyone, as a kid, thinks that being an adult will be SO COOL. You can make your own rules! Eat whatever you want! Play for as long as you want! Have more time for TV and sleepovers! The possiblities seemed endless.

But then I realized that here I was, an adult, and I wasn’t doing any of those things. Call it ‘responsibility’, or ‘growing up’…but the fact was, I had all the pressures of an adult but none of the fun I thought I would have. And, seeing that fun was something that my daughter desperately needed, that became my goal for both of us. For us to live a little. Explore, investigate, question, and not to sweat the small stuff.

The Naturalist was really good at this, and soon her school specific anxiety cleared up. In fact, ironically–at a time I had designated myself as the teacher, she ended up being the expert when it came to lightening up.

She helps all of us have fun, actually.

I found a website that has highlighted a nasty habit I have of getting even MORE stressed out when life is getting hectic around me. Adultitis. The reality is, that the times when I’m most aggravated/annoyed/frustrated/high strung/kid induced crazy, are the times when I probably am in the biggest need of a good laugh.

One Response

  1. What a great example you are! Not only to have the courage to try and find a better solution for your daughter amidst tons of uncertainty, but to be able to have the perspective to see the need for more fun in your lives and ACTUALLY ACT ON IT! How cool. Kids are the experts at a lot of things, if only more of us adults would take the time to notice.

    P.S. On the topic of taking yourself less seriously, Kim and I just did a podcast on that very topic. It might be of interest to you and your readers! Are You Taking Yourself Too Seriously?

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