Thursday, March 22, 2012

The James Family—Doug, Karen and Ethan (9)

This note arrived May 13:
I feel very sad to say that our family won't be able to make it to the ALL gathering in Massachusetts this May. We were all really looking forward to coming. My uncle passed away this morning. The funeral will be held that same weekend in Montreal, Canada.

Doug and I met over 20 years ago. We married ten years ago, and had our son, Ethan a year after we wed. Attachment parenting came naturally (but not necessarily easily) to both of us.

When Ethan was 4, he attended a coop nursery school three mornings a week. We had just moved to Ithaca, NY, and this seemed like a nice way to meet new friends and to help us jump into our new community. Most days, I stayed with him at the school, helping out the teachers and the children where they needed me, and making myself available for Ethan.

When Ethan finished nursery school at five, he was finished with school. He was very clear about that. He had fun at his
nursery school, but he didnʼt want to go to kindergarten, and we didnʼt want to make him. For the first couple months of our “kindergarten” year at home, I planned a few activities every day, but it soon became clear that what Ethan needed was someone to support his explorations, not plan his day.

I began reading more about unschooling. It has taken me a long time to deschool. I think I still have a ways to go, but I can now clearly see and appreciate the learning in everything we do. Doug has always been very supportive, and I believe we make great partners in this unschooling journey together. Ethan loves his life, and that has been a fabulous incentive for us both.

Doug is a professor of computer science at Cornell University. He studied physics, applied math and computer science during his undergraduate and graduate years in Canada. I studied visual arts and english literature. I am an artist. Both Doug and I have maintained a love of learning and curious natures. Although going through school in a conventional manner, we were both highly motivated to pursue each our own interests in each our own unique ways. We are best friends, and have long enjoyed
playing together. We have a happy home, and feel quite blessed.

I donʼt remember when I started reading on the Always Learning List, but I do know that it has changed the way I parent for the better in so many ways. Consequently, it has changed me for the better in so many ways as well. I am excited, and a bit nervous, to meet some of the people who have written such inspirational, yet humbling, revelations on parenting and learning. As well, I am looking forward to meeting families that live as we do. Doug is looking forward to meeting the people I am always talking about.

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