the network for radical unschooling families
First off I want to say thank you to everyone who has been kind enough to help us get through our first couple of weeks of unschooling. This is a path that is so full of nice little surprises and has made a huge difference in our family.
I did something yesterday that I am ashamed I never did before. I took the kids to Mds play place. Now my kids have been there before but it was to "stressful" so I wouldn't go back. We have been 2 times this week. :) Yesterday was one of the best days I have had with the kids. They were able to run them selves silly and be as loud as they want. But it felt good to not stress about every loud screams or the running. (after all they may fall and get hurt, yes I have been that uptight about things) Any ways, Jon wanted to climb up the slide. Okay...well..."don't do that" is my normal response. But it dawned on me that first there was hardly anyone there, maybe 2 other families at the time and why couldn't he go up the slide as long as he was respectful to others and slide down if someone was at the top. So yes...I let him climb up the slide. But I don't think a mom there was to happy with my decision as I got dirty looks and she then yelled at her own child not to climb the slide. Took all I had not to say anything and I didn't. It felt so good to not worry and stress over them, so freeing. Also did something else I would never do..and I do mean never...I bought Ice cream cones...both days!!!! My kids have decided that I am the best mommy in the world :) I love seeing their eyes light up with joy and excitement when I handed them ice cream cones.
On to night tares. Has anyone dealt with these? Both Thomas and Emily had one last night. It is so hard to watch them go through this and not be able to help them. Poor Emily took a good 30 min. or so to calm down and even then she woke several times in the night crying. I hate to see her so upset and like I said not knowing how to help her through them. So if anyone has any suggestion that has been there that would be great.
Update on potty training, I let Emily have a pull up and much to my amazement she kept it dry the whole time and used the potty. So I guess she just needed to know that they were still there if she wanted them. She has not picked to wearing since that one time. She has decided (at least for now) that she wants her panties. :)
Update on food issues: I am still working through the food thing. I remember growing up with the clean plate, no dessert thing. I have even been spanked for "wasting" food. So going from that to being totally freeing about food has taken a tole on me. But i am proud to say that through baby steps any thing is possible. I have decided since Emily loves carrying a zip lock bag with food in it around I would take time today and put some snack stuff in baggies on a shelf in the pantry all for her (and her brothers) And also leave some in the fridge (she gets in there all the time looking for something to eat) for her. I still hold on to the family meal at the end of the day but..I don't expect her to eat. The other day she wanted to eat before her daddy got home. Normally I wouldn't even consider it but this time I fixed her and her brothers something to eat and let them start before their daddy got home. It made for a peaceful evening as they got to eat what and when they wanted and I got to fix hubby and I something we wanted. And we all ate in peace. And to my surprise everyone stayed at the table while hubby and I ate. Emily played with her play due and the boys just sat and talked to us. I love finding the little treasures that seem to be hidden about this wonderful path!
I am so blessed to have found radical unschooling and look forward to all the other changes and surprises we will encounter on our path.
-=-I still hold on to the family meal at the end of the day but..I don't expect her to eat.-=-
I don't think you should ever "let go of" family meals, just don't be arbitrary about times or starve kids in the afternoon so they will "have an appetite" for dinner. One family I knew (not homeschoolers) had "a RULE" (big one) about family dinner. Nothing whatsoever was grounds for an exception. It didn't bring the family close in the way the mom had hoped. It (predictably, from an unschooling point of view) prevented them from many learning opportunities, and eventually caused resentment and frustration.
If a child "has to" sit down with the family, she won't have the ability or freedom to CHOOSE to sit down with the family!
As to nightmares or night terrors, I would stay and sleep with a child who was afraid, or at least stay until she was solidly asleep again.
So true..thank you. I did not make her sit with us but did ask her if she would like to join us and play at the table, which she was all to happy to do. She is a big mommies girl.
I missed spelled night terrors, been a long night :) it seems to run in the family so I know part is genetics. I use to think I was stressing them out during the day or something. Some how I blamed myself for their night terrors. Emily sleeps with us so I just comfort as much as possible. Thomas is 9 and I comfort him then he goes back to bed. I hate seeing them go through this, it is so hard to watch! I feel so useless.
Thank you for your response.
Another quick food thing, if you don't mind. I am still struggling with it in a way. When you first went to no regulations on food did your kids go crazy eating everything that has been off limits? I have fixed little bags of food in the cabinet and Jon acts as if he is always starving and eating all the food. I feel this is my own doings as I have been so controlling up till now. Will this pass? Will he even out and not eat everything in the house? We are on a very tight budget so going to the store when we run out is not possible. The last store run I made I bought extra snack type stuff and just said they can eat them when they want but when they are gone they are gone till I get more money to go to the store. Is that okay? Emily is a huge chocolate fan and has massive fits if there is no chocolate in the house. This is very hard to deal with since our money is very tight and she has no way of understanding that I don't have the money to buy whatever, when ever.
For now we have baggies of chips, animal crackers and cereal. When I go to the store I want to add to that carrots, apples, celery and see how that goes. I want them to be able eat what they want when they want. I want them to be happy and content. If anyone has any suggestions on foods that can be cut or what have you and put in baggies that would be great. I want to make sure we have choices. They now have a shelve in the pantry and a door pocket of the fridge. So cold stuff is good too. Thank you for helping me figure this out. You all are an awesome group!
your account of a peaceful evening makes me smile! honoring your children in that way and not making them wait and seeing such a difference is eyeopening isn't it?
silas had night terrors when he was 2. at first i didn't know much about it and i would try to wake him up and comfort him, thinking it's a bad dream and he would be happy to wake up from it. and it would take hours to get him calmed down and back to sleep. i asked around and found out what it was and that trying to wake him was the worst thing to do. i learned to lay with him, stroke his head gently but not disturb him. and definitely not wake him. he would come out of it so much faster and just sleep normally again after about 10-20 minutes. it can be hard to just do nothing but it helps a lot. his only lasted a few months after that.
When you first went to no regulations on food did your kids go crazy eating everything that has been off limits?
When Ray returned from living with his bio mom he went through a long stint of eating all the things he had been forbidden in her house. I won't say he went crazy, but we also eased in, somewhat, saying yes to his requests and gradulally buying things and had learned not to ask for proactively, but not coming right out and saying "no rules". It's normal for people to go through a binging stage in response to limits being lifted. Think about how college students typically go through a period of doing wacky things, living on pizza and cheese puffs and staying up all night - its the same kind of thing.
Will he even out and not eat everything in the house?
I want to be clear about what you're asking - some kids have a higher metabolism than you'd imagine. As a child, Ray ate more than most adults. Do you mean they're eating the "fun stuff" and turning down the rest? That will even out once they're willing to trust that you're not going to "crack down" and re-impose limits. But if you've been regulating quantities of food in general, it may take longer for them to find their natural equilibrium - and "natural" could be more food than you realize.
It can help to make more dessert type foods and add things like nuts, nut meals and butters to the mix. It's important to offer kids lots of fat and protein rich foods. If you've been hoping for lots of fruits and vegetables, step away from that. With money being tight, it can be better to make other choices than fresh fruits and veggies, which run the risk of spoilage and amping up your stress. One hundred percent juice drinks are more costly, for sure, but they're a good way include more nutrition in your kids options. Frozen fruits are good, too - some can be eaten frozen, or added to smoothies or milk shakes, and you can bake with them, too or make your own compotes and sauces to pour over pancakes - or cake, or ice cream, or pudding for that matter.
For now we have baggies of chips, animal crackers and cereal
Cereal is often loaded up with vitamins and minerals - use that fact to reassure yourself. And you can look for better quality chips and animal crackers - although they cost more, for sure. You can also make your own chips, if you like - thin sliced and baked in the oven or cooked from fresh tortillas. Made fresh, they need less salt to taste good, which is a plus, but I warn you, home-made chips get eaten even faster!
Oh, if they like popcorn, that's something else to make that's easy and inexpensive - and you can buy powdered toppings like cheese powder if they like that sort of thing. For that matter, you can make your own carmel corn with real butter and some nuts thrown in for fun and feel better about them eating that.