Radical Mothering

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Posted March 14, 2022 by

There are only so many times I can say that we have ‘no typical day’ and then not elaborate on that – so I figured it might be fun to take you all through a ‘typical week’ – although of course, there’s no such thing as a typical week! Ha! But I think a whole week gets a little closer to including the range of possibilities, as well as our overall rhythm (which is semi-intentional, and also kind of just happens) than one single day does. So, before it is wiped entirely from my memory, I’m going to take you […]

Posted March 6, 2022 by

Learning slowly means the children are playing and I call them over to have breakfast. We eat pancakes while I read aloud from a new book they are excited about. They intervene with questions and exclamations and we wonder about things out loud and promise to look them up. I make a mental note to find videos about the largest underground cave in the world. It’s 18 times as big as the 02 arena in London, we find out. They want one more pancake each and more reading – did you know that the Greenland Whale is thought to live […]

Posted January 20, 2022 by

The last few weeks I’ve been on a deep dive into the research and science around learning to read (and literacy more broadly), on a small quiet mission to try to figure out how it applies to my self-directed children, and how it can apply to children who are home educated in an informal, consent-based manner (which includes unschooled, self-directed children, but also any eclectic homeschoolers and others). One point of contention is whether including an awareness of phonemes, phonograms and phonics, is a necessary component of learning to read, AND of further literacy development leading to skilled reading. I […]

Posted December 20, 2021 by

This is a hard truth. I might diligently observe, I might ask questions and be present, I might think I know a lot about how children learn, but I will never *fully* know what a child is learning. They are the expert on themselves! This is why documenting learning, in ALL settings, only gets us so far. We are sorely mistaken if we believe that we can accurately and completely say what a child knows and can do at any given time. I wrote a while back about how, for those of us who either have to or like to […]

Posted July 29, 2021 by

The adult gaze is a tool of oppression and control.  My definition of the adult gaze is inspired by the male gaze, a phrase coined by the feminist and film critic Laura Mulvey , which describes the way women in the media are viewed and represented from a heterosexual male perspective.  The adult gaze, for me, derives from this concept but is much broader. It means the way adults watch, weigh up and evaluate children; the way adults bring all of their social conditioning and project it onto children; the way children are viewed, represented and portrayed by adults; and […]

Posted July 14, 2021 by

Let’s start with what unschooling is NOT. Unschooling is not unlimited freedom. Not only is unlimited freedom virtually impossible, it’s also not actually what freedom means. By definition, my freedom HAS to end where yours begins. Otherwise, I would be free and you wouldn’t, and that would not be a free society; it would be selective freedom.  Unschooling is not selective freedom, because freedom, by definition, is not selective (see above). By extension, this also means that freedom, by definition, means freedom of ALL people. The alternative is an unfree family, community, society, nation, world. You cannot care about freedom […]

Posted July 1, 2021 by

You can download this post as a pdf here, or read the full post below. Conventionally, deschooling has been the domain of home educators and radical thinkers. I believe it can benefit everyone.  Even more conventionally, it has referred to the adjustment period for a child between taking them out of school and starting to home educate. This is valuable, and important. It is this concept that led John Holt to coin the term unschooling – hoping it would be a clearer term (debatable). In this post, I’m only going to look at deschooling ourselves (the adults). I will give […]

Posted June 13, 2021 by

This may be an unpopular view in unschooling circles, but we have things we won’t sacrifice for the sake of freedom. There’s a lot of focus on free children in unschooling – have you noticed? A lot. At first glance, it may even seem like freedom is the main thing. And I think it was initially, and still is for many. John Holt and others who were writing last century certainly advocated that children be free, as their over-arching principle, although often freedom isn’t really defined, and sometimes comes from a libertarian perspective where the human right to individual freedom trumps […]

Posted June 5, 2021 by

For a period of time after beginning to home educate I settled on consent-based education as a description of what I was aiming for and what I believed education and parenting should ideally be, for us. Since then, and sliding closer and closer to unschooling (the slipperiest slope of all!), I’ve had more thoughts about this. I still believe that consent-based as a general principle is an absolute necessity in all education settings, and all settings for that matter (children AND adults!). Consent is important because every one of us, children included, is a person with the right to be […]

Posted May 28, 2021 by

Can our children be in charge of their education? Should they make big decisions about their own lives? Do these things truly belong to them, and them alone? I don’t think there is a straightforward answer to that, but I would like to say that overwhelmingly, yes, they should. Realizing this was a slow process for me, rather than a sudden realization, and I will admit there are still moments when I think, Wait a minute, are we sure this is right? It’s easy to doubt and second-guess yourself when the overwhelming narrative is: Children are incapable of making big […]