Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Scientific Literacy

Stephen Colbert Interviews Neil deGrasse Tyson at Montclair Kimberley Academy - 2010-Jan-29 Jump to 6:15 for the start of the interview. Now with captions! Took me three days to transcribe :-P Download captions: https://sites.google.com/site/teridon... " ‎

"What do we need to do to increase our scientific literacy?"

 "I'll answer two pronged. One is what do you do with your kids. Kids need to be able to explore freely, and if you look at most households they're not designed for that. They're designed to have the kid not explore. The kid comes into your kitchen and pulls out the pots and pans and starts banging on them. Whats the first thing you do ...as a parent? "Stop that! You're getting the dishes dirty!" Yet these are experiments in acoustics. That's what that is, ok. Whatever the kid is doing if it has the chance of breaking something you're going to tell them to not do it without thinking that that's the consequence of an experiment they're conducting. Every time the kid wants to do something, provided it doesn't kill them, it's an experiment. Let it run its course. Even if it makes something messy. You agreed to have a kid in the first place, fine, clean up after them! Because its those seeds of curiosity that is the foundation of what it is to become a scientist. Now, I don't want everybody to be a scientist, that'd be a boring world. I want the poets and I want the musicians. We need that, but I'm talking about promoting scientific literacy. And so the first step is for the parents to get out of the way. Allow the child to explore. They start playing in the mud- "Don't do that in the mud, I just cleaned those pants!" You're getting in the way of another experiment. They start plucking the petals off the flowers you just bought from the florist and you say "Stop that! I just paid $10 for those flowers." Had you let them continue they'd find the stamen and the pistol and they'd learn something about the flower. For ten bucks! That's cheap! David Bach one time president of Harvard once said, "If you think education is expensive, try the cost of ignorance." So that's got to start at home." -Neil deGrasse TysonSee More "

Monday, April 22, 2013

Approaching One Year

Next month will mark 1 year since Josh (8y) stopped attending public school and we fully began our unschooling journey. It will also mark 16 months since we made the decision to change our authoritarian parenting ways.

I'd like to conduct an interview with Josh, and possibly myself and Papa as well, as a way to document the changes in our lives. What questions would you ask of us if you were conducting the interview?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Another Video...

Made a quick video (less than 5 minutes) about whether Radical Unschooling is Permissive Parenting, and how we provide structure, order, and encourage healthy habits without rules.

It's short, but I'd love for it to spark a more in depth discussion here.


Friday, April 19, 2013

At The Museum

We don't go to the big expensive downtown museums too often because, well, there are four of us and it's expensive. We've got plenty of opportunities and centers near the house for free or close to it.

Anywho, this weekend we went to one of the big, fancy, expensive Nature and Science museums. Before we even got parked I was feeling an internal struggle begin. Part of me wanted to make sure Josh (8y) "learned enough" to make the trip "worth the money". I talked myself down from this line of thinking and urged myself to trust him, and the unschooling philosophy.

My will was tested as soon as we got in the door and Josh ran right past the space themed exhibit. He loves astronomy and space exploration usually, but that day he didn't even bat an eye. Instead he headed straight for the dinosaurs. He wandered for a bit, "oooh, giant skeletons", you know. I was really struggling here, but I held my tongue and followed his lead.

Then he found a display about a track site in Alaska. He intently watched a video talking about how many people's efforts go into bringing fossils to the museum and many of the obstacles they have to overcome. Then he methodically read each of the information sections around that display, and played with a 3-d model of the site highlighting different tracks and fossils found. He later went on to be amazed by their bird exhibit in the same way.

I have never, ever seen him do that at a museum. I'm sure part of it is maturity, but also I see that before he was always under pressure from me to "pay attention and learn something!" Silly me, all I had to do was get out of his way and let his curiosity lead him.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Why We Always Try to Answer Questions

One of the reasons we always answer the kids' questions is that we never know for what they are using the information.

For example- We were driving around this weekend and Josh (8y) asked me, "What is 100 divided by 2?" and instead of saying, "You can figure that out." I just answered, "50."

Just after he asked, "And what is 100 divided by 5?" to which Papa replied, "20."

A few more division questions later he happily announced, "I think I understand division now! It's groups! So when you say 100 divided by 5 is 20 that means there are 5 groups of 20 in 100. It's like multiplication!"

He was asking us questions because he wanted to analyze the information and come to his conclusion. Even though he's been able to answer such division questions himself for a while, and we have explained how division is the opposite of multiplication, apparently he just grasped the deeper meaning behind the answers.

I suspect if I had told him to figure it out himself, he may have become frustrated with me and abandoned the train of thought.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Some Things I Learned the Hard Way...

Examples of how NOT to start unschooling/peacefully parenting when you started out authoritarian-

-Don't make a big announcement that you're radically changing your parenting and family dynamics.

-Don't suddenly abandon bed time routines in favor of letting the kids decide when they'll sleep.

-Don't suddenly abandon meal time routines in favor of letting the kids eat whenever and whatever they want.

-Don't suddenly leave them to their own devices all day waiting for them to ask you to read a book or otherwise do something "educational" with them.

Examples of better ways to start unschooling/peacefully parenting when you started out authoritarian-

-Take the time to read all you can, and arm yourself with new tools to use in place of authoritarianism. Set priorities of what you'd like to change and tackle them one at a time.

-Continue with your bedtime routines, but now if your children raise objections hear them out and come to a mutually agreeable alternative.

-Continue your meal time routines, but now if your children raise objections hear them out and come to a mutually agreeable alternative.

-Continue engaging with your children and exposing them to new ideas. If they don't take interest, don't force the issue. If they do take interest, let them run with it as long as they like.

This lifestyle is not permissive parenting. It is parenting in a partnership with your children. Hope my mistakes can help someone else along the way. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Emails to Papa

My heart swells watching Josh (8y) replying to emails Papa sends him from work.

Papa was in Mississippi, and sent Josh some pictures of the river and capitol building. I love that they are able to connect with each other throughout the day.

Of course, the connection is the most important part of this situation, but I also appreciate the learning opportunities. Typing, spelling, capitalization, grammar, formatting of letters, all on top of the content of the emails. Josh doesn't see any of this as "learning" or "studying". He simply sees it as emailing Dad.

Monday, April 15, 2013

This is So Much Work

It is so much work- real, hard, hardest I've ever experienced work- teaching our children communication skills, negotiation skills, non-aggression, compassion, empathy, etc. instead of teaching them to simply obey. ESPECIALLY since we started off parenting Josh (8y) to simply obey.

We had a situation today. Josh wanted to go out and play with his friends. I reminded him that he hadn't done his chore for the day yet, which was vacuuming. He told his friends he'd be out in a few minutes, and headed to vacuum the bedroom. No biggie. Until it came time to vacuum Bug's room. Then it was, "I don't want to do this anymore!" "I just want to go play." "Its your fault I never get to have any fun!"

Um, really? No. I calmly explained to him that he'd agreed to finish chores before going out to play, he'd chosen not to vacuum earlier in the day, and he'd also chosen to do the chores in the first place (to pay for the screen he broke last week). He obviously wasn't happy with his choice now, and maybe he'd make a different choice next time.

He wasn't happy hearing my thoughts, and made like he was going to just leave anyway. I got ticked and said, "IF YOU WALK OUT THAT DOOR..."

"Then what?" Josh asked.

Exactly. Then what? A flash of all the terrible "whats" I could inflict on him ran through my head. And I thought to myself, "What the hell, self? You're trying to teach him responsibility and time management. Spanking, yelling, threats, punishments- none of those things teach that. Why are you even saying 'If you walk out...' in the first place? Coercion? Really? Are we regressing back to that just because it's easy and effective? Easy, but effective at all the things you don't want to do. Deep breath, calm down, focus, and handle this a better way. Ready? Go."

And although it was harder for me, took much more patience and much more time, we talked through things. It's my responsibility to teach and model the values I hold. I've made more work for myself now by making poor parenting choices in the past, but I have to live with those consequences. It's amazing how in trying to teach Josh that lesson, I reinforced the same lesson for myself.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

I Made a Video!

Okay my friends, I made a new, improved video. Its still not perfect, but its better. I deleted the older video to avoid confusion.

The first video in a possible series, answering the question of "What is unschooling?" What do you think? Would you like to see more? If so, what topics?


Saturday, April 13, 2013


We like natural consequences here. Also, we don't make the kids do chores. Both are key points in the coming story.

Last week Josh (8y) broke a window screen. Not maliciously, but it broke nonetheless. Unrelated to the screen breaking incident, I had been feeling that Josh wasn't appreciating how much work I put into running our home and making sure everyone's needs were met. So when we talked ab...out what to do about the screen, we agreed that he would need to pay for a new one. In order to earn money to pay for it, he will be doing all the household chores this week for me.

The important distinction here is that he isn't being forced to do any chores under threat of punishment, and the doing of the chores itself is not a punishment. Rather, we talked about what had happened, how it could be remedied, and which option for remedy satisfied the both of us. His input held just as much weight as mine, and Josh was actually the one who suggested this solution.

We've got a rough schedule for chores- Monday wash sheets, towels, and laundry. Tuesday clean bathrooms and windows, file paperwork. Wednesday dust and vacuum the bedrooms. Thursday dust, sweep, and mop the living room and kitchen. Friday mow the lawn and turn the compost. Dishes and general tidying each day.

I've delayed sharing how we came to the agreement on Thursday because I wanted to see how he handled his first day of work today. He reminded me last night before bed that "tomorrow starts my week of work". I've been told multiple times to "stop doing that Mom, I'll get it. I'm doing all the work this week, remember?" All the sheets have been stripped, washed, and replaced. All the laundry sorted, washed, folded and put away. Not a single complaint. Not even one. It's really beautiful. This is the way to do it, no threats, coercion, or punishments. This is working for us.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Magna Doodle Math

But how will they learn math?! Effortlessly my friend, effortlessly.

Sitting with Bug, 2 years old, and a magna-doodle...

Bug- *stamps three stars* Is it two stars, Mama?
Me- That's three stars, honey.

Bug- Oh, three stars. *erases two of the stars* Is it one star, Mama?

Me- That's right, that's one star.

Bug- *erases everything, stamps three stars again* Is it three stars, Mama?

Me- Yes, three stars.

Bug- *erases one star* Is it two stars, Mama? *erases another star* Is it one star, Mama?

Me- Yes. You had three stars, and after you erased two stars there is only one left.

Bug- Only one left, Mama!

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Unschooling and Bullying

Let's talk about how raising Josh (8y) and Bug (2y) to know they own their bodies, and to know they aren't to be coerced plays into bullying.

This is going to be difficult for me to type, but the truth hurts. As a former authoritarian parent- spanking, yelling, threatening, inflicting punishments, taking toys away- I was the biggest bully in Josh's life. Me.

If you've been following the page you've probably seen stories where Josh stood up to me and said "No." or "What then?" When I am getting out of line and encroaching on him or his freedom of choice, he calls me out on it. He stands up to me and holds his ground. His hands may be shaking, but he doesn't back down.

If he can stand up like that to me- the one person with a history of violence against him, the one person in his life who has bullied him in the past- he can stand up to anyone.

A Rough Morning

I had this grand idea that I would wake up early to clean the living room today. There were toys out, and I needed to sweep and mop.

Well of course, Bug (2y) decided to get up mere minutes after I'd started. I got him some breakfast, put on a movie and attempted to clean around him. I am scootching couches around, finding more food pieces and toys than should be physically possible of existing i...n the spaces underneath. Par for the course, but frustrating nonetheless. Then Josh (8y) woke up and the boys both run outside. Yes! I can finish up in peace! Oh no, silly me. They're running back in, with grassy socks, through my piles of dirt.

I lost it. I yelled something about "What on earth?!" and "Trying to clean!" and "So inconsiderate!" and "Get outside or go to your room!" Bug starts crying, he's only heard me freak like this once or twice before. Josh knows I need some space, so he picks Bug up and takes him outside to play.

I finish up mopping, and no sooner than I turn off the mop they run in with dirty feet, Bug still crying. I lose it again and yell about going to their rooms. Josh stands up to me, looks me in the eye and says "No". I got ticked off, but he would not back down. Finally I said, "Look, I'm obviously not in a good state of mind right now. Please don't push me. I need a minute to calm your brother down. I know I owe you an apology and I'll be there in a few minutes."

After I clean up Bug, spot clean the floor again, and calm down I go talk to Josh.

Me- Hey. I just realized, I haven't had anything to eat, nor any coffee, and you haven't eaten either. You think we'd both feel better after eating something?

Josh- Ugh, Mom. You know you don't act right before you have coffee.

Me- I know. What do you want?

Josh- Egg sandwiches.

Me- Okay, let's eat and talk. (later while eating) I'm sorry I lost my temper and yelled at you. I want the house clean and I felt like I wasn't get any help with it.

Josh- Well, I was trying to keep Bug happy outside, but he just wanted you. It would have been better if I was mopping and you were taking care of him instead. You're better at keeping him happy, and I'm better at mopping anyway.

Me- That's a great suggestion. Would you be willing to do that next time the house needs mopped?

Josh- Yeah.

Me- Okay, awesome. I also need you to be aware of things like coming inside with dirty socks or shoes, and take them off at the door. Can you help me with that?

Josh- *sigh* Yeah....sorry I made more mess while you were cleaning.

Me- I forgive you. Thank you for being patient with me when I lost my temper, and for the really helpful suggestion for next time. Can you forgive me for yelling at you?

Josh- Yes, I forgive you.

Me- Can I have a hug?

Josh- *leans into me*

Lessons learned- Nothing productive should happen before breakfast. Give up on having a clean floor for a couple more years. Listen to my kids more, they've got some great ideas.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Feeling Conflicted

Sometimes I feel so conflicted.

When I'm posting here I like to keep it real. Unschooling is awesome, I love it, but its not all sunshine and rainbows. It's hard sometimes, and I don't mind sharing my struggles here.

When I'm face to face with other parents though, I feel like I'm representing the entire unschooling community when I answer questions. So when my neighbor is telling me how she's booking up her son's summer so she doesn't have to be with him 24/7 for three months, and she says to me, "I don't know how you deal with your kids being with you all day, every day. I couldn't do it." I feel compelled to say something about how much I love being with my kids and how great homeschooling is.

I think those types of answers are doing the homeschooling movement a disservice. Instead I wish I would say something like, "You know, it was really hard at first. We had to relearn how to live together. But its gotten easier and I really do enjoy it now. Of course there are good and bad days. If you ever choose to homeschool I'd be happy to commiserate with you while the kids play."

I don't want to perpetuate the image that homeschooling parents are super-human, uber-patient, Stepford Moms. I don't want to make other moms feel badly for feeling like they couldn't do it. I used to feel like that too. I want to be encouraging and supportive and REAL. I'm going to keep working on this.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Did I Make the Most of Today

The kids are in bed. Another day has come and gone, and I find myself asking if I made the most of it.

How many times did I brush the boys off to pay attention to something trivial instead? How many times did I wish for them to occupy themselves so I could check my email or facebook? How many special moments did I miss? How many more smiles, giggles, hugs, and cuddles could we have squeezed in? Will I be regretting today tomorrow? Did I take today for granted?

Certainly, I take many things for granted every day. I think it's important to remember we are not promised tomorrow. What if today was our last day together? I don't want to live in fear of losing this beautiful life we share together each day, but I do want to live in humble appreciation of every little moment and soak each one up while I can.

Monday, April 8, 2013

New Phase of Appreciation

My unschooling journey (because let's be honest, I am the one being unschooled) is seeming to develop phases. There was the "I'm so angry at the system!" phase, then the "settling in" phase, and now I'm entering into the phase where I really appreciate how difficult parenting is.

Don't get me wrong, parenting was difficult for the 8 years before now too. Yes, things have gotten easier in a sense, now that we're parenting peacefully and learning naturally. But even with all the peaceful parenting tools I've armed myself with, even with all the books I've devoured, even with all the support I find from other families, our family dynamics are still not sunshine and rainbows.

This parenting paradigm doesn't magically make life perfect. The kids still do things that drive me nuts, we still fight, doors still slam. At times it is much more difficult for me to take that deep breath and work out the issue than to raise my voice or spout off threats. Even though I slip up at times, I know I will never stop striving to be more peaceful. While it may be difficult and doesn't magically make things perfect, we have seen a dramatic decrease in the frequency of fights and arguments. Even when I know I didn't get things quite right, I don't end up with the pit in my stomach that yelling, spanking, and punishing gave me. There is still love and understanding in our relationships, even when momentarily clouded by frustration or anger.

Parenting peacefully may be difficult in the here and now, but I can feel and I know that it is helping me foster a lifelong loving respectful relationship with my children. I am more than willing to put in the time now to have that relationship with them later.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Dinner for Bug

I was recently asked-

"Wondering how you go about dinner time at your house? I have a constant battle with my 3 1/2 yr old son to eat dinner. I wont make him but the thing is it gets late and 9pm rolls around and he is hungry when he should be getting ready for bed if not already asleep. "

Bug is 2 years old. He is able to open the fridge and pantry by himself, so I have the bott...om crisper drawer full of snacks he can get himself- apples, carrots, clementines, etc.- and the lowest shelf in the pantry stocked the same way- breads, raisins, almonds, etc. I also keep a cup of water on the table for him all day. This way he's able to eat any time he's hungry, even if I'm busy in the middle of something. I think listening to his body is highly important.

When dinner rolls around I make him a plate with whatever I made and round it out with other options, so he'll end up with a big plate of little bits of lots of things. I shoot for something orange, something green, some sort of berry, a protein, a starch, and a dairy option. I then refill whatever options he's most interested in as he finishes them off. Some days he wants it all, some days none of it, and everything in between. I think the key is respecting his authority over what goes into his body, providing him choices I'm okay with, and keeping stock of things I know he enjoys.

I don't know what your schedule is like, and if your son really needs to be sleeping at 9pm. I'd suggest trying to be more open to helping him listen to his body's cues for eating and sleep. I'd certainly feed him if he's hungry, I don't agree with withholding food, especially not on a punishment/reward basis. Above all, talk with him. It may be that he's missing something really fun when you're trying to get him to sit down to dinner. Maybe you can come up with a compromise- eating a few minutes later, eating in a different room or outside, playing together beforehand, etc. I imagine having his feelings heard and his opinion counted will go a long way. :)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Keeping Communications Open

Josh (8y), Bug (2y) and neighbor Joe (7y) were playing outside earlier today. Bug wanted a hula hoop, and neighbor Joe said he'd get him one. I said "Thanks Joe!" and went inside.

A minute later Josh came in looking a little upset.

Josh- Mom, you don't say thank you to me when I help Bug with things, but you said thank you to Joe. That's mean to me.

Me- You feel that I don't appreciate the things you do for Bug because I don't thank you? You're feeling unappreciated?

Josh- Yes. And that makes me feel bad, like I'm not part of the family.

Me- It isn't my intention to make you feel that way. I am so sorry. Thank you for sharing your feelings with me. I'll be more mindful about this now.

Josh- Alright.

Me- I wouldn't have known how you feel if you hadn't brought it to my attention. Thank you for doing that. I'll do my best to thank you more often when you're helping.

Josh- Thanks Mom.

Friday, April 5, 2013

A Day in the Life of Josh

Here's what a typical day looks like for Josh, my unschooling 8 year old.

Yesterday he woke up around 11am and promptly ate "breakfast". Then he rode his scooter to the park with all of us. When we left the park he headed to his friend's house down the street. He was there for a couple hours maybe, I didn't really keep track.

When he came back home he ate something and watched tv for maybe an hour. After his show he headed to his room and played with legos and built a wooden t-rex puzzle. Then another friend came over to play so he headed back outside. The rest of the afternoon was a blur of playing at this person's house, or that person's house.

Around 7pm he came home for the evening and inhaled dinner. I had made chicken for everyone and saved him a plate. He hung our with everybody and was in and out of his room til 9ish. He checked his email while I put Bug down to bed. When I was done with Bug, Josh was in the garage working on his bicycle, taking the wheels off and on, messing with the chain, etc. Around 10:30 he came inside and washed up. I was ready for bed, but he wanted to watch a little tv. So he did. And he came to bed whenever he was finished.

I'm sharing this very unexciting day because sometimes we get hung up on all the amazing things we hear of other unschoolers doing and start comparing. And sometimes when we start comparing we start feeling like our kids are "behind" or "not as good as". While Josh does amazing things too, those moments come in spurts. He spends most of his time being an 8 year old kid. I truly feel it is having the freedom to just be a kid that allows for him to also dive into the more challenging things when the mood strikes him. They grow up so quickly, let them be kids while they can.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

AFV Isn't Funny Anymore

Just watched America's Funniest Home Videos from last week on Hulu because of friend of mine was on there. The winning video was of a boy driving with his mom. They'd just left a restaurant and he had accidentally left with their plastic cup (not one of the free kid's cups). Apparently she told him she was going to have to call the police because he stole the cup.

He was hysterical. Tears streami...ng down his face, couldn't hardly breathe, pleading with his mother to please let him take it back to the restaurant. She calmly, while video taping him, said there was nothing she could do. As the host was congratulating them on their win, he mocked the boy while giving him a souvenir cup. The mother said she viewed the whole situation as a "teachable moment".

Teaching what exactly? Watching the video made me feel so awful for the boy. Seeing his mother win $10,000 for the ordeal made me sick to my stomach. Am I the only one who feels this way?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Josh Learns About Income Tax

In which Josh (8y) learns about income tax-

Josh was sitting with me as I finished up our taxes. He saw the dollar amount and exclaimed, "Is that how much money we're getting?!"

Me- "No dude, that's how much money we're paying."

Josh- "WHAT?! We have to send that much money to the government?!"

Me- "Yeah. It sucks, doesn't it?"

Josh- "Totally. We could do so much stuff with that money. Wait, what percent is that?"

Me- "15%"

Josh- "Hold on. So we have to pay them 15% of all the money Daddy made AND we pay them 8% every time we buy something? What is that about?!"

Me- "Exactly."

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Josh goes to work with Papa

Josh (8y) went to work with Papa today, something unschooling and working for yourself allows for quite nicely. Josh asked if he could join Papa last night around 10pm. "You'll have to wake up early, I'm leaving at 6:30am," Papa told him. Although Josh normally sleeps til 10, 11, or later, he was alright with getting up at 6 to join Papa.

They both came in to kiss me goodbye before they left. "Go bring home some bacon," I told Josh. He was beaming with pride.

I'm reminded of other cultures in which it was normal for kids of Josh's age to go out with the adults and learn to provide for the family. They are allowed and expected to contribute to their family, and their community, as soon as they are able. There isn't the extended childhood and awkward adolescent stage we find in American culture.

I much prefer the go, do, live, learn attitude to the stop, stay, don't, wait attitude given to most kids. What are your thoughts?

Later that day...
Papa just posted this to his personal facebook page (fyi, he's a photographer and today they're taking children's pictures at a daycare)-

"So I'm at a Daycare with Josh, and he is STARVING!! We are waiting on one parent who said she would be by before lunch. It's nearing one o' clock and no sign of a parent. Everybody is napping, so Josh and I have a room to ourselves. I say, Josh would you like to man the sales table and cover while I get your lunch? He says. YES!! So I let the director know and she giggles and says ok. When I get back the director walks in with her husband and wants to pick out her package. Then, in walks the parent. I hand Josh her pictures and a price sheet. The Director and her husband started to laugh, and when they realized I wasn't joking they stopped and said, .... really?? The room went silent as Josh went selling away.
"The folio is usually $120.00. But you can have it for $100.00. Spring break special. But you really want the CD because you can make prints."

Monday, April 1, 2013

Teaching Bug Math

But how will they learn math?! Effortlessly my friend, effortlessly.

Sitting with Bug, 2 years old, and a magna-doodle...

Bug- *stamps three stars* Is it two stars, Mama?

Me- That's three stars, honey.

Bug- Oh, three stars. *erases two of the stars* Is it one star, Mama?

Me- That's right, that's one star.

Bug- *erases everything, stamps three stars again* Is it three stars, Mama?

Me- Yes, three stars.

Bug- *erases one star* Is it two stars, Mama? *erases another star* Is it one star, Mama?

Me- Yes. You had three stars, and after you erased two stars there is only one left.

Bug- Only one left, Mama!

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Support from Dayna Martin

Yesterday I was having a rough day, particularly with Josh (8y). We were getting short with each other. I felt myself reverting back to my old ways of thinking- "He needs to listen to me, I'm his mother! I'm going to punish him for acting like this!" Other things were adding to the frustration. Bug (2y) threw a glass on the floor and happily declared, "I broke it!" I was going under and I needed some help.

I'd been talking with Dayna Martin a while back, and she'd offered me a coaching session. Yesterday was the day to cash it in.

We talked on the phone that afternoon. Just to start, it felt so good talking with another mom who knew and understood what my goals are for our family, and who wasn't judging me. I told her about the situation with Josh that day, and the frustration of changing our parenting of him in general. Her response was eye-opening, relieving, and uplifting. I'd like to share it with you, because I think it will resonate with many here as well.

Paraphrased, obviously- It sounds like you're holding onto guilt about your past parenting choices with Josh. Know that his acting out in anger is not because of how you used to act toward him, but because he now has the freedom to express his full range of emotions. You've had 30 years to learn to control how you express your emotions, but he hasn't. He's learning and that's okay. This lifestyle isn't about being happy and perfect 100% of the time, my kids fight and get angry too, though it becomes less often as they get older. It's about having the freedom to feel your feelings and express them without fear.

Her words had me in tears. I hadn't realized how much guilt I was holding onto, nor the crazy ideal I was holding myself to. We talked for 30 minutes and, not to gush, but, she was a fountain of comfort and inspiration. She offers unschooling parenting sessions through her website if you'd be interested in contacting her as well.