As we continue on this unschooling journey, it becomes the lens through which I see the world. Unschooling embraces freedom, living our lives according to our uniqueness, placing an emphasis on connection to ourselves and to one another. It is the freedom to choose HOW we want to be in the world and the understanding that each of us has the right to choose.
A specific example may help illustrate the above — food. My daughter eats when she’s hungry and when she’s full, she stops. We don’t have set mealtimes, nor are there any forbidden foods. While there are certain foods she enjoyed as a toddler, she no longer eats them now. Her tastes have changed over the years. And, I trust her to know what, and how much, her body needs. And, while I model trying new foods, I don’t require her to do the same. She has the right to say, “no”.
My son’s experience is a bit different. He has had a feeding tube since infancy. His prematurity, and the motor challenges of his cerebral palsy, made it quite difficult for him to eat anything in those early years. For years, we participated in feeding therapy where we would sit in a clinic room and he would play with different foods and textures. (This is well before we embraced unschooling and my own paradigm shift.) As I have learned to trust my daughter with her food choices, I have learned, very slowly, to do the same for my son. He is still somewhat dependent on a feeding tube because there are times when he literally can not consume enough calories for growth. But, even within the medical limitations, there is still opportunity for freedom of choice. He can choose to consume less of his tube feeding and eat more “regular” food. If he wants to skip a “feeding” because he doesn’t feel hungry, then we will do so. We work together, rather than me dictate how much and how often he needs to “eat”.
Learning to trust that our children do indeed know what works for their bodies provides the framework in which they are are then able to exercise their freedom to choose.