Mistwalking Mama

I've been loosely following the recent flurry of posts on an un-schooling yahoo group about being ready to un-school. Reading the responses has caused me to remember, just six months ago, when I was sitting in the hallway at my daughter's school. We had just left school office, where the guidance counselor had told Sophia that she should toughen up, teasing was just going to get worse next year in middle school.

There I sat, on a bench by the front door, with my beautiful 11-year-old daughter clinging to me like I was her life boat and she were in the middle of the ocean surrounded by sharks. My bright beautiful girl had never been clingy before in her life. What was going on here?

We'd been trying to figure out how to deal with all of the teasing and bullying at school, and we had come to the end of the line. I sat there and thought to myself, if I were to make her go back into the classroom, if I were to make her be near that kid who was teasing her and bullying her and was in every single class with her, then I would be forcing her to live with her abuser. Now, I know that the kid who was teasing her was in over his head, all kids are in school - too many kids, too few parents. But, from Sophia's point of view, sending her back into that classroom would be teaching her do something I NEVER want her to learn - silently suffer abuse - NO WAY.

So, I sat there with her.

I breathed.

I looked.

I looked at the kids and the teacher, the windows and the sun light shinning onto the polished floors.

I looked at the front door.

And, I thought to myself, I can walk out of here with her.

I can walk out with her and never come back.

I can home-school.

And, so, the week before winter vacation started and without having said a thing to my husband, I walked out of the city's best elementary school holding my daughter's hand. And, together we began our homeschooling adventure.

That afternoon, I picked up my son from the same school. I shared my plans with him and asked if he'd like to join us in homeschooling. And, over the course of the week, he came to the decision to home-school too.

We then discovered un-schooling two months later - and I am ever so grateful. This approach is helping to heal relationships that were damaged over the past several years.

In the midst of the first month of unschooling my husband broke down - Elli, this feels so crazy. Elli, you can't work and I need you to make money. Elli, we've got the family bed in our room again.

I listened to his fear, let him rage, and again, I breathed.

I held to my truths - that un-schooling is delicious beyond belief, that my kids and I crave time together and that this was the best thing for all of us, that we had things to recover from and things to discover together, that we needed to slow down, that the Universe would deliver.

I can tell you, though, that sunny morning that I sat in my daughter's school and came to the realization that I could leave it all behind, felt to me like I was on the top floor of a skyscraper and that I had decided the best thing to do next was to open a window and walk out onto the mist.

I am so glad that I listened to my heart and not my head!!!