Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Eileen and George Mahowald

We are the Mahowald’s. I am Eileen and my partner of 23 years is George. We share in the joy of our family and have 3 children. Felix is our 12 year old son and Ericka and Carly are our 9 year old “fraternal” twin daughters.

I am nurturing and a lover of learning and creativity. I enjoy spending time at home where I play with Feng Shui and love tending to house plants.

As a young person I took care of toddlers for years and thought I might like to be a teacher. I became a hairdresser by trade and a few years later after my mother’s untimely death, I studied the Liberal Arts. English Literature and my love of Studio Art became my focus as I earned a Bachelor’s degree. College for me was a space for healing and George supported my pursuits.

I am grateful to have learned to relish the joy of my children’s personal growth and learning without an attachment to my ego (something learned through radical uschooling writers). As we began our homeschooling journey Felix’s abilities became somewhat trophy like to George and I. I am ever grateful to Joyce Fetteroll (and with researching countless others), as her site gave me the recharge and new tools for parenting and partnership. Our controlling ways had eroded Felix’s natural learning and our relationship with him as we began to learn to home school. Soon, we began to see that school at home was detrimental to our family. I was able to regain joy as I implemented the ideas in Joyce’s writings which then led me to Sandra’s voice and that of so many others!

Sandra helped me recognize the bullying style I sometimes use as I relate with George. We were at Great Big Happy Life in NJ when Sandra stated how appalled she was to hear how someone spoke to their husband. Immediately and regardless of whether it actually was me, I saw myself in this mirror. I read about the importance of marital relationships on the Always Learning list and it has become cornerstone to my confidence in the hope for success in radical unschooling within my family.

It is usually easy for me to extend space and peace to my children but more challenging to do this for George. My eyes are wide open to this as a result of Sandra’s outspoken honest ways. My understanding of radical unschooling has led me to a learning connection to meditation and my personal practice has become a new tool.

Sometimes, I am shy / awkward in social settings (interestingly I have usually paired myself with very outgoing friends and wait till you meet George, LOL). I am always excited to meet other families who share a common interest and of course kids for my kids to play with. There is much learning to be had in our family’s journey and the support we garner. I look forward to spend time among Sandra, Joyce, Meredith and Brie and the many unschoolers who have chosen to spend their weekend together.

George is an optimist and a happy-go-lucky guy. He is adventuresome and creative in his life approach to most everything. He is a connector of people and a great resource to many. Always looking to the future George has found and created a lifestyle for himself and our family that is admirable. He was laid off from his employer 5 years ago as the economy began to slump and has worked diligently, building his partnership in his current business. It is fascinating for me to see him operate and it is a privilege to have him work from home. We have had the pleasure to tag along on many business trips and daily we hear the communications with clients and the many people he engages with. George likes downhill ski racing, tennis, rowing, kayaking and bicycling. George loves Harp music, practicing yoga, organic gardening, good food and the Arts. He is a great dad and a loving husband.

George and I are proud to be approaching our 20th year of marriage. Radical Unschooling as a philosophy has improved our marriage and our relationships with our children. The generosity of ideas and what I consider wisdom gathered on Joyce Fetteroll’s “Joyfully Rejoycing” website and Sandra Dodd’s “Always Learning” list, “Just Add Light & Stir” blog have been my most trusted and inspirational sources for clarity.

Our ways of being have become sweeter (on a good day) as we cultivate our process of living a life of learning in an environment that brings joy and peace to each of us. We now have a greater awareness of how to nurture learning, peacefully because of the efforts of fellow radical unschoolers like Meredith Novak and Brie Jonty who share their ideas and continue the dialogue and discussions that take the principles to real scenarios of radical unschooling with school-aged kids.

Felix is interested in Geography. He has created several versions of the game Risk. His precision and attention to detail is awesome. These games are a work of art. Felix is very happy in hours of solitary endeavor and is a sociable guy. He loves Metropolitan areas and talks of living in Manhattan, Cambridge or Chicago. He loves the night, Skype and video games, Ebay, Youtube and things Macabre. Daytime activities include cops and robbers on bikes in the neighborhood, the made up version of Hunger Games and wrestling on the trampoline. He loves to have friends over to hang out.

Ericka’s creative imagination and communication skills lend themselves to hours of play in original games and fun with friends. Ericka likes frozen strawberries, to play outdoors, jump on the trampoline and loves animals. She is a soccer player, has played Dorothy in a local play and is great with expressing herself. She loves to make things with paper, recycled material and tape. She loves ATC cards and playing cards. She adores the companionship of her Dad.

Carly loves to be close to me. It is an honor for me to meet this need as I recall the same trait in myself as a kid and cherish the memories of closeness to my own mother. Carly draws beautifully and her style has evolved with lots of amazing design elements. She is my super neat and organized babe. She and Ericka sing together often. Carly has dabbled with the ukulele, tennis and is a gorgeous swimmer. She loves to play outdoors with friends and has a bunny named Summer. Carly prefers to wear her hair short, looking Chic and garners lots of compliments with her style. She recently drew a small two girl motif that I blew up poster size that I am inspired to transfer to a large canvas for a larger than life painting.

We are frequently complimented on the demeanor of our family when we are out in public as I think folks see that we enjoy our zest for life and our relaxed way of interacting with one another. We very much look forward to meeting everyone at the conference.

No comments:

Post a Comment