If you're tired of second-guessing yourself and worrying if you're "doing it right," listen to this podcast (or read these transcripts) about how to
Grow your unschooling confidence!
It's doable! You just have to take a few steps to get there!
This past weekend, I was a Keynote speaker at the CHN MiniCon - that’s the California Homeschool Network’s virtual conference. I spoke about growing your confidence, and I realized “My Podcast Listeners might like a little of this too!”
So I’m going to give you the mini Pep-Talk version!
I’m Sue Patterson, from Unschooling Mom2Mom. I share weekly encouragement for those who want to look for alternatives to the traditional school approach for learning. Whether you’re considering leaving the school system, traditional homeschooling approaches may not be working, you’re new to unschooling - or even if you’ve been unschooling a while, but you could use a little pep talk… that’s what I’m doing here! I’m an unschooling mom with grown kids - they’re 32, 30, and 27. And I’ve decided to share what worked and what didn’t, so your family can also find your unique way to live and learn with your kids. Your way won’t be identical to my way - because that’s what individualizing is all about.
But that’s more from my keynote talk… so I guess it’s time to dive in:
Confidence. It’s something we all wish we had a little more of, right?
It would be nice to wave a magic wand, and everyone’s fear evaporates!
We want the best for our kids - we certainly don’t want to ruin their chances for success! And unschooling can feel very… weird. It’s not familiar. But, I can tell you, Unschooling works. It takes a little effort on our part as parents. For some, it resonates right away - school didn’t measure up. Maybe you (or your kid) were at odds with the school system from the get go. People with this experience can skip a few of the obstacles that those who were “good” students have. “Good” students (you can’t see my air quotes, but they’re there!) figured out how to succeed in the system. They (maybe you?) figured out how to give the teacher what they wanted.
And for that, you were rewarded! You didn’t really get to follow your curiosity much, or get very far off the beaten path - but you were told it was dangerous out there! So no worries, right? You believed them, and you stayed safe.
But now, here you are, wandering where there aren’t a lot of obvious road signs of “Step here,” or “No, Not there.” It’s often a trial and error approach.
Everything seems to be “An Experiment.” That can be hard when you’re used to one right answer or some expert smiling and you telling you you’re doing it right.
I know, I don’t have to tell you. THIS part… you know all too well.
So how DO you grow your own confidence, where you’re not looking for approval?
How do you get comfortable with this unorthodox way of living and learning with your children?
I have a lot of tools that can help you get there.
But let’s start with these 5 steps into the unknown!
Not that “unknown” really, people have been learning this way for a LONG time!
- What’s Your “Why?”
Why are you doing this? We’ve already figured out that we’re going to have to overcome some pretty deep-rooted fears and issues. So we need to really know our own personal why.There are as many reasons to unschool as there are people who do it. So it’s important to think about what YOUR reasons are. For YOUR kids. Some may be similar to other people’s - but think about why they matter to YOU? Why do they matter for YOUR kid.Maybe it has to do with experiences you’ve had. Or maybe experiences your child has had.
Or maybe it’s because of personality traits and what’s a better fit.Write it down. Think of 20 reasons.
- Tackle Your Fears
This can be a hard one to do, because we naturally want to move AWAY from doing things that make us uncomfortable. But it’s the only way to get to the other side of the fear. You have to shine the light on it and break it apart. Podcast Episode #9 back in March was all about Overcoming Your Fears. You might want to listen to that next. Think about what part of your fear is rational? What part are you kind of iffy on - do you need more information? Did your mind go quickly to disaster-mode, when you just needed to explore it a little more? Or maybe you need a little support on conquering some of these particular fears. Support and information IS available! Reach out, and I can help you find it.
- Observe Your Child
This is where you’ll gather the data for the next move. This may be where you need to do a little more Deschooling - so you can SEE the learning that’s happening without you orchestrating everything. When you take the time to see what they LIKE about their games, shows, and interactions with the world, then parents can understand their chidlren better. This helps us know how to partner with them as they move through their lives.
- Create Your Strategy
Just as you have to identify how your CHILD learns best, you have to figure out how YOU learn best too. Do you like the full immersion of videos and courses? Or maybe your life is chaotic and earbuds with podcasts are your best option right now? Or maybe you learn best through reading and gathering all the information you need to offset some of those fears and help you understand the concepts of unschooling. Or maybe you’re better talking things through with people - local groups or online groups might be your best best. Or even group/private coaching calls.
Then you might have to also look at what time of day can you squeeze this in? I’m thinking, when you’re just starting out, and maybe it can even become something like a Morning Walk habit, but 30 minutes each day to keep learning. Remember that Information and Support is what you need for Unschooling Success. You can do it - but you’ll have to do your own legwork. You’ll have to see what YOU need and how you can get yourself the resources that will you. So you create your own personalized strategy!
- Identify Your Resources
Tying in with identifying and setting up your own strategic plan is finding all the resources you need.
The Unschooling Mom2Mom website has so much. Not only resources from me, but also from other unschoolers around the world. I’ve sifted through and created a curated website that will help you so much! Use the top navigation bar to poke around and find what you need. Maybe that will be part of your strategy - every day go see a new area that can help you become more confident.Look around locally to see if others are starting to get together again. In non-pandemic times, support groups often fade a little in the spring and summer but bounce back in the Fall. Watch for planning meetings, or create something yourself! It doesn’t have to be complicated (maybe I’ll do an entire podcast on how to set up group activities in your community! It’s so doable - and you get to control the calendar!!)If you’re new, I really recommend my Jumping Into Unschooling Course. I’ve laid everything out in a way that will really help you walk away with a steady foundation!
I hope you have fabulous adventures with your kids! The membership program and the course are awesome ways to get more support as YOU figure all this out. Reach out - and I’ll talk to you again next week.
Let's Get More Support for You!
We read things like this, feel inspired, and then the next day, something shakes our resolve. We're not so confident any more.
That's why you need a community!
Maybe just for one month - maybe for the whole journey! You can come get support and stay as long as you need to. I'm happy to help you!
Knowledge + Support + Unschooling Success!
And here's what the Membership offers:
- 10 group coaching calls every month
- Members-only webpages with Unschooling Guides, PDFs, Recordings
- An experienced unschooling coach walking right there beside you.