Perspective: Looking back, looking around

I started reading this list ten years ago when I was pregnant with my second, my son. I can't believe ten years has gone by. He's nine, my daughter is twelve, but when I started here they were both babies. They have never been in school. It's impossible to overstate what a tremendous impact this list has had on my family and on our lives. There are so many struggles I hear other homeschooling families talking about that we have completely avoided, and with barely any awareness of doing so, just by applying the principles here; the food control struggles, the sleep/bedtime struggles, the video game/"screen time" issues, the "trying to get them to do their work/chores/workbook" issues. Man, all I can think when I hear moms ranting about these things is what a waste of time.

I have used Joyce's questions of "if my husband said this to me, would I feel like our marriage was just getting better and better?" (haha, I love that) a million times. I have used Sandra's philosophy of making this moment sparkly fun sweet, a million times. I have heard Pam S. and her daughter's calm voices in my head a million times (we met at a Live and Learn conference, I'm sure they don't remember :) ). "What would Sandra do right now?" has crossed my mind so often I need a bumper sticker. Our lives are completely different as a result of my quiet lurking here.

For those starting out, worried that the kids won't read or the "how do you do math" question: Both my kids learned to read, effortlessly, with zero instruction beyond a few Sesame Street episodes and me reading and spelling anything they wanted me to. They get historical references. They have large vocabularies. My daughter reads novels for fun now. In our state there is mandatory year-end testing and my son tests off the charts in math (video games!), my daughter right at grade level, despite never "doing math". I say this, not because I put stock in those tests, but because it's a kind of external proof to those who do that the kids are doing fine, you don't have to teach reading or do math to get it, at least not at this level. In-laws are pacified by such test results and keep their comments mostly to themselves as a result. Really, you don't have to worry about that stuff, as long as their lives are interesting and full of cool things.

More importantly, we just have so much FUN. The kids are super busy with their projects and interests and friends. They are funny, generous, smart, articulate, interesting people stoked to get up in the morning and get to it. I just really love our life. And all of this is a result of a major overhaul in myself of how to do this parenting thing, how to be in relationship with my family, all as a direct result of what I've read here on this list, plus Pam Larrichia's books, and Rue Kream's book (LOVE), and Joyce's site, and listening to conference mp3s.... Not to mention the benefit my marriage has received.

I can't thank you all enough. And I'm still here, a decade in, reading. I should post, give back, we're just so busy. But thank you thank you thank you. Sandra, you have created a tremendous thing here. Thank you for your time and generous kindness.

—Maya, on Always Learning, December 26, 2014

Creating an Unschooling Nest More on perspective (when it's harder to find, perhaps) Read a little...
"Your perspective will change when you've experienced new things, seen the world from a different place. " —Debbie Regan