Tuesday, September 14, 2010

the 3rd leg

I've been thinking lately that there is another leg beginning to form outside of the realms of traditional brick and mortar schooling and un/homeschooling. A leg that is connected to our communities and relevant to our real day to day lives.

I've been trying to formulate this vision to my local un/homeschoolers lately and the resistance that I feel from them is almost as frustrating as the resistance I feel from schoolers. Most of my un/homeschool friends in local life and on twitter are into being anti social or shall I say anti group or perhaps anti community. There seems to be a deep fear of intimacy and connection amongst homeschoolers. I can't and don't want to relate to it. I've been haunted by this for the last several months. I've been taking the steps to start to form a collaborative community learning collective that embodies the best of both worlds (something like a free school, purple thistle, daytime only sumerhill and of course, un/homeschooling.) I have received mostly disinterest from my homeschool friends. Most of them say things like, "We all choose homeschooling for different reasons," or "I'm not a group commitment person, that's why we homeschool" or even worse "What can they (facilitators/mentors) do that we can't?" Oy vey.

It was timely today when one of my favorite un/homeschool superstars, Scott Noelle author of the Daily Groove posted this message to our little un/homeschooled world:


So... What is the one thing most of us are sorely missing?

In a word: tribe.

While I am always the first and last person to say that the problems we face are best solved from the inside out, I keep bumping into an undeniable fact: Our biggest problems are made bigger (if not caused) by the social structures and norms that arise from our culture of alienation.

We are "social animals" living in artificial environments that are antisocial by design. From housing to commerce to family structures to legal systems, too much of modern life reflects the values of separation, competition, suspicion, and "every man for himself" instead of connection, creativity, trust, and partnership.

We've come to accept this as normal. It's "just the way things are." And most of us are able to adapt well enough and make the best of it... That is, until we have children!

Children come into the world biologically pre-programmed with a lot of needs that were easily met in the social environment to which our species adapted — the tribe. But children's needs (and thus parents' needs, too) are extremely difficult to meet in a society where isolated nuclear families are expected to substitute for the village it takes to raise a child.

Nice try... but one or two parents do not a village make.

Now imagine a community where you not only know your neighbors, but you know them intimately and you feel safe being completely authentic with them. Where you never feel the drain of being "social" because the social you and the real you are one and the same. Where everyone feels relaxed about giving and receiving support — including parenting support — which flows and balances organically without keeping score. Where the desperate need for "time to myself" disappears as evolved social structures eliminate the need for self-sacrifice.

You may now be wondering if I'm going to start advising people to don loincloths and relocate to the nearest jungle, or form communes, or build "intentional communities." The answer is no, no, and no. Those paths may be right for many families, but I'm still committed to the process of transformation from the inside out.

I will continue to promote inside-out strategies -and- I'm going to start integrating the vision and spirit of tribe more directly into my teaching and support services.

(More to come...)

~ Scott Noelle

What do you think? Are you interested in a more social, authentic, community based version of un/homeschooling or regular schooling? Would you like to see and experience something radically different? I would.


futureselfnow said...

hi amanda.
i commend you for being a pioneer in thought and action, and want to tell you that i totally resonate with what you've shared. (in addition to the link you shared). it is precisely community that is lacking. and as was implied in the link you shared, I believe a big reason people resist community, which is to say, resist intimacy, is because of people's inability to maintain their authentic selves amongst others. conscious, evolved, authentic, emotionally healthy, & intimate-capable individuals...do not an unschooling parent automatically make. i feel you, and i encourage you to keep with your vision you've expressed here. times are a-changin. we are out here......

Cindy Marie Jenkins said...

It's so true that community and need for some sort of "tribe" is inherent, even to an introvert like me! I love your blog and am excited to read more about you and your son's journey.