Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Looking to the Horizon

"Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men. Now, women forget all those things they don't want to remember, and remember everything they don't want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do accordingly (chapter 1, page 1)."
I finished reading Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston last weekend. Or rather rereading it. Nothing compares to reading this book as a 42 year old as opposed to a senior in high school. I remember enjoying it, but never getting past the class discussion aspect. Their Eyes Were Watching God speaks to the desire for freedom. It's about finding a place for yourself, loving yourself, and self-awareness. It offers a lens through which I can view our unschooling life. This is what I want for my children.
We've allowed ourselves to get sucked into that stereotypical middle class family mindset. We've gotten use to devoting ourselves to schedules of dance and sports. Our biggest issues seems to be keeping the grass cut and maintaining the house. We're focused on finding co-op classes and activities. In and of themselves, none of this is wrong. But, much of it hinders free exploration. In Their Eyes, Janie searches for her identity instead of the one imposed by society. It's easy to get caught up in keeping up with the homeschool joneses. Janie discovers the person she wants to be. I want to be in my children's lives what Janie's grandmother was unable to be for her. I want to offer my children a view of the horizon. The horizon represents the endless possibilities available in life. Nanny couldn't picture a life based on independence and freedom because of her previous status as a slave. This is the fallacy of the middle-class mentality. Thinking once we've gotten the degree, the six figure salary, the house, and 2.5 kids that we've arrived. This is not the myth I want to perpetuate.
While I'm stuck in my head, my husband asks, "What do you want to do?" Well, I want to travel. I want the children to see more than their little corner of the world. I want more natural experiences, more interactions with diverse people. Less perpetuating the status quo. I don't want my family to become a carbon copy of everyone else. I don't want to fill the days with co-ops and classes. I want them to have the opportunity to form their own ideas and opinions without memorizing the agenda of others. 
There is the necessity of meeting all of our needs. Right now, my oldest children are pretty tied to their sports/cheer and all the travel and practices that entails. They don't want to move outside their established zones. They want some organized classes. So, we'll work on incorporating it all. My husband's solution is simple. Leave earlier on sports travel days and take time to explore the areas where the team plays. Make use of those bye-weeks. I tend to be an all or nothing sort of gal.

2 comments:

  1. " I want more natural experiences, more interactions with diverse people. Less perpetuating the status quo. I don't want my family to become a carbon copy of everyone else." I really appreciated this.

    We can get so distracted by society that we forget our purpose, and in many instances, we give away our opportunity to get to know who we are in order to know our purposes.

    Some people do really well with co-ops. They enrich their lives, but I am not a fan of dedicating so much time to one thing. Oftentimes people take offense to that, and I have yet to figure out why. I'm not knocking co-ops, but I know they aren't for everyone. Just the same as not being in one isn't for everyone. I think no matter which side you fall on you have to be careful for it not to become the "standard" like the idea that unschooling has to look one way or being a stay at home mom has to look one way or being a "fill in the blank" has to look one way.

    I appreciate the freedom homeschooling provides and the courage it gives me to not look the same as everyone else even if we have some similarities.

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  2. It's interesting that many homeschool because they want more independence but then structure their days to the point of being overwhelmed. A friend has become so stressed out by co-ops and every other structured activity her children are involved in. By no means is she the only one.

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