We moved from Wonderland at the weekend. We’re temporarily camping in the spare room at the outlaws place until we finish The Shed & can move our stuff up there (a whole 100 metres!).
Being that we were busy, we didn’t have a lot of time to really focus on the sproggets. They helped pack things & they amused themselves with the ramp up to the trailer when heavy things weren’t being loaded on it, they were involved, but we were all mostly preoccupied with moving.
Last night, when we had finally flopped in to bed after moving everything & cleaning Wonderland, The Bubble told me she needed to chat, not sleep. I asked her what she wanted to chat about.
“When I’m a big kid I can go to school.”
My heart stopped.
I believe so strongly that unschooling is the right approach for our family, and yet I know we’re not “doing it” to the best of our ability at the moment.
I know. I know. There’s no way to “do it” right but in this new town where we know no one, where there is no prominent unschooling community, where even the general homeschooling group doesn’t meet regularly for unstructured play, I have to admit I’m very worried about socialisation.
The Bubble is lonely. She wants to play with other children. She wants to play with the same children regularly. She wants to make friends. Real friends, who know her by name, who she knows by name, friends who she can get to know.
I take them to several program days. We go to “play in the park” Tuesdays, Rhyme Time at the Library (more for Babyman’s benefit – he LOVES it) Wednesdays & Fridays, story time at the Library Thursdays, the monthly museum program for 1-5 year olds (this Wednesday is the next one) but it just doesn’t feel enough because there’s no other unschoolers there.
After the sproggets were asleep last night, with heavy hearts Bean & I spoke again about our family’s future.
We’re both in agreeance that this place doesn’t feel like the right place for our family long term. Right now, it is probably a good place, with our new plan to live (rent free) in The Shed we’ll be able to wipe our debt, which will make a huge difference to our wellbeing. We’re keeping open minds & open hearts, we’re open to the possibility of that sentiment changing, while also very much looking forward to the end of Bean’s apprenticeship.
We are looking forward to traveling, to looking for “our place”. Maybe traveling will show us that this is our place? I have a feeling I know where our place is though, & that place is not here. It’s not even close to here.
I know, wherever our place ends up being, it has to be a place where other unschoolers are easy to find. It has to be a place where the sproggets can find community, because they really, really need it. My poor, lonesome children.
While I know this isn’t enough (yet?) to kill our passion for unschooling, it’s certainly weakened my resolve. I don’t want my children to feel so lonely & isolated.
The learning is still happening, naturally. Most of the time I don’t even notice it until The Bubble makes a statement of fact & I wonder where, when & how she came to know that? Babyman’s vocabulary is expanding daily. He’s able to express his needs & wants very effectively both verbally & non-verbally.
I just wish there wasn’t such a big void where community could be.