This Kind of Freedom

-Guest Blog Post by Amy Leney-

Please join me in welcoming Amy Leney as our next guest blog writer:

This way of being… for me it is facing life face-on.  There’s no more hiding behind arbitrary rules and routines. So, every day is raw in both its joy and its challenges.   It is living fully rather than reading about, thinking about, discussing, writing about, and considering others who have lived or are living.  We are involved. In it all. 

Every day we get our hands dirty in the mathematics, physics, history, relationships, craft, creation, movement, and philosophy.  This true involvement means we rarely learn about things, from an outsider’s perspective.  We experience things from within and if someone would fancy calling the outcome anything like learning then, so be it – we’re just having the times of our lives. 

Welcome to the LivePlayLearn guest blog post series. This series aims to share with you a diverse selection of families who are traversing the paths of life and learning with an unschooling mindset. The aim is to showcase how unschooling principles can be effectively implemented across the broad spectrum of lifestyles and yield a life of peace, joy, and learning. As well as this, participants will be sharing with you the stumbling blocks that have been overcome along they way, and the glorious variety of interests and activities that children access when they are living a life without school. I hope that it brings peace and encouragement to you.

And how did we get here? What made us choose unschooling? Well, I don’t think we really did choose unschooling but we made a lot of little choices (OK, some of them felt pretty huge) towards freedom, joy and peace and where we arrived probably looks more like unschooling than anything else.  The label itself though, doesn’t feel necessary.  There no longer feels the need to fit our big, wild family into any category – especially something as far reaching in life as this way of being seems to have reached. 

I can say that I have travelled a pathway from fearful control towards life and release, firstly for myself and then stretching out to those around me.  On this pathway I have changed through and through.  Some of these changes have been the result of deep inner healing and others have gently unfolded as ripple effects of realising something more beautiful for our family and, perhaps, for the world. 

Though these philosophical conversations around unschooling can be interesting and convincing, for many, to head in the same direction, really, for those having never encountered such freedom before, its often more helpful to speak of practicalities.  What does life look like for us? How does it really work in daily life?  And it’s there that I still find bumps and potholes – especially in community with those who haven’t taken the inner journey of change.  

It can be tricky to explain to those in the fast lane how life can be so slow. So very. Very. Slow. Slower than even my rollercoaster heart sometimes prefers.  But this slow has become the only way for us to ‘be’ as a family without being reactionary to the ups and downs.   Responsive, yes, but not reactionary.  Our ways of being together seem to blossom and bloom over time.  They ‘come of age’ and then wane and fall away when the seasons change and it’s time to shed them.   We set intentions to make space for everyone in our large family – 5 children, 2 parents, lodgers and more as well as allowing room for others to join in with the fun – family, friends, neighbours…

Community is important to us and learning to know the space we need to make to define our family within the community is a long and steep learning curve.  Day-to-day we keep on doing what we love – to share these passions is not to invite comparison – passions are as varied in nature as we are ourselves, no two families could ever look the same – thank goodness. 

But in celebration of us I can tell you that, between us all right now, we are loving baking, computer games, woodcraft, music (oh, so much music), metal craft, textiles, maths-exploring, human anatomy, board games, reading, drawing, caring for animals, make-believe play, gardening… oh my, there are so many more…. but they are ALL hands-on love.  The kind of love that easily tips into frustration at times.  Those loves that sometimes get so intense you can’t think of anything else.  The loves you can get lost in.  And those that sometimes lose their spark for a time while something else catches our eye.  Always prioritising joy, rest, peace, conversation, and respect – for ALL of us – what joy!!

It’s messy! And loud.  But I’ve come to realise that real life is messy and can be very loud.  Learning that all rules are made up and that we can make up our own if we want means that our family has its own, unique flavour, and I hope, here I’ve been able to give you a little taste of what it’s like in our home. 

With love and release, from Amy Leney. 

I am really grateful to those who freely share their stories and contribute to providing a fuller picture of unschooling in action.

If you feel able, or willing, to share your journey, as a way of encouraging and cheering others along theirs, please complete and submit your own guest blog post here

Published by heiditsteel

Teacher turned Unschooler: passionate about autonomous education and supporting our children's natural inclination towards learning through play.

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