Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Deschooling



"Deschooling is a process of getting used to learning as a family without the external control of a school system. Some call it a decompression time, or a vacation. Generally, it involves doing less schoolwork and more life work, less judging and more exploring, less have-tos and more want-tos. Deschooling is moving toward a life where everyone is happy and learning."

—From Deschooling Gently by Tammy Takahashi

Elizabeth is deschooling with her youngest child. The process sounds immensely healing. I think I might take that quote she posted on her blog yesterday, and apply it to myself, substituting corporate America for the school system and trusting that my taking time to decompress, my suspension of harsh self-talk, my patient exploring, will lead to "a life where everyone is happy and learning." A life in which I can rest in the silver lining of being job eliminated almost two months ago now—and believe me, I am resisting the voice in my head saying Two months! Why are you still lollygagging!—the silver being the sense that I once again own myself, I direct my own life, I can show up as entirely my own person. This sense brings a lightness of being even on those days when I give in to worry and the age-old conditioning instilled by my well-intentioned civil servant upbringing, a conditioning that says one must align oneself with what is established as opposed to striking out into the unknown. The unknown is dangerous, risky, unpredictable. Cleave to what is safe.

On the other hand, one could argue that everything precious on this earth has been wrought by souls daring to brave the unknown. Everything established was once uncreated and undreamed. I think Elizabeth is giving her son the most wonderful gift—the experience and the knowing that the established paths are not the only routes to a desired and desirable destination. One can lay down new paths across untrammeled fields, and discover answers to questions we don't even know to ask. All it takes (all!) is a willingness to look fear and convention in the face, to breathe deep and step into the possibilities.

I'm deschooling, y'all.

And thank you, Elizabeth, for giving me a frame. 

I'm not entirely beyond needing that. Yet.



10 comments:

  1. This makes an incredible amount of sense. And to be completely pragmatic about it, that which was once considered the safest route is obviously and truthfully not so now.
    So there's that too.
    I applaud both you and Elizabeth for bravely stepping off of the mainstream path and forging your own way.
    Scary? Oh hell yes. But I think in the long run, completely and utterly worth it.

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    1. Thanks, dear Mary. That Elizabeth is a leader among women, isn't she?

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    2. I'll second both of you here!

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  2. I am a huge doer of nothing, I spend hours and days just reading, not sure if this is the same thing?

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    1. J, I actually think we've been brainwashed to think just reading is doing nothing, when in fact, as my dad liked to say, reading gives us access to the whole world! Nice to see you.

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  3. it's damn hard, this deschooling thing--as adults--to feel okay about trusting our intuition, of letting our interests and curiosity lead us rather than our so well-honed sense of obligation and responsibility. but it is a thousand times worth it; we learn to listen to ourselves instead of that chorus of harpies we allowed to take residence inside our heads. we are always going to be "good" girls, angella; we'll bring home our share of the bacon. but we'll do it our own way. there is no better role model for our kids :)

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  4. Well, this makes me smile. We can from henceforth keep assuring one another that we're not insane and that all will be well!

    In all seriousness, doesn't it just resonate in your gut like nothing else?

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  5. You've probably heard of Vivian Maier, but if you haven't - http://www.webburgr.com/vivian_maier/. Very interesting.

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  6. You all are definitely not insane and when you get to the point that you really *feel* learning is happening all the time and everywhere and not just, or even mainly when one is doing "schooly" things, when you get to really *fee*l that living is not just about following the paths laid out, when you are not just telling yourself that it's true but know that it's true - you'll be in a different place forever.

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  7. This is very beautiful. Elizabeth's decision stirred strong emotions in me as well, but until I read this, I didn't understand exactly why. You are so right. ". . .everything precious on this earth has been wrought by souls daring to brave the unknown."--just perfect and beautifully expressed. I think of the goddess Kali, who destroyed worlds and recreated them.

    Like Elizabeth said, this resonates in my gut.

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