Many years ago I fell in love with a pair of soft golden-brown leather moccasins. They were decorated with tassels, threaded with tiny glass beads. Those shoes were absolutely beautiful and as soon as I saw them in the shop, I wanted them.
There was only one tiny problem: They were half a size too small. I soon convinced myself the shoes would stretch once I started wearing them. I was sure I could put up with slightly cramped toes until they grew to the perfect size. So I bought them.
But the shoes refused to grow. One day, after yet again peeling them off my very sore toes, I reluctantly faced the fact they were never going to fit my feet. I should have left them in the shop. Those gorgeous moccasins were the perfect fit for someone, but not me.
It’s hard when something looks absolutely perfect and then you have to admit it doesn’t fit properly. All that hope turns into disappointment. It doesn’t just happen with shoes. It can happen with homeschooling too.
I remember reading book after book about Charlotte Mason. Her way of education looked perfect. Living books sounded very attractive. I just knew we were going to read book after book after book. Of course my children would eagerly narrate back every single one of them. I could just imagine the beautiful nature notebooks my children were going to put together. And short lessons? That made perfect sense.
Except Charlotte Mason wasn’t perfect for my children. Although they loved reading living books, they didn’t like narrating. Our nature books never filled up because we hardly ever went on a nature walk. And no one liked it when I looked at the clock and then shouted, “Time to move on to the next lesson!” just as they started to get involved with whatever we were doing. Soon we all became very uncomfortable, and I had to admit this method didn’t fit our family at all. I reluctantly let go of my Charlotte Mason dream and went looking for something else.
We tried classical homeschooling and unit studies and I even glanced at the Robinson curriculum, among other things. Each method beckoned me, trying to convince me that it was the perfect way to educate my children. And there was something about each one I liked. But each time, after valiantly trying to do as required, I had to admit these methods weren’t for us.
Of course one day I stopped trying to make other people’s homeschooling methods fit my children. I gave up and instead we quietly ‘did our own thing’. Our own thing turned out to be unschooling.
So we tossed off those restricting methods that weren’t meant for us, and now we’re free. We’re walking bare-footed. Bare-footed unschooling? Doesn’t that sound good?
We’re wriggling our toes in the warm sun. We’re digging our feet deep into the damp sand. We’re running without shoes over the springy grass. We’re dipping our toes into cool water, and splashing in puddles. We’re living life. Our life. Unschooling is a perfect fit.
Those beautiful moccasins weren’t the only uncomfortable shoes I ever wore. I used to totter on high heels, suffer pinched toes in pointy shoes, shuffle along in flip-flop thongs which refused to stay on my feet, increase my height on top of platform shoes…
Somewhere along the way I became sensible (or perhaps boring). Now I refuse to wear anything other than flat comfortable shoes like my favourite Doc Marten boots or my ballet flats or my lace-up canvas sneakers.
Of course if I’m not going out, I wear my bare feet. I like wriggling my toes and feeling free. Don’t you?
You could visit my Stories of an Unschooling Family FACEBOOK page to read all the extra blog stuff.
Or take a look at my children’s novel, The Angels of Abbey Creek, on Lulu, Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Or listen to one of my podcasts.
Or just stop to chat about your favourite shoes!