I came back from the backpacking trip (which was amazing, by the way - more soon) and, after resting and doing tons of laundry, started getting caught up on the blogs I read regularly. And I found that several of my unschooling favorites were taking part in a "blog carnival," called "I'm That Mom." It was started on this blog, inspired by a post on this blog (neither of which I knew about before, but I may have to check them out - the titles alone are intriguing!). If you want to read some of the other "I'm That Mom" posts, look at the comments on the blogs above and start clicking on names. Anyway, here's my contribution...
I'm that Mom who always says yes to impromptu requests for sleepovers, unless there's something important on the calendar that would prevent it - even if it annoys the other Moms that I'm so quick to agree. At this age, my kids are all about being with friends, and I enjoy providing space for them to hang out and play. I work to help make things happen that they are excited about: going swimming, playing sports, buying a new video game, learning a new art.
I'm that Mom who trusts the process of her kids' education, of their lives and interests. Yes, I make suggestions, but I try not to push things on them that they aren't interested in. I trust that they are learning what they want to learn, not what I wish they would. I'm that Mom who encourages kids to be themselves, and to play and explore as much as they wish.
I'm that Mom who is gradually helping our family give up on arbitrary limits. Who am I to tell them when (or how long) to sleep, what to eat, or how much time to spend on one of their passions? I would much rather they discover those things on their own, with me here to advise them when they ask. Many of us in my generation have had to work hard to unlearn our ingrained desire to "be like everyone else," to conform and please others and get along. The reason I like unschooling (as a lifestyle, not just an academic choice) is because it encourages individuality and the gradual discovery of who we are. I am here as a companion and facilitator for my kids, not as their boss or taskmaster.
I'm that Mom who cringes a bit when others criticize or express doubts about her family's way of being, yet doesn't let that get in the way of following this unconventional path. I'm the Mom who purposefully lets go of the negative energies spawned by arguments or misunderstandings. I am learning to just be, in this moment, letting the joy of my life and my kids' lives unfold in ways that are eternally fascinating, whether they involve writing a paper, playing X-Box, or simply sitting in the yard and watching the clouds.