Radical Unschooling Day 2
Last night was not quite as good. I was up half a dozen times or more. All of them reasonable though which shows that PanKwake is not stressed…just wants attention. Fine…that is my job.
But this morning I was woken for the final time at 6:30. To show me the sunrise from her top floor toy room. Mind you the top floor is torn apart for repairs and not usable right now (but breathe easy it is safe). I grumbled of course as I slowly climbed the steep stairs. My older body still stiff and a bit achy.
Then I saw it. Through her eyes. And I had to agree.
The view was worth it!
In that moment, I gloried once more in my special child. Her autistic brain that does not see the world quite the same. Her Pathological Demand Avoidance that meant she would not take ‘no’ for an answer, instead practically dragging me up the stairs to share this moment with her. And of course, home education and radical unschooling that have kept her relatively ‘unspoiled’.
I use those words lightly because I am currently reading Escape from Childhood by the founding father of the unschooling movement John Holt. It is challenging all that I know and believe about childhood.
Well, not all. Like me he believes in the RIGHTS of the child. Just that he believes those rights ought to extend to the bad as well as the good that life has to offer. While I am one of the do-gooders that he complains about…falsely trapping children into stereotypes like honesty, innocence and purity.
It is one of those times though that I think the true disagreement is more about terminology than the true gist of the beliefs. I am almost certain that he would fully approve of our unusual methods.
And I fully agree with his stance that childhood is something we should all hang onto.
In this #HomeCrazzyHome we do too. Though Cookie Monster and I may have more responsibilities…his to work and mine to homemaking, we both remain child-like as much as is possible.
And I am exceedingly proud that I have fostered that innocence in PanKwake too. That she will wake me just to share the beauty of a sunrise. That she laughs so easily. That she does her best to tell jokes….something challenging for those on the autistic spectrum.
Speaking of which…
Broken pencil who?
Never mind….it is pointless.
Then of course she will ask us to rate the joke on a scale of one to ten. And want to know if that one was better than the reigning one. Right now that one is Aph-meow…a take-off on her favorite YouTuber Aphmau and cats. I rated that highest not because it was funniest but because PanKwake thought of it herself. An original.
Talking about radical…what a radical difference this happy, out-going child is from the one that I de-registered from school five years ago. And from her friend with PDA who does attend school. That little girl has been bullied to the point that she has become a bully herself. She has no friends at school…only PanKwake. And she is so jaded…so worldly…so grown-up and weighed down with worries, cares and anxiety.
Joie de vivre!
That is what I am extolling here. What radical unschooling allows us to foster not just in PanKwake but in each other. And I hope in some small way others too. PanKwake’s friends who visit us. Ours. And perhaps through this blog can even give you a glimpse of.
The truth is that as bad as things out there can get (and trust me a quick glimpse at headlines or Facebook and you realize just how bad that is)…
Life does not have to suck….if you don’t let it.
If even as you grumble, you climb those steps with an open heart…and allow your eyes to truly see the wonders of a sunrise through PanKwake’s eyes.