As our year unfurls its new rhythm Ollie has been able to realise a long held dream.
At age 4 he became interested in the Army and has collected army gear to rival that of any quartermaster since. Our dress-up box bristles with real NZ Army uniforms, he has bits of uniform from other countries, gear, kit, camo designed paraphenalia. His herosl have one thing in common…they are all ex-SAS!
Even though his passion has meandered into off-shoots, up tributaries and back as he has explored survival, bushcraft, disaster preparedness, first aid and politics there has always been the Army.
He once said to me “Mum it is my dream to have an army to command.” And so he would organise 5 or 6 friends into an army.
Now at 13yrs he is at last eligible to join Army Cadets! Yeeehaaa!!
Today he was very excited about polishing his newly issued boots. Which he did well.
What joy it brings me as a parent to have him tell me
-“Mum, I am so happy.”
This is where I have been.
It is strongly reminiscent of having a baby. Like being in a bubble, a baby bubble.
I have been locked in self imposed exile – a puppy bubble – for weeks.
A delightful, cuddly, well loved bubble, but my own mini world of walkies, training, sleeping patterns, feeding…..
And in such a short time I have been initiated into the world of dog owners. It happened this morning when I was greeted by other dog walkers who then greeted Benji…by name! And so it happened, I am now known by my dog. Just when I was starting to get myself back from being someones Mum I have now become Benji’s person.
I frighteningly think I am a ‘type’ – I am a mother of a certain age who gets a dog as my youngest hits double figures and seems to sit less and less on my lap, weighing more each time.
There are a few of us out there I am beginning to realise.
Still, a friend the other day reminded me how dogs and owners do seem to resemble each other. So as I gaze lovingly into Benji’s eyes and fondle his soft ears I feel better about myself as he is an exceedingly good looking dog.
I heard a homeschooling parent say that they don’t mind what their child does as long as it is “productive” or looks industrious.
This is no different to school.
In school, adults in positions of power (Government ‘experts’) have decreed what is acceptable for a child to be learning.
As an unschooler I have learnt the biggest lesson is to trust our kids. When, to me, it may look as though they are “wasting time” or being unproductive I have learnt to trust that they are doing what is right for them at that time.
They have always reminded me of this over the years and I may be a slow learner myself, but I hope I have got a handle on it now.
In this way unschooling is like life. Accepting and trusting that others are doing what they need to do on their own journey through life. There is great freedom is letting go of judgements and accepting others. We each of us are on our own journey and there is no one else that can tell what you should be doing, for they do not know where you are down that path.
I like it that our education philosophy has parallels in real life and the big picture.