Using the Arts as a Foundation for Unschooling

In today’s society, especially within the school system, there are strict guidelines, rules and regulations…

A cookie cutter pattern in which our children are forced to conform.

the problem with this is that these children are individuals, but in passing through the system are forced to edit themselves, cut their unique edges, and Frankenstein themselves into something which isn’t them at all.

To provide a bit of backstory.

My children have special needs.

Both are gifted, but have mental and physical health problems which labeled them “difficult” “liability” “falling behind”…

My CHILDREN were blamed, as was I.

This led to a painstakingly difficult decision, one I grappled with for the better part of a year, to pull both of my children from conventional schooling.

For awhile, we floated.

None of us really knew what to do, or how to respond.

A form of withdrawal and detox took place.

I’ll admit, there were many times we ALL wanted to cave and revert back to the old ways; the accepted ways.

I knew we couldn’t.

You can’t look back to move forward in life…

So, I started with what made my children happy, and what my children needed.

The arts and therapy.

I patch worked this strange, unattractive, and haphazardly stitched quilt together…

But, despite appearances, it was STRONG…

And, eventually, it started working.

Both fine, and performing arts built the foundation, with music as the cornerstone.

We ALL needed to be uplifted.

Some sort of positive, if not happy, atmosphere in which to exist.

As our family became stronger, community involvement was integrated, a movement propelled by our UCC Church Open Table.

Fast forward to now.

Through this unconventional construct, alongside proper medication and therapy, my family has grown by leaps and bounds, as has their knowledge of PEOPLE and LIFE.

Through the people they have met in the Arts/activism community, they can converse eloquently and efficiently, with confidence I’ve yet to attain.

I speak to my children CONSTANTLY, and remind them, daily, that their are lessons in everything, not just within and edifice, or certain dates and times of the week or year.

Without the pressure of numerical ratings or time limits, they thrive and have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge.

I put no pressure on either of my children to meet milestones imposed by governmental requirements or educational prerequisites…

Because I know they WILL get there. In their own time.

All of the creative endeavors on which my children embark count toward numerous subjects at once…

Math is in drawing, in geometric form. Math is in music, due to its rhythmic expression (my eldest despises this fact.)

English is within music and poetry.

Writing papers on historical figures count toward English and history… Sometimes art and music too, depending on the subject.

There is such beauty in unschooling,

An organic growth.

And, sometimes, a healing of family…

The text below shows the capacity unschooling has to produce a well-rounded, incredibly wise child…

And, through my 15 year old Eva, my 5 year old Phoebe is developing the same perception of the world I’m still attempting to develop at 35.

For, what greater joy is there for a parent than to watch your child become the best version of themselves… And teach you a thing or two?

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