Category Archives: freedom

Freedom, Fear, and Unschooling

After I left school and started unschooling,  I had freedom, I put my trust in myself, and  I did a lot of healing work. Still there was a fear inside me that took me years to be fully aware of and make the choice not to let it control my actions.

Recently I rediscovered a poem I wrote during my second year of homeschooling/unschooling in high school, when I was about 17 years old that surprisingly addresses this fear.

In the beginning of the poem I say:

But once the song’s over or the race is done
I’m just me again:
Scared shitless
Living heartless
Terrified of investing myself
In something or someone else

(You can read the whole thing here.)

I had trouble convincing people about unschooling, freedom, and their ability to direct their own lives partly because of my own emotional wounds regarding the subject. But I realized years later I also had a fear of being effective, fear of success, in talking to people about freedom and unschooling. There was an element of self-sabotage involved.

There was a part of me that knew it was possible I could very effective in talking about these subjects: I could help inspire people to leave school, or let their children leave school, have freedom, be trusted, and pursue their dreams.

That would be a truly wonderful thing and have so much meaning to me. For some reason, I think because of, not in spite of, that fact it’s also very scary. I’ve found that:

The more meaning something has to a person, the scarier it can be.

The more meaning something has the more painful the disappointments can be. You can feel pressure and new responsibility. With real success your life can change. And I always try to remember when I feel anxious:

Change, even if it’s good change, can be scary.

Writing these blog posts about unschooling, freedom, trust, diversity, and healing, then hearing how some have connected with them and been appreciative of them has had so much meaning to me! I’ve also definitely felt some fear and anxiety: I’ve heard from my toxic voice as my uncle Robert Gerzon calls it.

But the other thoughts that have come to my mind are:

“I love my life!” and “I feel free. I feel like writing is setting me free.”

More and more I’m letting parts of my true self come out and be heard. And it feels good! It feels like it’s taken years and epic journeys to get to this point, actually.

I guess it’s good to remember that when I feel disappointed or frustrated that there aren’t more people trying to learn and live in freedom or pursue what has meaning to them when they do have freedom: it takes time and is challenging.

Still, I hope that in talking about my own experiences it encourages others to make the choice to be free, the choice to use their freedom, the choice to follow what has meaning to them, and finally, the choice to do what has meaning to them regardless of fears that may stand in their way.


Filed under adult unschoolers, change the world, freedom, homeschooling, lifestyle design, unschooling, worldschooling

Freedom, Healing, and Unschooling

A very important part of my homeschooling/unschooling was doing healing work. The freedom of unschooling allowed me to go through so much healing, some of it simply from being out of the school environment, some of it more direct.

When people talk about the “decompression” stage where young people leave school, start unschooling, and appear to “do nothing” for awhile, I think it’s really about healing. Below the surface, the motivation, self-confidence, and self-respect that was damaged in school is being healed.Trust is being developed.

First prompted by physical health problems, during those three years of unschooling in high school I did all sorts of healing work. I gave a speech at the end of those three years in which I said:

Healing can be anything, not just talk therapy, vitamins, pills, or homeopathy. Anything that makes you feel good, not in a superficial way but in a deep way, is healing.

I’ve done some weird healing over the years. You’ve heard of acupuncture? I did something like it, only weirder. You’ve heard of homeopathy? I did something like it, only a lot weirder. But simply things like walking through the woods have worked wonders for me.

(BTW: The weird accupuncture was Tong Ren Healing by Tom Tam. And the weird homeopathy was “flower essences“. Call me a hippie, but it helped.)

Working on an organic farm and doing wilderness education was also a major source of healing.

Unschooling, homeschooling, and healing relate to each other in my mind because I think you can’t really have freedom, do what you want, and follow your interests if you have deep wounds that need tending to.

I’ve found from personal experience that many of our actions can be controlled by pain that we may not even be conscious of.

When I started unschooling I really wanted to help people discover unschooling and the fact that they could direct their own lives. But I had so many wounds regarding that subject that whenever I talked about it I was angry, argumentative,  and probably scared away people who might have actually been open to the idea.

And this was definitely not just about school. There were many wounds I had to heal from my family and the world around me. We inherit a lot from our families and I think the tragedies and injustices around the world affect us all on some level.

We are all connected.

It seems many families go through a healing journey during the unschooling and deschooling process. Still, not many homeschooling or unschooling advocates seem to talk specifically about healing.

I was happy to discover the website of Venus Taylor an African-American homeschooling/unschooling mom I know from the Boston area: She writes some beautiful posts about relationships and parenting.

Though she doesn’t use the term “radical unschooling” she gently expresses some of the same wisdom regarding parenting.

I didn’t have to do the same sort of healing as she did, I still really relate to and am moved by the gratitude she expresses in her most recent post:

Today, I celebrate every one and everything that helped me survive, cross over, stay sane.  Every mentor, every songwriter, every author, every teacher – some I have thanked personally, others may not know me or remember me.  By shining the light of love, they were a beacon of hope for a little girl lost.

I know that I wouldn’t have the life I have without the support, guidance, and role modeling of my mother, other family and friends, and many artists and authors who have shone their truth, beauty, and love.

Thank you.



Filed under beautiful art, decompression, freedom, growth, healing, homeschooling, unschooling