Wednesday, November 2, 2011

More stories & Updates: Unschooler in Art School/College...

From October 7, 2011:

Today: Jake is coming home from college. He had a difficult week in NYC, as he
was very sick with this awful cold... then he got pink eye... and he had way
more work than he normally has... And I am just grateful that he gets to leave
it all behind and come home to our love and peace and healing and serenity and
all that Home is for this family.

He has been having an AMAZING time in college. There are many challenges, as
well. I'd say that most of the challenges come from having lived such a
beautiful, free, authentic life for all of his 21 years... ~ that's not the
challenge itself... the challenge is that NO ONE ELSE has lived a beautiful,
free, authentic life for all of their years!!

And so when he focuses on his classes ~ which he LOOOVES ~ and when he has plans
to get together with the two or three friends (girls) that he has made (who are
deep and radical and out-of-the-box-thinkers), then he is fantastic. When he is
*idle* (which is not often, thankfully), he starts questioning EVERYTHING,
starts missing HOME, and doesn't know why he's there. The hardest time that he
has is waking up there, because his heart just misses HOME so much ~ and man, I
Get That. Even when we are all vacationing together, we have a difficult time
waking up in places that are not *Home*... So yeah ~ I completely understand
his mornings being the most difficult time for him.

I validate validate validate. And then I empower him. I am learning how to
flow in this new space of validating and empowering and nurturing and
encouraging and listening and assisting... Because I Know My Boy and
ohmygoodness... all that this experience IS is exactly what he has WANTED,
exactly what he had ASKED FOR, EXACTLY what he attracted into his life.

And he is just SHINING in his classes. HE is the one who is interested in
everything the professors have to say. He is the one who meets with them in
between classes to make sure he is doing the assignments right. He is the one
who is ABSORBING EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING!!! He is the one who does his homework
as SOON as it is assigned because he wants to make sure he gets it done and done
right and isn't stressing over doing it later on. His world expands 1,000X each
week, and the stories he comes home with are just so filled with HUGE

The very first week he was there, one of his Illustration classes had an
assignment to create an original CREATURE. A CREATURE!! THIS IS WHAT JAKE HAS
OF HIS LIFE!! They had to draw one, and then they had to sculpt it and paint
it. Jake LOVES this particular professor... he always talks (to the entire
class) about how Jake already has developed a fantastic, unique and individual
style of art (he has seen Jake's own work) and he always lets it be known that
he wants to PRESERVE and PROTECT that. In fact, he's always open to Jake's
suggestions in classes.

Last week, the professor had a model hold a gun and the students had to draw and
*illustrate* that in any way they wanted to. Jake excitedly told me about how
he was going to have a flower coming out of the gun and incorporate his lovely
creatures in the drawing. When he was in class sketching it out, he realized
that it looked kind of like a band's gig poster (backing up a little bit... Jake
has been SO drawn to band posters lately ~ I bought him two books of them for
his birthday, and in a facebook status this week he wrote a message to the
Universe, letting it be known that he wanted to make gig posters for a living!).
He told the professor about his desire to make gig posters, and the professor
gave that to Jake as his assignment. No one else ~ just Jake. Jake is to turn
this assignment into a gig poster.


We are grateful that we are only 3 hours away and he gets to come home and
connect with his family and de-city on our mountaintop 10 acres every weekend.
It helps him to get through the weeks by enVisioning his life *after* FIT ~
where he is able to live at home (he wants to build a house/art studio on our
land) AND do his work AND have a place in NYC. Others have a difficult time
understanding why he wants to come home every weekend... but ~ again ~ they just
don't *get it*. And Jake has become so STRONG in his KNOWING that his
connection to Home and Family is THE most fantastic thing in his life, instead
of thinking that it's something to apologize for or be embarrassed about (not
that he ever felt that way, but this is the first time he's SHARED this with
other people and that's how *they* may perceive it, because they couldn't WAIT
to leave home and be away at college and go partying without their parents

ANYhoo... we are all learning how to Be when Jake is home... we are all learning
how to BE when Jake is in the city... and we are learning what to do to ease the
transitions and celebrate both the being home and the being away. It is all so
so good, even when it is difficult.

Sam. I have to say that I do LOVE being home alone with Sam. I have more
energy to BE with him without Jake here (and anyone who knows me knows that I am
not saying this in a bashing way about Jake at ALL ~ it's just the way it is...
Jake has always been the one who has PULLED my energy right out of me because of
what I have to do to BE there for him, to help him navigate the waters of
life!!) and we are enJoying the silences and the conversations that are just
OURS. It seems there is more space now for Sam to Shine, because Jake is just
so full of so much GOODNESS that it tends to suck it out from the rest of us at
times, lol!! But now there is space for our own definitions of life and
goodness and connections and we are feeling it all out and exploring and really
loving it.

And then when Jake is home on the weekends, we all kind of flow together ~ we
don't go back to the way we were... we take Who We Are Now and we flow and swirl
and weave together in these new spaces in which we have claimed, into which we
have grown. It's really really so lovely. Jake and Sam just talk talk talk
talk talk all of the time when they are home together. And Jake sleeeeeps. And
Jake tells his city stories. And we tell our stories of Home and our lives.
And we all smile and learn and grow and love. Have I mentioned how fabulous it
is??...even the difficult parts??


I started my children's library program again and am LOOOOVING it SO much.
Mostly because I am at a new place, personally ~ I have grown in the two years
since I stopped doing my program. I have learned how to do things more SIMPLY.
I have learned more about *letting go* and I have learned what is the most
important thing about that weekly gathering that I have at the library ~ just
BE-ing there for the kids. My whole schedule has been simplified, I don't
stress so much over the lack of good books to read (seriously ~ I check out
about 20 books, review them at home, and end up with 3 or 4 that I want to read
to the kids), and the crafts are much more simple (mostly because the age-group
for my program this time around is 6 and under... even though the older
un/homeschooled kids who used to come when THEY were 6 and under still come and
I so love that because they are my friends and they are so excited about HELPING
me!). Anyway... I don't invest so much of my entire week into it, and I am
rewarded in so many ways for creating this space where children can gather to
play, read, and craft and Be Celebrated.

Be Well.

Unschooling College, so far...

From August 23, 2011:

Again ~ SO much to say, to share... but I only have a moment to share this:
Jake is showing his friends how to unschool college orientation!

From the first moment when we saw the orientation schedule, we were rolling our
eyes. OhMYGod~ such ridiculousness and time-wasters. And yet on their facebook
page, FIT was telling students that EVERYTHING in orientation was mandatory (they
never really seem to *know* much of anything on their facebook page, and I
always "argue" with them... we always joke about how they would be waiting for
me when we come to bring Jake, saying, "You can stay, but your mother has to
leave..." ;). Jake was feeling stressed about this ~ he is CHOOSING to go to
college for the wonderful classes that FIT has (as well as the *growth*
opportunities that happen in choosing this path). This entire silly orientation was not a part of his
choosing. And yet we kept walking Trust... And I knew
deep down that there was no way they could keep track of every student and say
things were mandatory...

So we all talked about it throughout Jake's move-in a feel from other
people about what they thought, shared our thoughts and opinions with Jake's
friends and suite-mates... and it was decided that Jake would go to the very
first scheduled *meet-up* in case there was a check-in. Jake had made a
reeeeeally good friend on facebook, someone with whom he has very deep
conversations about FEEEEELINGS (just what Jake needs in a friend!), and someone
who was also feeling very sad about leaving her family. We had coffees together
that morning before they set off to see what was going on with the orientation.

Jake got to his group and immediately knew it was Not For Him (and
goodness...Dave and I went to the bookstore and saw the groups and it reminded
me of when Jake was little and did his first *group* thing and he knew in his
heart that it was not for him... and he walked away from *that* one way back
then). The "student ambassador" got out a beach ball and said they would throw
it around and whoever caught it would say their name and their major. Jake
Walked Away. In fact, he walked over to Emily's group and kept mouthing to her,
"YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE HERE!!" She is a schooled girl, so she didn't know what
to make of Jake's suggestion that she just LEAVE after being TOLD to BE THERE!!
But she worked up the courage and she Just Did It!! And as she walked away, she
heard people saying, "She must not have been in the right group..." ;)

They walked away and we LIVED!! We walked to Best Buy to get Jake a TV antennae
and then we walked to Eataly to have lunch. When we were at Eataly, Jake got a
text from his roommate, who wrote: "You were so right. Orientation sucks. I'm
leaving and going to Brooklyn to do the IKEA thing and get stuff for our room."
Back at FIT, we ran into Jake's suite-mate, who said (about orientation), "You
were right! That was so stupid...there is no way that is mandatory and I am not
going back." We encouraged him to follow his heart and just LIVE in that
fabulous city while others are listening to yet another boring blah blah blah
welcome speech by the zillionth person, playing silly *getting to know you
games* that actually do not make ANY "real" connections, or standing around
waiting, waiting, waiting, while OTHERS ask questions to which you already know
the answer. Life and the City Await.

After Eataly, Dave and I (sadly...very very sad for *all* of us...) left. Jake
said he went to his room, cried for five minutes, then got up, and he and Emily
decided to distract themselves from missing their families and go to Brooklyn
and explore. HAD I BEEN THERE, I would have been all, "Here's a map... do you
have money??... see if there's anything on the orientation schedule that you
WANT to go to..." ... but no... I was NOT there... and he left his map up in his
room and yes he did have cash and no, there was nothing on the schedule the rest
of the day that was remotely interesting to him (he had checked). And I was
gifted with photos of their lovely adventures... they took the subway there and
back... they met up with Jake's roommate and suite-mate at a cafe (I was gifted
with a text containing a photo of a very lovely fish taco!)... and they hung out
in a peaceful park with the view of the Manhattan skyline in front of them.

Today, there is something on the orientation schedule that Jake wants to do at
1:40. Until then, he and Emily are walking the Highline together, and then he
is going back to the college to learn about things that he WANTS to learn about
(like how to get his mail, etc.) and then WHO KNOWS WHERE THE DAY WILL
FLOW??!!?!! That's the key to unschooling ~ allowing *life* to show you its
infinite possibilities!!!

All is well.

Dear Younger Jake...

From July 12, 2011 (Jake is 20 years old here)

Dear younger-Jake,

You don't have to worry. You grow up and you become able to express all of those
really cool ideas that you have and you still love Pokemon.

You don't forget how beautiful the world is, or want to do any less good.

You most certainly still retain your love of monsters, and you remember what it
feels like to be small, and to always wash your hands.

Just so you know.