Monday, December 19, 2011

Mairi Sasaki, Neil, Cameron and Isobel

Here is a bit about us and how we came to unschooling:

Neil (38 in January) and I (Mairi - 37) have two children, Cameron (5 in January) and Isobel (2). We live in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

A combination of attachment parenting and who our son is eventually brought us to unschooling. Cameron constantly challenges us and requires us to stretch and improve as parents. If not for attachment parenting, we probably wouldn't see the situation, or our son this way. We would be busy now trying to fix him to fit in instead of realizing that Cameron is whole and unbroken, and we had better instead get busy trying to figure out how to meet his particular needs.

When he was 3, it hit me that school was not going to work for Cameron. I brought him to playgroups and he was agitated by too many other kids around him, consistently refused to participate in any structured activities like circle or snack time, and raged at any other adult who tried to correct him.

So if not school, then what? I joined our local homeschooling group and spent a year looking into the options. Unschooling seemed like the most likely fit for us, since I felt awkward and phoney trying to act like a teacher, and Cameron would clam up when anyone tried to create a teaching moment, like asking him "what's that letter?" while reading him a book.

When I dug deeper into unschooling information, I was thrilled. It felt like coming home, like I'd found something I'd been searching for for a long time. Here was a whole treasure trove of parenting wisdom and experience underpinned by a foundational belief in the validity of children's perspectives and feelings. Neil soon shared my excitement that in unschooling we'd found an amazing direction for our family.

We are still quite new to unschooling and have a lot to learn and to "get." We are grateful to have guidance from the resources that Sandra, Joyce and other experienced unschoolers generously offer as we try to grow into better parents for our individual children. We look forward to continuing our journey towards unschooling at the symposium and beyond.

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