So I thought I'd list our experiences and how one led to another:
- Early on when Raghu was about 2.5, we enrolled him in a lovely little Montessori school for 3 hours a day. Raghu told us he only liked being there on Fridays (the day they made Challah-bread)...
- Then we transitioned into a Waldorf-esque lifestyle at home with little TV, tons of food restrictions (however lovingly imposed...they were impositions),
- We then got busy with the adoption of Zoya (Raghu is our biological child) and watched the love that only siblings can share. Meanwhile I had to read up on more unschooling practices as Raghu kept pushing the limits our homeschooling had set. And he kept learning things that weren't on the curriculum for an almost 4 year old. Esp not on a Waldorf curriculum.
- We then moved to Singapore and found out slowly by the end of our 9 month stay there that Radical Unschooling was a big scary place... ""where our dreams might come true."" Where everything in the world was food to be played with (still can't bear to watch my kids play with food though... working on this), where work and play were one, where everything was freedom-oriented and hence resulting in laughter, joy and complete respect for one another... surprise, surprise! This was still a RU theory stage though.
- Then we moved to India and settling here brought its own peculiar issues. Everything kept falling into place with Law of Attraction type precision.... i found a lovely Radical Unschooling Mentor, a homeschooling group formed which helps me out in many ways (Me and mentor are the only RU'ing families in the city). Kids are grooving like never before. Dh and I are not worried at all about schoolish learning... but still working on deschooling other habits.
- Battery driven toys, wooden trucks, TV, DVD, mud, straw and glue, composting, playing with screws and bolts.... you get the picture. Everything is connected and everything leads to learning. Even when Raghu is immersed in Lego all day long sometimes.... being given the freedom to explore this to its fullest means that when his body aches from being bent over and in concentration mode for too long... he simply stretches, goes for a walk, does some swinging from the beams, chases his little sister around and then just goes back to his hunched over Lego position. In the meanwhile as i observe this intense Lego phase he comes up with number combinations, simple equations, playfully creates war like scenarios with his Lego characters, talks to his imaginary pals, tells me about his latest creations and shows so much play-versatility that we are astounded.
- Today we were at the typical mall (I can't stand them but find them the best places to shop in Pune as they have clean bathrooms available... imp as Z needs to pee every 30 minutes or so!!) to get jeans for the kids. The kids spent 30 minutes staring at the transparent sided elevator.... we talked, observed and absorbed the mechanism of the elevator. Pulleys, levers, weights, cords, emergency lights, pistons.... what fun. I can see this coming thru in his lego creations soon. Like the space ship he made for E.T. after watching E.T, the movie. Also at the mall... Raghu spent his Diwali gift money (from his Nainamma) and had fun weighing the options between one hot wheels set and another. I just can't take it any more... there is just too much learning going on in our lives!! And we don't even go to school!
My choices of food, holisitc type stuff, love for all things wooden, vegetarianism, need for cleanliness and neatness, etc. might never be those of my children... nor those of my dh. Why would we force our personal choices on them? There are enough choices that our young children are not a party to.... like where we work, where we live because of work, how much money we choose to make etc. So we'd rather not force them to finish the milk in their cup... but rather see if we can add it to the kids-yogurt-making ;-) Or add it to the kadipatta plant in our garden after the milk sours... so it grows well.
My inner drive to reach for more... more freedom, more happiness, more peace, more everything... has even me reeling sometimes. Often, Ravi comes home and asks if he needs to read up on anything before he says hello to the kids ;-) But I think the path is now set for us...