During my years (yes, years!) of deschooling, as I journeyed towards really getting unschooling, I
struggled with one main question:
How much should I do? How much should I suggest and offer ideas and activities?
I couldn't get my head around it. I was learning to trust that my children would learn from living life, I
was learning to set them free... but I wasn't sure how much to "let them be," and how much to
suggest ideas for activities and outings, etc. How active should my role be? When I heard about the concept of
"strewing" I realized I had found my answer! The problem was how I went about doing it.
I would take them to the library... and get frustrated if they only wanted to borrow DVDs instead of
"all those interesting books".
We would end up coming home with piles of borrowed material anyway. Lots of it would not be looked at...
and I would comment on what a waste it was.
I would leave an interesting (to me) library book opened on the coffee table and it would often stay
untouched... and I would sigh.
I would suggest an outing or activity and the response would often be, "Ah, no, I'm not really
interested," or "Maybe"... and my heart would sink. I had been hoping for something more like,
"Yeah, Mum, that's an awesome idea!"
For ages I was completely unaware that when they responded without the enthusiasm I'd hoped for, I would
subconsciously do my "magical maneuver": a super-subtle eyeroll that was invisible to me, but very
visible to them. They could sense it somehow, and hear the almost-silent sigh. They knew.
They knew I was not happy with their response. That what I was offering was something I really wanted them
to want to do. If they didn't respond with boundless enthusiasm, I took it personally. I judged their choice
as "less than". I really thought they should do it, or at least want to do it.
Expectations and "Should-ness"
But "should-ness" is soul sapping. Maybe their lackluster enthusiasm was because of the
attachment I unknowingly had to the activity, or perhaps they honestly just weren't interested.
Either way, my subtle response was not so subtle in its damaging effect on their deschooling journey. And
it was damaging to me: my trust would decrease and my frustration would increase. I had this picture in my
head of what our life outside of school should look like, and their responses to my occasional suggestions
weren't in keeping with my idea!