Sometimes people think unschooling is a bit of a free for all. Let’s do what we want! Anytime! Anywhere!
Of course, it may work for some, but most definitely not for us. I mean, don’t we all have our routines and things we would really like to be a certain way? And don’t these things change over time as we change and grow as people? And with a larger average family, and the type of people we are, we just need at least some kind of regular routine. I hate the idea of not being effective with our time.
With a young family, we are currently trying to get back into some kind of a balanced routine. The past couple of years have been a bit mad, hectic and stressful. Often it’s like 2 steps forwards, 3 steps back! We seem to be making progress though!
And just to clarify, a routine for us is not about exact times and exact things to be doing (unless we have a scheduled appointment/class). It’s more about working with our natural and daily habits and constantly tweaking things until we feel we have a happy balance.
The things that we are doing or trying to do:
- Think About Work Less - we run a growing business, mostly from home. I find it incredibly hard to switch off. Then I end up feeling guilty that I don’t focus more on home, the kids and myself. Then I give myself a hard time and become somewhat unhappy. I then kick myself in the butt to get positive again so I can restart the cycle. I’m aware I need to think about it less, and I am taking action towards that.
- Finding me time: I’m simply not good at this. Though I’m proud at the fact that I’ve kept up my running 2-3 times a week. That really is my only me time I ever get. I hate it when I neglect my unschooling activities and research. I desperately want to be doing more of it. It always inspires and energises me. But other things keep pulling me away. Now that I have childcare help on Mondays (#happyrosie!), I can spend time on my unschooling blog/writing/activities instead of working away into the night. Yay.
- Finding one on one time: with each of the kids, and my husband. We spend alot of time together, but not always enough doing things one on one. I have so many things I’d like to be doing with my children! I often become quite unhappy with myself when I literally don’t get the chance to do things with them.
- Finding childcare and home help: we’ve struggled with this the most. We’ve had let down after let down with nannies, it’s incredibly infuriating. To the extent that we just gave up. We currently have a cleaner that comes once a week and now our youngest (not quite 2 yet) goes to a childminder for 3 days a week. It’s hard to any get work done or spend any one on one time with the others when she’s around. We hope it is for the best! In a year she will most likely start at a local Montessori nursery that all her older brothers have attended.
- Defining our rules: we don’t sit down and say, ‘right, these are the rules!’. It’s more of a case of working with each other as a family, adapt, growing and understanding each others needs. Things are always changing. Kids start doing new things. Other things come to a natural end. Typically we draw the line somewhere when one of us gets stressed out about something 🙂
I don’t know how others feel, but during our almost 4 year journey of unschooling I don’t think we’ve ever felt like we’ve achieved a routine that we feel we will stick with. It’s not because we are miserable failures (!), but it’s more a case of that life just goes on and our family, needs and desires constantly change so we find ourselves adapting in the forever attraction of happiness and balance!