Long Day’s Journey Into Sleep.

I can’t believe I’m using the title of a play written by one of the greatest American playwrites ever, but it’s been a long day, and now it’s night, and I’m too tired to come up with anything else. Sorry Eugene. Here, I’ll change ‘into night’ to ‘into sleep’ so you don’t haunt me for using your very autobiographical play for my own pithy blog.

Now that all the neighbor kids have started school, all the comments and questions from strangers about why my kids aren’t there are starting up again. I know all you people homeschooling and unschooling know what I’m talking about. I believe it’s called “Being Under the Microscope” and it makes me realize how powerful the status quo is in our society.

It might be me being tired and sensitive, or me being in the throes of PMS, or a combination of both; but I was doing fine until the ghost of Christmas Self Doubt came by today and made me wonder what the heck I’m doing with all this unschooling business. Not question if it was right for us or not…that’s an undisputed yes. But just whether I am being the best unschooling mom as possible for my kids. It’s at these moments that I love reading other blogs by other unschoolers to get a little glimpse into other families and a reality check that unschooling really comes down to my kids, not to me. “Trust them”, I hear the ghost of John Holt telling my ghost of Christmas Self doubt.

All I am saying in this book can be summed up in two words: Trust Children. Nothing could be more simple, or more difficult. Difficult because to trust children we must first learn to trust ourselves, and most of us were taught as children that we could not be trusted.
John Holt
How Children Learn (1967)

And that’s just it, isn’t it. I don’t trust myself. Not yet, anyways. I believe in myself…but trust is a place I haven’t gotten to. I came across a blog at Life Align tonight (because when one has 68768768 million things to do, what is more sensible than searching under ‘unschooling’ at technorati?) and she really hit the nail on the head.

Waiting to be told what to ‘learn’ left me feeling incapable of finding my own way, searching for external validation, rather than finding it within. Being graded, categorized, labeled and judged, in my opinion, is no way to prepare our youth to rise above judging, categorizing and labelling others.

But wait, it gets better!

Like my children, I don’t wait to be shown what to do. I do what feels right in my heart. I don’t look for happiness or validation from outside of myself. It resides and radiates from within. My life is my own, as are theirs, to direct and create on our own terms, and no one elses.

So what I’m realizing is that I’ve spent the past 9 months deschooling my kids, when really I need to deschool myself.

And so I leave the ghost of Christmas Self Doubt to battle it out with the ghost of John Holt while I drift into a (hopefully) restful night’s sleep while thinking of my favorite moments along this journey.