the network for radical unschooling families
Well, my oldest is 8 1/2 years old. And he has tried an enrichment program as of late for 4 days. Well, last Thursday he told me that he didn't want to go. The bell that rings hurts his ears and that PE is just too much for him. Then today when it was time to go he refused to put on his shoes and go and ran to his room and hid in his bed. I talked to him about this and he told me those same reasons. So, I called my best friend, also an unschooler and she told me to listen to my gut and one of the benefits of being a homeschooler is to be able to try things out, find where we fit, if they don't why waste the time being there. So, I talked to him about this and he said his gut is telling him that that isn't the right fit and his mind is going to regret this decision. So, I called the school and took him out. Now, my husband is of the mind that I am doing wrong by this. That I'm making him a quitter and that everytime he feels nervous for something he will quit. He is quite upset about this. In the past he has gone through 2 years of enrichment and 1 1/2 years of school. And because he quit school and now this, I'm a allowing him to become a quitter. In my eyes, I see that I am following his lead as my friend says to help him find where he needs to be. Why have him go somewhere that is making him uncomfortable. Anyway, sorry for the rant, but I am feeling pretty stressed about this. All I want to do is help him and not hurt him.
Keep in mind that your husband wants your son to be healthy and happy as much as you do - and chances are rather than having an unschooling friend to call for advice he has people he works with, most of whom have kids in school, reinforcing all the usual parenting stereotypes.
It is more than a little ironic that we can see shows and read articles about kids being massively over-commited, adults (especially women) who do too much, don't stand up for their own needs, and yet also get messages that kids need to be made to do things they dislike to keep them from being "quitters".
It is good that your son is learning to assess his own needs! It's good that he's learning that his boundaries are important and worthy of being respected. Does your husband feel that his boundaries and needs are respected? That's something to think about, and maybe find ways to talk about (gently!) with your dh. Maybe he needs a little more of the loving support he's seeing you extend to his son.
It could also help to talk with your husband about the idea of "standing up for ones self" and how that fits in with ideas of a "quitter". I bet he wants his boy to stand up for himself! That may be a bit of common ground to start from.
So, I called my best friend, also an unschooler and she told me to listen to my gut and one of the benefits of being a homeschooler is to be able to try things out, find where we fit, if they don't why waste the time being there. So, I talked to him about this and he said his gut is telling him that that isn't the right fit and his mind is going to regret this decision.
In the future, it would be better to hear what your son has to say the first time around. He told you up front what his issues were - good for him! Now its up to you to learn to take his words more seriously sooner. That's challenging when your partner is questioning your moves, for sure!
-=-That I'm making him a quitter and that everytime he feels nervous for something he will quit.-=-
If you keep putting him in programs and classes, you're not giving unschooling a chance to work its wonders in your family. For some reason, you keep quitting unschooling.
You said your friend is also an unschooler, but the post above doesn't look like unschooling.
Joyce Fetteroll's site has some excellent things along the lines you and your husband should look at. Don't press him to look at anything right now, but if you find something good in there, maybe read it to him.
There's something you could download onto the computer and put on a CD if that would help, of me and Dr. Richard Prystowsky, an unschooling father whose wife is a La Leche League Leader. Their children are grown now, as are mine, but a few years ago when we gave this presentation they weren't:
The links to download are at the bottom. It's free.
What that's talking about is learning to make thoughtful choices. Your family seems to be tangled up about choices. You're living (I think) in "have to" and what you can "make" someone else do, or be. They're very antagonistic ideas, and now you're telling us that your husband is quite upset.
Perhaps looking at Joyce's site and listening to that peaceful parenting talk will help you take small steps in the direction of bigger steps. But I think you should entirely avoid ANYthing like classes or enrichment programs for at least a year. Be with your child directly, gently, happily, as much as he would like for you to be, even if it seems like too much to you. And forget the 1/2 on 8 1/2. He's eight years old. He's just barely over seven, in human years. He's very young and should be treated gently and sweetly.
There's a chart there I hope you will consider. You might be in debt to your son, after all those days, weeks, months and years of school.
-=-It could also help to talk with your husband about the idea of "standing up for ones self" and how that fits in with ideas of a "quitter". I bet he wants his boy to stand up for himself! That may be a bit of common ground to start from.-=-
If you have a daughter, or if you can think back to your own teen years, think about whether you would have felt like a quitter if you had gone on a date and it was really not going well. What if you didn't feel safe? What if you felt the guy had motives that weren't in keeping with your own integrity or morals? If you asked to be taken home early, would you have been a quitter?
If the guy took you home, would he have been turning you into a quitter?
Would your mom or dad have said "You get back out there, Missy, and you FINISH THAT DATE!"
There are dangers in parents telling their children to obey adults, to do anything the babysitter tells them to do, to never tattle, or never to be a quitter.