When we started out with our unschooling journey, we felt a little like knights in shining armor freeing ourselves from our own self-imposed shackles. Hence the name of the blog.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Allergies and the road to unschooling...

There have been many times when i've recounted the tale of how i came upon unschooling. And sometimes people who have children with allergies ask questions about how we treated Raghu's allergies. So here is an excerpt of an email to some one on this topic and a few more paras on how it connects to choosing unschooling:

I recommend finding a Naturopath near you and see if you like the Doc and the diagnosis/suggestions. My son, then 3 years old, instantly responded to MSM, Esterol, Magnesium, Quercetin, B12 and some dietary changes. His season-induced allergies magically vanished within 3 weeks... only we had to continue the doses for the entire time we were in the US. But still better than using a pump, medication etc.

So diet wise... we switched to raw milk and raw cheeses when possible (we were in NJ and had access to this). Also i started to listen to my child. Sounds simplistic. However.... Raghu had stopped eating most fruit (which he used to love) and started eating more of Methi (fenugreek leaves), Spinach, Kale, Grapes, Apple-skins, and some other things that the Naturopath immeditately said meant that his body was searching for 'Quercetin'. Sadly till i met this Doc i had forced/coerced/cajoled Raghu to eat what "I" thought his body needed. Once I began following his cues... his health, his over all diet, his ability to ask for foods he liked/wanted/craved improved dramatically.

Giving my child the freedom to choose meant he could connect with his body and really eat only what he wanted and in the amounts he wanted. His health has been amazing since.

He asks for candy/so-called-junk-foods... but he also is the kind of kid to ask for broccoli and kale on a day to day basis. He eats brown rice, chicken, no fruit, lots of greens, many cheeses including fresh mozzarella, olives, stir-fry veggies etc. I mean his diet is rich and varied and yet... he is in charge. I simply make lots of options available. So he may eat sugary, choco cereal with cold milk in the morning and a packet of chips... but then i make chips in the oven...and he loves those too... and then for lunch he asks for soup like today... with grains, pasta, veggies and sausages thrown in. All per his choice and his body. With me simply providing options, making things easily available and helping him find things he wants.

This Naturopath Doctor led me to understand how important it was for my son to stay home... allow his body to relax and adjust to the allergies... not battle emotionally etc with school and seperation from me. Raghu preferred me to hover outside the door of the little, loving montessori he was in. He wanted ony to work on the practical stuff like water, cooking etc. He hated being asked to change and go to the playground or sit for circle time. And i was pretty much spending my days outside the classroom door.

The Doc asked me if i knew about homeschooling... adn the journey began. I started to read and as seems to be the case always when you get passionate about something.... homeschoolers just happened to be all around. We started going to park-dates with our local group and loved the freedom. Many of them were eclectic or traditional homeschoolers. No unschoolers as far as i recall. However Raghu's food choices that i had struggled with and my apparent idiocy in forcing foods that his body did not need.... was the real killer. That memory pushed me further. When i first came accross Unschooling as a form of homeschooling.... i was hooked. I'd read and read and yet i could not implement it. I was still hooked on controlling TV and some food choices and would insist on fresh air everyday... like run outside and play with other children.

Anyway... soon i could see the futility of force/coercion and the beauty of living in freedom. Unschooling unfolded slowly in our lives. The past year has been a joyful recovery/journey. So allergies to radical unschooling.... that was our path.

2 comments:

Bethany said...

How wonderful! I don't recall how I came across your blog. Perhaps through one of the eGroups. I'm so happy your son's allergies are getting better. Thanks for sharing.

Hema A Bharadwaj said...

Hello Bethany, thanks for reading here. I read about your journey a bit at your blog and am thrilled to see how much thought you are putting into your choice of adoption and free-learning/unschooling etc. I shall direct my sister (pregnant with first and very into unschooling) to your site. I'm a more muddled case as i did not start out unschooling my kids... but she has a better start and chance as do you. Best of luck to you and your partner, Hema