Yesterday in my office, looking for something else, I found the original of this art. I had no idea where it had been, and I didn't think it was on website. I was right.
This morning, looking for some old code for a plain date count-down, I found the art. Its name was "carnival2." Ah… a blog carnival! So I looked around the code on that page and found a link to a blog, poked around, found it from a phrase… That's a lot of moves, and it's surprising that I found the art (on paper) AND online (by coincidence) in a short space of time and of… space.
I had responded to a blog carnival with a piece of art and one sentence full of links. It was August 2006. They linked me back to here: Trust and Freedom for Unschooling.
I slowed way down on my use of "freedom" after it was so misundersood and abused by other families whose lives were not freedom on top of learning, but freedom (it seemed) without regard to learning. Freedom to live without enrichment. Freedom to live without closeness with thougtful, attentive parents.
But my children did have lots of choices, and leeway, and options, and parents helping them safely navigate their explorations.
In the same "test" file with lots of snippets of html code and notes where the "everything" art was, I found another piece of writing about my fears and my confidence, as an unschooling parent, regarding my children. Just recently there was a chat on fears, and I hadn't remembered having written this:
I used to worry strongly about what would happen if I died, when my kids were eight and ten and unschooled. I was very fearful of leaving them in the lurch partway through the project. But as each has turned 14, give or take a year, the whole worry flowed out of me regarding that child. Each of them blossomed HUGELY right after the rough early puberty, and I think that right at this moment any of them would make it fine without parents. I wouldn't think the same of the schooled teens I know around me, who are suspicious and resentful of adults, who avoid eye contact and have learned to just say what they have to say to get adults to ignore them too.
My kids are, by contrast, direct and cheery, honest and responsible.
Often I'll look at them through the lens of something I'm reading about or thinking, or a period movie I've watched. Could the boys be sailors or soldiers if they were in another place and time? Easily. They would be among the best, if they had good reason to go and do those things. Either of them, right now, would make good parents. Holly's still a little young, at 13, but there are times in which she'd've been in the early stages of arranged marriages, and could she do that? Yes. She's physically young, but she's emotionally and mentally more aware of social issues and human factors than many adults, and she's not thinking maybe she understands it, she knows she has some clear understandings.
That feeling of fakery and fraud that people have talked about for the past few decades seems absent in these kids. What they don't know doesn't scare them, and what they do know is solid.
photo by Jasmine McNeill
in Camden Market
Found it! Always Learning, July 2005.
So here's a photo of Holly that Spring: