When I was seriously thinking about fully embracing radical unschooling, I decided to take a day and just say YES. I had been playing with it for a few weeks. Saying yes more and thinking it wasn't so bad. We have always tried to give our children a reason for our "No" or our "Maybe later." They are human beings and they deserve to be treated with respect. But everything I was reading, everything I was hearing, was about saying yes. Stay up later? Yes! Eat whatever you want? Yes!
Now, honestly, I like saying yes. I take no pleasure whatsoever in saying no. I have never liked taking privileges from them or what not, because let's face it... it is not only a punishment for them but for me as well!
The morning I decided to say yes went well. The kids played. They got their own lunches with my help. It went well until I was asked if they could play video games. Then proceeded 4 hours of video games. And when one of them got off the game to let another child play, they got on the computer and looked up more video games to buy. Another kid talked the rest of the day about video games. The little kids became agitated and stressed out. By six PM the two youngest were screaming their heads off. And you can just guess what that all did to me... I got a migraine.
Hey, I used to play a lot of video games in my day, so don't get me wrong. I am not going to tell you to burn all the video games... but 4 hours?!? I thought I was going to loose my mind. The soundtrack of my life became the Lego Harry Potter theme song. I couldn't even think after awhile. And when I asked them to please turn it off... I got whining and a: "I don't want to."
Seriously? 4 hours later and you sass your mama? I don't think so.
So, I will be honest here. The saying yes to everything did not last a day. I made blueberry muffins and made them listen to poetry. And there was no more TV for the rest of the day.
I am all for saying yes more. I am all for giving your kids reasons for your no. I would expect the same treatment. But saying yes to everything is not my bag. I like bedtimes. I like a tidish home (I won't push it... you know how many people live here?). And more importantly, I require respect. When you live in a household of many people it takes a bit of insight to understand when something is going to work and when it isn't... when a yes becomes an infringement on someone else's peace of mind, for example. I am sure that is not what radical unschooling is supposed to be about. I just know, that aspect is just not going to fly in this house.
Over the years when I have flirted with unschooling and radical unschooling it never really worked for us. Perhaps I didn't have the patience to see it through. It would take time, I know, for these new ideas and way of living to take place and to see beneifts. Truth be told in my time with unschooling I came to find that my kids did get a bit more unruly and disrespectful And the thing that surprised me most... we spent less time together. I had less one on one time with them.
So my one day experiment reminded me of those months and years of unschooling and why it didn't work for us. I love the idea of unschooling and I will take away the things I love and leave the rest for others.
The goal is to embrace who we are!
And sometimes, that means saying no.