Yesterday, I scrolled through my blog archive hoping to find some inspiration for a podcast. I went back through a year’s worth of posts before discovering two unpublished stories about teenagers. I decided to share them in this week’s podcast, episode 119.
The first post is called What to Do When Unschooling Kids Reach the Teenage Years. At the time of writing, I was doing my annual reassessment: Would I continue blogging for another year? (Yes, the same old story!) I asked my daughter Imogen’s opinion and we ended up talking not only about blogging but teenagers as well.
I never got around to giving the second post a title. Maybe I could call it Can We Trust Teenagers to Make the Right Choices? Or perhaps Why We Don’t Need to Make Rules for Unschooling Teenagers. Or…? I might think about this a bit more and then publish the post. In the meantime, you can read the first story here in this blog post and hear both stories by listening to episode 119.
This week, I’m talking about:
- The progress of my unschooling book
- How unschooling transforms families
- Duty and love
- Supporting young adults
- How it’s hard to admit mistakes and change what we’re doing
- How it’s never too late to unschool
- Possible reasons why there’s a shortage of older unschooling bloggers
- Why we don’t need to make rules for our teenagers in order to keep them safe from the dangers of the world
What to Do When Unschooling Kids Reach the Teenage Years
It’s the Monday before Christmas. I’m sitting in a cafe with my daughter Imogen. While we sip coffee, we chat about our plans for next year. Will I continue to blog about unschooling in 2017?
“There are lots of good unschooling blogs written by younger mothers,” I tell Imogen. “I sometimes wonder if I should move onto something else.”
I describe how these bloggers are well informed and passionate. They write about unschooling and gentle parenting, sharing all the ideas they’re putting into action with their own children. They have built up big communities around their blogs. Other mothers can obviously relate to their posts.
Sometimes I’m envious of these bloggers. They seem to have very clear ideas about parenting and education. When I was at their stage of life, I spent a lot of time experimenting and failing and starting again. I certainly didn’t have any ideas worth sharing with others. I wouldn’t have been a good role model for other mothers, unlike the younger unschooling bloggers who are coming along behind me. Yes, they’re doing a great job spreading the word about unschooling. So perhaps it’s time for me to move onto something else.
Or maybe it’s not.
“Yesterday, I received a lovely Facebook message from someone who has just discovered my blog,” I say to Imogen. “She was delighted to discover my blog because there aren’t that many bloggers writing about teenage and older unschoolers, especially Australian ones.”
So why is there a shortage of older unschooling bloggers?
“I’m really fortunate,” I say to Imogen. “Many bloggers stop writing about their kids when they become teenagers. Their children no longer want their lives to be out there in public. But you don’t mind me writing about you. You even let me interview you. I can post photos. Without you, I wouldn’t have much of a blog.”
Yes, maybe many unschooling bloggers stop writing when their children reach the teenage years because of privacy issues.
But could there be another reason as well?
“I bet some unschoolers stop blogging because they stop unschooling,” suggests Imogen. “It’s fairly easy unschooling when kids are small. There seems to be a lot of time ahead. Why not relax and enjoy life? Then when a child becomes a teenager, things become serious. Parents start thinking about the future. Will their kids get into uni, get a job, have a successful life? They begin to put pressure on their kids to make up their minds about what they want to do. They are no longer happy for them to follow their interests in a relaxed way. ”
“One day everything is okay. And then suddenly, just because they’ve reached a certain age, things change?”
“Did I put pressure on you when you became a teenager?” I ask.
“Oh no,” says Imogen. “Life just continued on as normal.”
“There was no need to change? Unschooling prepares everyone for the future?”
“So what would you say to a parent who wants to know what she should do now her child has reached the teenage years?”
Imogen says, “Keep trusting.”
Day by day, gradually and naturally, our kids are growing into the people they are meant to be. They will get there. All we have to do is live one day at a time. Keep trusting.
And don’t jump ship.
In a month’s time, we’ll have another teenager in our family. What will we do? For the 8th time, we’ll celebrate a 13th birthday. And then the next day, life will go back to normal. We’ll continue living life one day at a time.
Imogen and I have been chatting about me and my plans for 2017. Now I ask,”So what do you want to do next year?”
What was Imogen’s answer? No doubt, you’ll find out what she told me when I write about her plans in future posts.
Future posts? Yes, I think I’ll continue to blog. Could there still be a place in the unschooling community for an older blogger with teenage and young adult children? What do you think?
In this episode, I ask the question: Is it okay if I sometimes share blog stories in my podcasts? Perhaps I can make some story episodes while I’m busy working on my unschooling book? Or is that cheating? I’d love to hear your opinion!