Friday, December 10, 2004

late nights

So, I've been wanting to blog all week, and I even wrote down some themes, but I just haven't had the time, energy or focus. Excuses, excuses.

The boys didn't get to sleep until 10 tonight (or last night or the night before), so that's when I dragged myself out of bed to finally talk to my husband, who'd been at a school/work function all evening. We need to be up early tomorrow to go to our friends' for a work party, and I should probably have followed him back to bed an hour ago. But sometimes, late at night -- when the house is finally quiet and I've had time to just read e-mail for a while and veg out -- is the best time for new thoughts and ideas to emerge. Thus, the insistence of radical unschoolers that parent-enforced bedtimes for children are anathema to creativity and learning in freedom.

Monday night Scott and I went to hear and meet some unschooling gurus (experienced unschooling moms) speak. The time we spent was interesting, but I wished I could have stayed into the wee hours, when the non-unschoolers were done asking about the basics and we could really discuss the philosophy of living and learning with our children more freely.

The punk rock family on Wife Swap this week was a good example of that. They didn't call themselves unschoolers per se, but they lived in joy and freedom with each other, and the teen-aged children "homeschooled themselves." I don't think I've mentioned my obsession with Wife Swap. I haven't had a favorite TV show in years. And I know some people think Wife Swap is annoying. But I find it fascinating how differently people can live, and how they react when put in a totally new environment. I would love to do it just to see what kind of family they would send me to, but obviously the boys couldn't handle me leaving for that long this young, and I wouldn't want to subject them to the coercion of a stranger at any age.

But just for fun, I've thought about what my opposite would be like. My mom says it would be someone with a nanny and a housekeeper who gets weekly manicures and pedicures. My sister says it would be a family who is isolated from relatives and close friends. Whoever it was would certainly have to adjust to frequent knocks on the door from unplanned visitors!

For example -- and not an unusual one -- within a period of 15 minutes yesterday morning, we opened to the door to my neighbor and her kids, who promptly entered and tripled the volume of noise in the house, then my sister, who I think was looking for food, and then Carla (the only expected visitor of the three), who needed a ride to work. I took my secondborn with me, and left the rest of the kids and my neighbor friend to the chaos.

Maybe I'd get a family where the dad did all the cleaning, or maybe the dad would be a nit-picky perfectionist who only supervised -- since Scott neither cleans nor cares, for the most part.

I'd probably get a family where the parents micro-manage the children, expect obedience without question, enforce a strict schedule, and depend on outsiders to determine what their children should be learning. I wouldn't have to go far.

What do you think would be my opposite?
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