Our friends came around the other day, they are in their thirties and are lovely, one is from Denmark the other Italy, the kids were so excited to see them. We sat down and had tea together on the downstairs in the lounge. They sat on one sofa and the kids and I on the other. I say ‘sat’ I was the only one that ‘sat’ as the kids were upside down, wiggling their legs, getting up and down and up and down. It was driving me nuts. So I said to our guests? ‘Can I ask you honestly, what do you think about the fact that when we are having tea and chatting on the sofa, what do you think about the way the kids are upside down?’ And I stressed ‘answer honestly’ bit because I was curious. Then one friend paused and said in his Danish accent ‘You know, I am kind of thinking that they are zo free, I wish I could be dat free’ I then smiled and said ‘Oh really’ and the kids laughed very loudly and carried on wiggling. I then looked to my very refined Italian friend and said ‘and you?’ and she took a huge breath and paused and then said ‘I am kind of jealous that they can be so free’ and then the kids laughed even louder.
Now that scene could have gone either way, if they were with their Great Aunt, or Grandparents it could and would have played out differently and I definitely do not advocate that they do not learn any social skills but it can be tough for me as a parent. When they are as uncorked as they are and as free as they are we do find ourselves in situations where they speak their minds LOUDLY. Or they hang upside down, when in my opinion it would better if they didn’t. So I know that they need to learn these skills as they grow. They do know, to an extent when to reign it in as it were but I do find it a challenge on occasions when their free-ness (if that is a word) bumps in to the norms of society. On the flip side in lots of ways I find their uncorkedness very refreshing and I marvel at the beauty of who they really are.
Like for example our daughters used to do a jiggly bottom dance when they were excited, perhaps they got that from Africa and seeing African dancers. Some people have said that they have got it from me but I don’t remember ever doing it but then maybe I do do that and I don’t know it? Then there was a phase when our son tended to sing his feelings really loudly. Once, when talking to the Italian plumber about a leaking tap for example he was singing in the background and it became quite tricky. But to me it is about self expression and letting it be. Often times it is just the kids expressing themselves, the balance for me is to know when it is out of whack and when it is spilling over in to not being able to function well in the world. Getting the balance is the key without squashing the kid’s spirits, this is something we work at all the time. And let’s face there are times quite frankly when I would like to sing or dance my way in or out of a situation and perhaps it is just the conditioned adult in my that stops myself, also the fact that people may think I am mad.
To me an uncorked child is a free child who is just doing what children do. It could be that unschooled children have learnt that they are as equally important as an adult and that their voice is valid. That can be challenging in itself. It can also be a learning curve for the child to understand that there are times when respect is needed, respect for an elder, respect for a sensitive situation, knowing when to be quiet and still and not yelp or sing at full volume. But I feel it is better that they learn that for themselves by reading the situation as it is a huge life skill.
Within it all an uncorked kid to me is an expression as to who they truly are and isn’t that what we as adults we strive to achieve through out our whole lives?
This is an excerpt from ‘Jump, Fall, Fly from schooling to homeschooling to unschooling’ You can buy from Amazon in the UK here
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You are Parenting Your Future Grandchildren’s Parents
Not Back to School
How do Unschoolers take Exams?
Unschooling and the Fear of Failing
Some of your questions answered about Unschooling
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