An Imperfect Unschooling Life

So, here’s the deal. I’ve been thinking of deleting this blog, or at least taking it offline. Why? Because, well, I’m not perfect. And neither is my family.

Bet you thought we were, huh? 🙂

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I mean, don’t all bloggers have this amazing, perfect, ideal life? I guess you could be forgiven for thinking they do, but in reality, what you read on anyone’s blog is only ever a fraction of that person’s life. For the most part, people write about the good stuff. The “successes”. It can be scary to put yourself out into the public eye, opening yourself up to possible judgment and scrutiny, so it can be tempting to whitewash things a little bit, or shy away from writing about the challenges. Most people don’t want to have their weaknesses or bad days recorded forever on the world wide web, especially those who write about their children.

Like other writers, I don’t want my children to feel embarrassed by me sharing stories of them having a hard time, or struggling with something. (For the record, I do ask them for permission if I write about them, and they are old enough to have a preference. When people write about their very young children, I do wonder if those children, when they are older, may regret being a “household name”, but I guess it depends what is written. I know for sure that when parents write derogatory, insulting things about their children online, it is completely inappropriate. I’m sure you know the kind of posts I’m talking about. Shooting a hole in your child’s laptop, anyone? Making them stand in the street holding an embarrassing sign? No, thank you! I respect my children way too much to write about that kind of thing publicly. Or to do it in the first place.)

Just when I was thinking, our family isn’t “perfect” enough to have an unschooling blog, I received a super encouraging message about my writing, that caused me to think that maybe there is a reason to write after all (apart from the fact that I enjoy it, of course!). Then I remembered back to a time when a homeschooling mum came up to me at an event and thanked me for writing about unschooling. At first when she said, “I read your blog post!”, I was a wee bit worried, thinking she was upset with me, because she is a strict school-at-home parent. She surprised me by sharing that she had been challenged by my post, and her parenting and approach to homeschooling would never be the same. I was humbled, and encouraged, and I decided that if just one person is encouraged by my writing, it is worth it. If just one person is inspired to consider unschooling, it is worth it. If just one person is challenged to parent more respectfully and gently, it is worth it. If just one person is encouraged by knowing that a grieving mother can live a happy life even while carrying that love scar, it is worth it.

I hope to keep it real on this blog, to share a balance of both “successes” and challenges faced by this imperfect family. I think it is better for readers to see real and imperfect families living with hope, rather than elevated, seemingly “perfect” families presenting themselves on a pedestal behind a white picket fence.

According to the Miriam Webster dictionary, imperfect can mean a number of things, including defective, but the one that most fits what I am trying to say is: “a continuing state or an incomplete action”. In the words of Sonny in the movie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, “Everything will be alright in the end… if it’s not alright, then it’s not yet the end.”

We’re not finished yet!

We don’t need to wait for tomorrow to have a better day. There are plenty more moments left today. Right now. It’s what we do with each one that matters.

And for now, I will continue writing about it.

From one imperfect (unfinished) family to another, I send out love and encouragement to keep embracing each moment, living it to the full and forgiving yourself for the moments you regret and the weaknesses you perceive, remembering that the light still shines, and another moment is ready and waiting. Not tomorrow or next week or next year, but right here, right now.

Perhaps if all of us chose just one person to encourage each day, just as someone encouraged me, a multitude of people would be inspired to continue on with their passions, knowing that they really can make a difference and be an inspiration. Even if they’re not perfect.

7 thoughts on “An Imperfect Unschooling Life”

  1. Wait just a minute. All this time I was supposed to be pretending to be perfect on my blog?? I write about bad days all the time. Guess the cat’s out of the bag on that one. 😉 Great post!

  2. Karen, I’m sooo glad you’ve decided not to pull your blog off. You’re right – bloggers do tend to write only about the good stuff. Balance is a good thing, though and I think there’s definitely room for all of us to share the whole of our lives sometimes, not just the pretty bits:) I’ve often talked about this and found that most blogges who do write about just the good bits do it intentionally as a way of having their own happy place for that moment in time. Each to their own, I guess, but I know i’d like to be as balanced as I can be and as real as possible. I’ve often wanted to share some of the challenges we face as unschoolers and the challenges Lew has with some things {like acadenic stuff} but it’s really hard when you’re already ‘out there’ in terms of freakiness {unschoolers!}. Always have that feeling that we have to be role models and not have any fodder for criticism. Working on that, though;)

    So, after all my blabbing on I really just wanted you to know that I’m so happy you’re not stepping away from the blog!!! xx

  3. I just happened upon your blog while googling “christian unschooling.” I have two young girls, technically kindergarten and 2nd grade, and we’ve been homeschooling but I just feel kind of lost. Not sure what method to use, what books to use, feel like they’re not being allowed to fulfill their potential, etc. etc. I love how you wrote, “We don’t need to wait for tomorrow to have a better day. There are plenty more moments left today. Right now. It’s what we do with each one that matters.” I really needed to hear that. With each day that doesn’t go according to the plan in my mind, I feel like that whole day is shot. And the days, weeks, months, years seem to be slipping by. I look forward to reading through your writing and really hope to find some direction. Thank you for sticking with it!

    1. It’s comments like yours that inspire me to keep writing! I’m glad you were able to find encouragement. And you’re right, the time slips by so quickly! My oldest is now 19 and my “baby” is 10. It seems like only yesterday I excitedly shared with my husband that I was going to become a mum in 9 months time, for the first time! With your girls, I encourage you to treat life like ‘school holidays’ for awhile. Turn your attention away from the methods, books and curriculum, and towards your girls. Who are they? What do they love? What do they enjoy doing? Where are some cool places you could go together? Hire a new movie, snuggle on the lounge and enjoy reconnecting without the pressure of schooling (whether it be in an institution or at home). Take a breather, enjoy your girls, and see where the road takes you. As a christian you have the awesome privilege of having Someone to trust in all of this. He’s been around much longer than any school curriculum. 🙂

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