I also felt like sharing that while many children have a visible graph to what they are connecting with and how they are connecting. Many children have tangible form to their interests. And there are children who show no visible or tangible signs of any connection to anything outside. And then suddenly one day there is a burst of stuff.
In unschooling many times such children do not get mentioned in blog posts, Facebook posts, or on public forums. Some children are quiet, seemingly disinterested in anything, they sigh around, or live in their own caves, it looks like nothing in this world attracts them or makes them curious. Parents who are beginning to unschool find these kind of children the hardest to deal with. These are the children who put most fears and restlessness in the hearts and minds of parents who want to unschool, especially if the parent himself or herself is not like that or is being pressurized by spouse or other family members.
To such parents I would recommend meditation, relaxing techniques, Pranayama, Yoga, swimming, walking a lot, seeking out listening buddies in other unschooling mums and dads, engaging in their own interests more, getting a life of their own where they can pursue their own passions or interests that they left or did not have time to follow when they were younger, or take up a home project or art project or some classes that they always wanted to do but could not. It is vital that parents love those children unconditionally without offering ‘exposure’ thinking they are not interested in anything and need more stimulus. These children need not be hurried.
A lot of children live in subaltern worlds of their own minds and spirits. They are deeply engaged with their inner worlds. So they are busy connecting things inside out rather than outside in. They are figuring things out in their own very quiet ways. They are more like those trees which grow deep roots before they can spurt above the ground. They are drawing in ground water, they are growing downwards into the soil of their soul’s earth.
I have been blessed to have two kinds of children in my family and they both teach me to stay in the middle without freaking out either way.:) My older one spend a lot of time in her cave, drawn inward for some years between the time she was 9 and 13 years old. She herself would ask me, ‘mum I am not sure what really interests me’. It took a lot of self control from me as a parent to just listen to her apparent confusion. It was hard for me to watch those fears which would say to me, ‘She won’t ever amount too anything.’ Even harder to listen to the father’s worries and the worried look on other family members. But somewhere I was also able to draw patience and a different perspective from inner wisdom and other unschooling parents which motivated me to stay calm and waiting.
But things changed, when she became clearer, it was far more definitive than I had imagined. She is so focused and dedicated to her chosen interests. Her sense of self driven discipline about almost everything she does sometimes puts me to shame. 🙂 She is much clearer about her feelings and emotions and can express them clearly now in her writing, her poetry and her verbal expression with me and others. And yet I know now that she will need her cave now and then.
It is easier for an extroverted, explorer of an unschooling parent to engage with children who are making connections easily out there in the world, but the real challenge for such parents is this other child, who is exploring the inner landscape of her heart and mind more, and making the connection from inside to outside!