Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Schooling with Choices & Respect

I have all of these thoughts as I sit down to write this. Our daughter and I had a very meaningful conversation last night. She is 13. I feel blessed she was able to come to me, blessed she felt comfortable to speak with me openly. At one point during our conversation she got up, ready to leave, ready to walk away from us speaking- I re adjusted my words, my tone, took a deep breath...she stayed. No matter how you school, how you parent, the type of person, mother, father you are- parenting is hard. Hard.

I believe when I parent I look back on my time working for a Charter School years and years ago, who had an innovated goal- to work side by side with children, to treat children with as much respect as you would a colleague, a peer, to be equals, to be role models. Their goal was to change their way of thinking that most adults or teachers or people have that children are meant to listen to adults, do what they are told. They believed children, students should have their own say in their education, their lives, speak openly, speak respectfully, make choices, have choices. As an aide in the school, at recess there was no yelling across the field at a child to get down off some equipment that was dangerous- adults would walk to that child, speak calmly, speak on their level, eye to eye, explain thoroughly and respectfully regarding the reasons the child was being asked to come down, the reasons for the danger- educate the child to make good choices, then give them the freedom to choose whether or not to come down. Its a whole different feel when the child feels truly respected in an open and loving equal environment. It was a remarkable experience that opened my eyes. I try and take pieces of my experiences to hopefully parent better, parent more respectfully, parent more openly.

Our conversation between my daughter and I steamed from our schooling choices. We school by letting our children choose the direction of their education by their interests. At any point we are flexible to school any other way as well...any way they need. The beauty of homeschooling- schooling to your child's needs, the way they learn.  Our daughter voiced just that- voiced that if we are doing this based on their choices why are we..meaning me, as her mother, limiting her choices or influencing her choices so much. True. Respectful, honest conversation. I need to respect her and her choices as much as I ask respect from her towards me. We think we as parents are meant to teach our children, yet they teach us so much through life as well. We went back and forth- her voicing her opinion and telling me what she needed from me and me telling her why I felt certain things were important and telling her what I needed from her.

Compromise, love, understanding, respect.

Even though I don't understand why some things are so important to her and ask her to study more variety, she has voiced that at this point only these certain things are important and that's not to say other things won't come up that she has interest in but she just doesn't at the moment- and I've got to be okay with that and respect that. I should have from the start- but I needed that reminder from my own child to be respectful and have faith and trust in her and our way of educating.  A great lesson learned. And at the end of the conversation she thanked me...for listening, for really hearing her, for having faith in her and she expressed does understand what I need from her, she does realize why some things are important to have and she's willing to compromise with me as long as I also listen to her.  Always daughter of mine, always.

I believe we both learned from each other last night, and as we grow and learn we only bond closer.

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