PSYCH-K FAQs

What is PSYCH-K?FreeYourMindBird

It is a unique and direct way to change subconscious beliefs that perpetuate old, unwanted habits of thought, self-talk and behavior. It uses muscle testing + simple processes that help you communicate with your subconscious mind and change beliefs that limit your ability to realize your full potential in life.


quotation02_reversed-minHow can PSYCH-K help me?

Your subconscious programming establishes the limits of what you can achieve. 

Affirmations and other self-deveolpment tools (including Psychotherapy) help effect change at the conscious level, but often they don’t TOTALLY change our previous patterns or release ALL of our wounds from past emotional or psychological trauma. To effect change in long held patterns of behavior and thought, we must change our subconscious programming which is held in the subconscious mind in the form of beliefs.

If you are experiencing limits in creating the life you desire, chances are you have a conflict between your conscious goals and your subconscious programming. This kind of conflict can show up in your relationships, self-esteem, career, prosperity, body image, physical health and more. PSYCH-K identifies and changes your limiting subconscious beliefs so they are more in alignment with your conscious goals, thereby releasing blocks to achieving those goals.


How does PSYCH-K work?

PSYCH-K is a unique process evolving from years of brain research and hundreds of sessions with individuals and groups. It creates a receptive, “Whole-Brain State” that dramatically reduces resistance to change in the subconscious mind. The PSYCH-K muscle testing and change processes (called “Balances”) work as a kind of ‘touch screen interface’ that enable us to communicate with the subconscious mind and re-write the subconscious programming that we’ve received throughout our lives from family, authority figures, institutions, the culture at large and direct life experience.


What is a PSYCH-K Balance?

A PSYCH-K Balance is a process designed to create balanced communication with both hemispheres of the cerebral cortex. This “Whole-Brain State” is ideal for reprogramming the subconscious mind with new self-enhancing beliefs that support your goals rather than block them. The PSYCH-K facilitator uses muscle testing to determine the type of Balance your subconscious mind needs in order to access the old programming and change it. There are 7 different variations in the Balance processes.

To see an example of a Psych-K Balance, go to the 50 minute mark in this video:


How is PSYCH-K different from Hypnotherapy?
(This answer is from a Certified PSYCH-K Instructor who is also a Certified Hypnotherapist)

Hypnosis places authority in the therapist, while PSYCH-K gives equal or greater authority to the partner (client).

Hypnosis usually requires a trance state, while PSYCH-K works without such a state.

Hypnosis may have no spiritual foundation, depending on the therapist. PSYCH-K is always a spiritual process because it’s designed that way.

Hypnosis usually has no permission protocols; it’s assumed to be helpful. In PSYCH-K there are always spiritual permission protocols, i.e., contact with your Higher-Self via muscle testing, so we ensure that your belief changes are in your highest and best good, and are not well intentioned, but misguided goals, that can actually make things worse, rather than better.

In hypnosis the partner or client must disclose often painful or embarrassing personal information. In PSYCH-K, this information can remain private if the partner prefers.

PSYCH-K is more of a team process between partner and facilitator, more “do with” rather than “do to.”

At least three hypnotherapists also trained in PSYCH-K say that they typically get the same or better results in half the time (or less) using PSYCH-K instead of hypnotherapy.


What if there is not a PSYCH-K Facilitator near me?

Sessions can be done via phone, FaceTime or Skype.


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But I thought we ALREADY deschooled . . .

In Home Education circles Deschooling has two meanings – both important – yet very different in scope and process.

Deschooling is often referred to as the initial period of transitioning from school to home education: allowing kids (and parents) to decompress after leaving the “rat race.”  Taking a break from everything academic and relieving any pressure that school put on the family.  Many consider it a finite period and once a family is “done” then they can really get busy with their chosen style of home education and never look back.

But Deschooling is much, much more if you’d like to Unschool successfully. 
In this context Deschooling is the process of letting go of our schoolish “programing” and the beliefs that our upbringing and culture have instilled in us.

The first Deschooling link below includes the popular formula: “1 month of Deschooling for every year the child [or parent] was in school,” but I’ve found that for many people it takes MUCH longer.  And it can vary depending on the kind of experiences or trauma that a person had in school (or even later in life surrounding education.)

Parents are usually the ones who need to deschool the most.  We are the ones who have lived in this “culture of school” the longest.  Most of us spent our entire childhoods and young-adulthoods in school, so deschooling can take us WAY longer than the formula above.

Deschooling can be challenging for parents . . .

  • even if we have spent MUCH time and effort learning about and understanding Unschooling
  • even if we have consciously let go of the “schooling” we received in our youth
  • even if we have been Unschooling successfully without “incident” for years

For our whole lives we have been steeped in a culture that values “academic” activities over other activities that children enjoy.  We are overtly bombarded AND subtly influenced by beliefs and judgements that support the dominant culture full of “shoulds” and deadlines (i.e. age 6 for reading, age 18 for adulthood) that are totally antithetical to the natural unfolding of the process of Unschooling.

It’s very common for long time unschoolers to think we are “done” letting go of our school-ish beliefs and then ***BAM*** our kids hit a certain age/milestone or our mother-in-law makes a comment that shows us we’re not quite done after all.  The resulting negative feelings we have show us that we still have some doubts, fears or anxiety about Unschooling and about allowing our kids to TRULY follow their interests without judgment, coercion or otherwise inserting ourselves in their process.  Sometimes these doubts can be released by reading, conscious reflection and further “letting go.”  Sometimes schooly beliefs are held deep in our subconscious and it takes more effort to change them.

(If you’re having trouble with a certain belief you can’t seem to shake here is a list of techniques that myself and others have found useful for changing stubborn subconscious beliefs.)

Parents’ willingness or resistance to the process of Deschooling CAN have an effect on how easily our kids’ transition from School to Home Education, or from School-at-Home to Unschooling.  It will DEFINITELY have an effect on the Unschooling lifestyle once the transition period is over (or even if there never was a transition period because they’ve been Unschooling since birth.)

Our doubts, fears and anxieties about the things our kids are doing or NOT doing are REALLY caused by our residual “schooly” beliefs.  The more willing we are to explore that connection, the easier it is to work with those beliefs and continue the process of letting go.

My advice: Go easy on yourself.  You are undoing decades of habit and societal programing.  Just continue to read and reflect.  Observe your children as objectively as possible and practice REALLY listening to them.  They are showing us the way.

My favorite deschooling practice and one I recommend often to new and experienced Unschoolers alike, is this:

 

Anytime I notice doubts, fears or anxieties about my kids’ education or development I take that as a reminder to focus inward and work on another layer of deschooling myself.  When those negative emotions above tempt me to “meddle” in their process of Unschooling, I instead take action to further MY process of Deschooling.

Here are some great descriptions of Deschooling from the Unschooling Mom 2 Mom group on Facebook.  The first is from Linda Wyatt:

“Deschooling has less to do with what kids DO, than it does with how the family is THINKING and FEELING about learning. That’s what changes during deschooling. It isn’t some sort of temporary break from educational things, like a vacation, it’s a complete restructuring of perceptions of what learning IS, what it looks and feels like. 

This processing takes time. Sometimes LOTS of time. Even those of us who have been unschooling for a very long time occasionally find little “blips” of school-based thinking we had been hanging onto without realizing it, and need to clear those out.”  

And this from Brie Jontry:
‘[I] have been doing this long enough to also experience when something innocuous prompts me to step back and go, ‘wow! How did that fear/nervousness/clenchy feeling slip in there?’

A few years ago another long (long) time unschooling mom and I realized we stumbled over our kids being X age and not knowing how to ride a bike! Silly, right? Like there’s some window of learning for bike-riding. Or tying shoe laces! 

Recently, my child and I have been talking about deschooling as a model for de-gendering – noticing how ideas of binaries: either/or as the only possibilities (educational/entertainment) crop up in the ways we view the world, experiences, and the choices people make. 

Just like with ideas about gender, I think it’s a good idea to remain open to the possibility that your experiences – which for most of us include school – can (and probably will) crop up at various times in the background of our thinking and need some deeper exploration, in terms of bias, both conscious and unconscious. 

Something many of us have talked about at various times is the idea that we never finish deschooling, [which] could be helpful to keep in the background.”

Here is an eloquent post from my friend and co-moderator on Unschooling Special NeedsDelia Tetelman:
“Deschooling is a very mild description. For me it’s been like deprogramming. There are so many norms that I feel are branded into me like with a hot iron. I’ve had to peel the layers back slowly.

My acupunturist said today that in Eastern Medicine and Native cultures, body parts are not named after some male scientist, like Fallopian Tube, or Broca’s Area. In Western medicine, it’s all about the ego and recognition and not about the spirit and the purpose of nature.

The patriarchal and academic status quo exists throughout our culture. Challenging authority, especially patriarchal authority is difficult, and realizing that authority is not “science” or “nature” is even harder. My conclusion: it’s my children who are teaching me. I’m the one who is unlearning.”

Delia also compared Deschooling to Cult Deprogramming (!) in this post:
“Deprogramming someone out of a real cult is a process where the deprogrammer chips away at the false assumptions that the person has about the cult and exposes the cult’s lies and contradictions. It’s a process whereby the person goes from a ‘sacred regard’ for the cult, to a realization of the coercion and manipulation being used to control members. 

It’s useful to study the similarities of all cults which boils down to what is known as ideological totalism. After exiting a cult, a person has to rebuild his/her entire belief system and can often feel like they are “floating”. They feel lost, ungrounded, and still have emotional trauma.  

Although public school is not a cult, there are parallels. There is a whole unsubstantiated belief system behind it and participants are prohibited from going against it. Deschooling is allowing new thoughts about the assumptions that you’ve had drilled into you, and chipping away at them until you are free from the ideological constraint that your children must go to school and they must follow a curriculum or else they won’t be educated, i.e. ‘saved,’ or ‘enlightened.’  Freedom of thought should be a civil right, but if it were, we could sue public schools for violating it.”

More perspectives on Deschooling:

http://www.livingjoyfully.ca/…/what_is_deschooling.htm

http://sandradodd.com/deschooling/

http://unschoolery.com/de-schooling

http://www.naturalchild.org/jan_hunt/deschooling.html

Magical Powers of Creation

It’s been an interesting couple of months.

Since making the decision to become a Desire Map licensee and taking the leap to put myself out there and facilitate my own Desire Map gemFeelingsworkshops, things have been moving VERY fast.  It’s definitely a good sign and confirmation that I am firmly “in the flow” and fully connected to my higher self, my higher purpose and the work I am meant to do in the world.  But it’s pretty intense too!

Sometimes I feel like it’s all I can do to hold on for dear life!  I have a to-do list 10 miles long.  There is so much I WANT to do in the world.  But it’s actually stronger than just wanting – like I don’t have the desires – but the desires have ME!

So I just have to do my best to saddle up and try to direct this incredible flow of energy into something productive and helpful.  I feel like a little girl trying to maintain worthy-takecontrol of a fire hose.  The inspiration often comes faster than I can harness it and direct it.

THEN on top of all that, there is the nitty-gritty of putting on a workshop in May AND a Retreat in November.

So lately I’ve been “buckling down” to get some “serious work done” on these 2 upcoming events, and I’ve been baffled when it feels like I’m just spinning my wheels.  My internal dialogue is something like this:

“I’m so “in the flow” lately!  Why aren’t things flowing when I sit down to check things off of my to-do list? UGH! What is happening to me???”

The thing I keep forgetting is that NOTHING is happening TO me.  I’m creating this situation.  And I have the power to get back into the flow at any moment.

I recently heard something funny from a friend who’s a long time member of a well known 12 step program. He says he is a “proud member of the society of slow learners.”  Well I’m beginning to think I could be an honorary member.

How long have I KNOWN this truth that I am the creator of my reality?  Duh!!!

I’ve experienced the truth of that statement hundreds of times in the last 14 years.  In that course of time I’ve found my way back to “the flow” over and over and over again.  It’s a practice for sure, and I’m getting better, but for some reason these last few weeks I’ve been forgetting it and finding myself back in the old habits of UN-intentional creation: creating what I DON’T want rather than what I DO.  Luckily I’ve been able to find my way back – with my core desired feelings guiding the way.

***Sigh*** Maybe that puts me into the category of medium-paced learner?  Maybe.
Well at least that’s progress! 😉

One thing I’ve (very slowly) learned is that what others call “procrastination” is really just a “not yet” message for me.   I literally feel paralyzed like no amount of will power can get me to act on that looming project that I “should” be working on.  I’ve felt this sensation my entire life and when I have listened – when I have “caved” to the procrastination, things work out great!  I get to have fun in the moment AND the project falls perfectly into place – often at the last minute!  Not without some work on my part, but its feels almost effortless because it just flows so easily.  When I WAIT until I am TRULY inspired to act on a project, it really does come together SO much more easily and with SO much less effort than when I try to do it on a more “appropriate” time table.

So lately I’m staring up at a mountain of check lists, tasks and errands to make these Radiant Living events happen.  I’m feeling this procrastination paralysis and it takes every ounce of my will power to overcome that feeling and get “busy.”  And despite the fact that I KNOW what the procrastination feeling really means for me, I buckle down anyway and proceed to spin my wheels.  THEN I find myself allowing negative emotions drive my actions:

Fear that I won’t get everything done in time.

Guilt for wanting to blow off responsibilities in favor of fun.

Throw in a little PTSD from school and being repeatedly admonished for “waiting until the last minute,” and it’s all enough to get a girl firmly OUT of the divine flow of creative energy.

And never mind that I KNOW with all my heart and soul that these negative emotions are the LAST place from which I should be trying to create!

So as I’ve been noticing when this happens, I’ve kept the Desire Map and my core desired feelings (CDFs) in the forefront of my mind:  Flow. Connection. Freedom. Joy.  Despite my best efforts to “be a good girl” and get my work done before playing, my CDFs just keep leading me elsewhere.

First they led me to blow off my to-do list and get out the art supplies for some painting (inspired by this amazing artist that I stumbled upon.)  The paintings have become both a creative outlet AND a meditative practice that is helping me release the negative thoughts and get back into the flow.  Then my CDFs led me to spend money that I “shouldn’t” have spent on jewelry making supplies!  Working with Laura Akers on the Desire Pendants inspired me to finish some personal pieces I’d been envisioning for YEARS!

Another time recently my CDFs told me to ditch work and go looking for bugs in the backyard, or make “food art” with my 5 year old.  I’ve followed my feelings back to the dance floor where my husband and I met, but life got in the way of our dancing for the last 8 years!  I can’t even BEGIN to tell you how healing it’s been to get back to dancing,  But that’s a whole ‘nother blog post!

gem_reflects

The past few days, henna body art (inspired by the Truthbomb tattoo collection) has helped me get back into the flow of effortless creation.  Not only is it a creative outlet to get my juices flowing, but having my CDFs written on my body has given me the most potent reminders yet to keep me on track.  Seeing my henna CDFs in a crucial moment helped me to say NO to a social/familial obligation that just didn’t feel right.  I normally would have sucked it up and gone – but I this time I didn’t.  I took care of MY needs first and it felt GREAT!  CDF tattoos for the WIN!!!

As I have actively sought out my core desired feelings in ALL of my endeavors, I have focused on “have to’s” a lot less and focused on “want to’s” a lot more.  And the MAGICAL thing is that the details of the “have to’s” have been falling into place.  With very little effort!  The biggest effort involved was getting OUT of the rut of “responsibility” and “obligation” and into some things that others might consider “frivolous” or “selfish.”  But it turns out that THAT is where my power lies.  In doing the things that FEEL GOOD.

Each time I STOPPED TRYING SO HARD to do the “right” thing and decided to do the things that generated my core desired feelings, “the flow” started flowing again.
HELLO FIREHOSE!

And even if you’re not sure exactly what your core desired feelings are – even if you can’t quite put your finger on them, or find the right words to describe them yet . sqMagicalPowersOfCreation. . you can ALWAYS do SOMETHING to feel BETTER than you’re feeling right now.  You can take a nap, get out your glue gun and bedazzle some shit, take a walk, rearrange the furniture, watch mindless TV, meditate, go to dinner with friends, get a massage, have a cup of tea, play with your dog.  There are a MILLION things you can do that feel better than beating your head up against the wall of creating what you DON’T want.  And THAT’S where YOUR power lies.

 

Go do one of those things.
Let go of the guilt and the fear, and experience the magic!

If you want some help getting clarity on your CDFs, join us for the Desire Map workshop or grab the book and start mapping on your own.

Or join us in the Radiant Living with The Desire Map group to read more about my experience with the Desire Map – and share your own!
It really is a great tool for unleashing your MAGICAL POWERS of CREATION!

Happy Mapping!
Christina
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What does The Desire Map have to do with Unschooling?

For any of you who are wondering why you’re getting emails about this Desire Map thing-y when you signed up for an Unschooling conference, I wanted to share some specifics of how I’ve found The Desire Map to be a perfect tool to accompany Unschooling.

It also happens to be a great tool for navigating ANY area of life – and since living IS learning, any tools we find that make LIFE EASIER will make LEARNING EASIER!

We are drawn to Unschooling because we think that following this lifestyle will give us certain feelings.  (Maybe you’re seeking the feeling of freedom, or peace in the home, or feeling more connected to your kids, or . . .  YOU fill in the blank – there is NO wrong answer!)

The Desire Map can help us identify the core feelings we are seeking by choosing this lifestyle, and it shows us how to use those feelings to uncover the next logical steps on our Unschooling journeys.

Unschooling+DMUnschooing CANNOT happen successfully without a SUBSTANTIAL amount of Deschooling on the part of parents.  We have SO MUCH programming to undo from a LIFETIME of living in a culture that highly values the school centric model of education.  Not just 12 years of school programming, but MANY decades of cultural programming that runs DEEP.

Our culture takes for granted that education and learning happen a certain way and have to follow certain structures.  We collectively believe that academic subjects are more valuable than “non-academic” subjects, and that knowledge must be divided up into these “digestible” subjects for learning to even be possible!

I could go on and on with the cultural beliefs that Unschooling challenges, but I think we can all agree there are MANY.  Most of us need help with this process of Deschooling and of clarifying the steps that are best for our family to take to move toward Unschooling – since for most of us this it is uncharted territory!

Humans are in the habit (both consciously and subconsciously) of following the default cultural norms and ideas.  When we begin to let go of these beliefs that are so ingrained in our culture (and in us!) we can feel a little lost – floating out in a sea of endless possibilities which can be freeing, but also very overwhelming and frightening.

We can talk to other families or read about others’ Deschooling and Unschooling experiences and that can DEFINITELY be helpful, but invariably our lives and our children will present unique challenges.

Rather than relying on “external” answers from others or clinging to yet another educational or parenting “dogma,”  I’ve found that turning inward (and helping our kids do the same) is a MUCH more effective and efficient approach to creating the life we envision.

The Desire Map facilitates this process of turning inward.

It helps us dig deep to uncover the core desired feelings that we are hoping Unschooling will give us.  It helps us figure out how to USE our core desired feelings to guide our daily plans, to-do lists and actions.

And the good news is that when we let our feelings guide our daily actions, we actually accomplish our REAL goals (those feelings) RIGHT AWAY!  We don’t have to wait until we are “full fledged Unschoolers” or “perfect” parents to feel the way we want to feel.  We can feel that way NOW – even if it’s just in small, fleeting moments at first – we achieve “success” WAY before the grand goal is achieved.  And we can build on those small successes to feel the way we WANT to feel more and more and more often as the days go by.

As we use this process we find that we have to look outside of ourselves less and less for advice and guidance.  We HAVE the guidance we need – inside each one of us – and we can access it at any time in the form or our feelings.  When issues come up with Unschooling or parenting or anything else in life, we have a tool to figure out the next steps that are RIGHT for ourselves and our families.

How do our kids benefit?

Well aside from just the general benefits of Unschooling and a more peaceful home, our kids learn from our example. As we learn to access the inner guidance of our feelings, and begin to use them more and more to make decisions, our kids see us and learn how to do this as well.

(That is IF they even NEED to re-learn it – we are ALL born knowing how to do this, but it is trained out of most of us – and many of our kids need MUCH less help getting back to doing things this way).

As we learn to trust ourselves, it becomes easier and easier to trust our kids to guide their own lives and educations – even when the path they choose does not conform to societal and educational norms, timelines and expectations.

Now The Desire Map is certainly NOT the ONLY method of learning to access and use this inner guidance.

I’ve spent the last 14 years figuring out this process for myself to create the life and the feelings I desire.  It CAN be done in many different ways by following many different processes. (Believe me!  I’ve studied and pieced together MANY different philosophies to accomplish this!) 😉  But with The Desire Map, Danielle LaPorte has created a nurturing and self-affirming process to peel back the layers of our desires and uncover what it is at our core that drives us.  Then she helps us use these discoveries to guide our daily actions and ultimately accomplish our long term goals.

And once we’ve learned this Desire Map process, we can use it over and over as time goes on, as our desires grow and develop and as our family’s needs change.

So whether your goal is Unschooling or something else entirely, Desire Map can help us ALL dig down past our cultural conditioning of how “THEY” say we SHOULD be living, and find our core desired feelings that are telling us how to find a more authentic and enjoyable life – unique to each one of us!

If you’re interested in learning more about Radiant Living with The Desire Map, you can join our Facebook group for inspiration, to hear about my Desire Mapping process and to hear about upcoming Radiant Living with The Desire Map offerings.Unschooling with the Desire Map

I am planning in-person and virtual Desire Map workshops this spring and summer.  If you’re more of a “self-study” kind of person you can get the book and begin “Mapping” yourself now!

We would love to hear about your experiences with The Desire Map in the Facebook group.  It can be like a virtual Desire Map book club.

Ask questions.  Share your doubts and skepticism.  Share your joys.  Whatever feels good to share – share it!

I’m looking forward to what unfolds for all of us that decide to dive into this process!  If you’re drawn to The Desire Map at all, check it out here and let me know what you think! (email me HERE or message me on Facebook HERE.)

Heaps of Love,
Christina

Radiant Living with The Desire Map Unschooling Conference Intuition

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When was the last time someone asked you: “How do you want to feel”?

Dear Ones,TDM-LicenseeBadge-Vertical

I stumbled upon Danielle LaPorte a few years ago quite by accident but instantly I KNEW this woman would somehow have a HUGE impact on my life and my work.

Danielle’s work has helped me become more MYSELF, giving me courage to acknowledge my Life’s Purpose and claim my place as a teacher and “lightworker.”  Her work has helped me to clarify my goals and figure out my own unique way to achieve them.

So when I saw that Danielle had created a workshop based on her book, The Desire Map, I immediately said YES!
And I am super excited to share this wonderful tool with you.

The Desire Map is not just a book. It’s the flame that sparked a revolution of feeling good and living free.

Are you ready for soul liberation?

How about some Goals with Soul?

We go through our lives dreaming dreams, making plans and setting goals hoping that once we accomplish them we will finally feel the way we want to feel: Joy, Freedom, Peace, [Insert Your Favorite Positive Emotion Here].

The trouble is that we’re going about it backwards.

When we first get clear on how we want to feel (our “core desired feelings”) then THAT will inform our plans, our to-do lists, even what our dreams look like.  When we let our core desired feelings guide the way, we are able to stay on course – and find the RIGHT course to begin with!

Read more about The Desire Map on DanielleLaporte.com

Our first Radiant Living with The Desire Map Workshop in the Dallas area is in the works for May 16 & 17, 2015.  Registration is open until May 10th.

Shortly after the live workshop we will hold a virtual workshop for those of you that are far away.  

To find out when workshop details are announced, you can either join the Radiant Living with The Desire Map group on Facebook OR send me an email here.  I will make sure you get all the deets as soon as they’re settled! (edit: Here are the deets!)

If you’d like to check out The Desire Map book in the meantime, click here:
The Desire Map book.

NOTE:
Plan for aha’s and alleluias. After clarifying and declaring their core desired feelings, people have been known to make changes.

You may quit stuff, launch something, stand up, shine brighter, ask for more.

Looking forward to mapping with y’all!

Heaps of Love,
Christina

Screens, “Doing Nothing” and Being “Behind”

From a question in the Unschooling Special Needs group on Facebook.  Reposted here with permission from the original poster quoted.

The original question was (in part) about her child who Homeschooled for several years, but the struggle over school work was too much so she sent her child back to school.  He thrived for 2 years in “positive private schools,” but once he had to change to a public charter school, much of the progress he had made was lost.  They’ve begun Homeschooling again, but here’s what mom says about it:

“Homeschooling sucks. The only thing my son will do is listen to stories. He can read himself but will only do so at bedtime. It is video games and if I try to moderate and take him off he will literally do nothing all day. I have to be online a lot of the day and if he sees me online he wants to be able to use electronics too. I am so heartbroken . . . .  He is a zombie at home. And he is “behind” on a lot of math skills for his age.”

There was also a post from someone else in that group the day before, asking for help in letting go of arbitrary limits on “screen time.”  The problem for her was that even watching 1-3 shows seem to correlate with out of control tantrums.

Here’s my response to both of these posts:

Unschooling is trusting your child to show you the way they learn best – and then LISTENING TO and HONORING THAT.

If a child is drawn to screens it’s because they are getting something from it.  When we can look past the “evil screen” and see that the screen is actually a window to a wider world of experiences, it is easier to see what kids might be getting out of it, and see what they are learning from the activity that just happens to be delivered through this vehicle we call a screen. 

Now I know some people say the screen itself has negative neurological consequences for their child, and that might be true in the case of a very few kids with neurological differences or other special needs, but often times we parents blame the thing we don’t like for the behavior we don’t like. 

If we’re already biased against “screens” (or television content or video games or another “unacademic” thing) then it’s much more likely that we will see connections between that awful thing and the awful behavior or symptom.  When we can step back and more objectively look at the situation and behavior, it might become clear that there are many contributing factors, and screens might or might not be among them.

Another thing that often happens with a bias against screens (or anything else deemed “unacademic” like listening to a story instead of reading it) is that we will see activities involving screens as inferior to activities that are traditionally considered educational.  We will then blame these “unacademic” activities for any behavior or result that we perceive as negative.  (Doing nothing, being behind – again a judgement that seen through a different lens wouldn’t be negative.)

EVEN “special needs” kids can be trusted to show us how they learn best.  Even my “barely verbal” 7 year old who has yet to potty train and can tantrum like a PRO can show me what he needs.

But I’ve had to learn to listen in a different way than I would listen to my other kids (or really to every other human being I’ve ever dealt with in my life) so it’s a steep learning curve for ME, but that’s just it – MY lesson to learn. 

It’s MY work to let go of my biases – whether they are about screens, or math exercises or reading “on time” or the importance of college or when it seems my kids are “doing nothing” all day or the zillion other things Unschooling parents worry about when their kid is “behind” according to mainstream educational standards.

In actuality there is no such thing as “behind.” There’s just where you are – where your kid IS. A wise woman, Danelle LaPorte once said “Comparison kills.” When I read that I said “YES that’s IT!  It’s the key to SO much of the trouble parents have with Unschooling.  Ms. LaPorte was talking about the difficulty that arises when we compare ourselves to others but it applies to EVERYTHING and ESPECIALLY children. Comparison is damaging. Period.

Whether we’re comparing siblings against each other, or students in a 3rd grade class, or all 8 year olds in the world, or my yoga pose to the teacher’s pose, or my car or house to my neighbors’ . . . comparison to another person is NEVER helpful. Even when we compare and think we’re better, or our child is better, we create a FALSE sense of superiority.

If we simply work with what we have right in front of us, and take the LONG view (not assessing progress in days or weeks, but in YEARS) we can relax and live in the moment. We can SEE our children better. We can hear THEIR NEEDS more easily. If we want to truly honor our child and THEIR natural way of learning and growing and developing, we have to work hard to let go of our biases and baggage. We have to stop comparing them to any on else and REALLY SEE the child in front of us.

Unschooling is both easier AND more challenging than school-at-home Homeschooling.

It’s easier because the battle between you and your child is diffused. But the internal battle for parents is often intensified. The battle between our instinct and what society has taught us is “responsible parenting” or “appropriate education” is often a daily or even hourly challenge. 

Unschooling is also harder sometimes because we can’t just follow a prescribed set of beliefs about education and we can’t just use a curriculum straight out of the box to make sure “all the bases are covered.”  We have to follow and TRUST our children’s way.  They WILL cover all of the “bases” that are important to THEM.  We have to trust that other “bases” will be covered when the child sees a need.  When the child’s life experience has caused them to ask the questions and develop genuine curiosity about that topic.

Unschooling is hard for many of us because we have to put faith in the process and detach from the outcome.  We have to take a leap of faith that many around us will say is “crazy.”

But Unschooling is MUCH EASIER than Homeschooling once we do a certain amount of work on that internal battle and let go of our biases, programming and brainwashed beliefs that certain subjects or vehicles of learning are superior or inferior to others.  

Once we are more comfortable with following our instincts AND our kids’ instincts Unschooling becomes just an exercise in managing the flow, finding the right resources for our kids and then letting them expand and grow in their own way and in their own time.  No pressure to perform or measure up against anyone else.  The only measure of success in Unschooling is the amount of JOY we and our kids are able to experience!

Curious about Self-Directed Learning? Sue Patterson can help!

Sue is a veteran Home Educator with 3 grown kids.  All of her children were Unschooled, and Sue is a wealth of information on many aspects of alternative education.

From transitioning away from the curriculum mindset and into a learning partnership with your kids, to Unschooling through the teen years and supporting young adults as they transition into college or work, Sue’s perspective is invaluable.

If you are struggling with an aspect of Home Eduction or Partnership Parenting, Sue’s wisdom and experience can help reassure and guide you through the moments of doubt.

If you are simply curious about what Unschooling family life is like, she can share a comprehensive look based on her own experience and what she’s learned from her extensive network of Home Ed families.

Here are some of the sessions Sue will be leading at the Retreat.  We will hit the ground running on Friday morning with workshop sessions and circle discussions, so getting there Thursday to set up your bunks, tents and campers will ensure you don’t miss any of the action!

Learning All the Time: Unschooling 101
Friday Morning (Oct. 24)

Life Learning, Whole Life Learning, Self-Directed Learning, Organic Learning, Natural Learning, Interest-Led Learning.  There are so many different names for this type of alternative education and almost as many definitions.

Come discover the core principles behind this method of education.
Gain clarity on what Unschooling IS and is NOT.
Is there a “right” or “wrong” way to Unschool?  Is it still Unschooling if we require a few math or phonics worksheets here and there?    What is “Strewing?”  What is “Deschooling?”  What is “Radical Unschooling?” What are the benefits and drawbacks to Unschooling?  How can we be sure our kids will turn out OK educationally and otherwise?  What if I give my children freedom and all they do is play video games all day?  What if my child HAS to or WANTS to return to school in the future?  How do I comply with Homeschooling laws as an Unschooler? Can I do it as a single parent, or when both parents must be earners?
We’ll tackle these questions and help newbies, spouses, grandparents and in-laws understand this complex and rich form of education and help you discover tools to move forward with Unschooling in confidence.
To read more from Sue on this topic click here.

When Your Unschooler Chooses School

After being radically unschooled her whole life, Sue’s youngest daughter decided she wanted to go to the local public high school. While Sue supported her daughter’s choice, they “did high school” on their own terms. After a year and half, Sue’s daughter had enough and returned to the freedom of unschooling.

We will explore the ways that Unschoolers use mainstream schools, alternative schools and “schooly” classes and lessons to achieve their goals.  Can this still be considered “Unschooling?”  How can we support our children when they choose methods of education and institutions that we as parents are ideologically opposed to – or just feel are not the best “place” for our kids?  How can we allow our children to be exposed to the negative aspects of school that we have tried to shield them from all their lives?  Can a school truly be a place of Unschooling freedom?

Unschooling Teens

Are you worried about unschooling your teen? Are you afraid that your choices may close doors instead of opening them? Sue’s three grown unschoolers took completely different paths through the teenage years. Come hear how they navigated these years and rest assured that it does NOT have to be as scary as society makes it sound! Sue also wrote a book, Homeschooled Teens that will be available in October. She interviewed 75 teens and young adults who homeschooled/unschooled as teenagers. She will share their responses to her questions about what life was like for them: finding friends, learning opportunities, hobbies, sports, work, travel, advantages they feel they have now, advice for worried parents, and more!!

What is Unschooling?

There are so many eloquently worded definitions of Unschooling out there, but for me it boils down to an attitude of allowing and of trust.

  • Trusting the path our kids choose as they learn the things that are important to them and in the order that makes sense to THEM.
  • Getting out of the way to allow the natural learning process that almost* every human is capable of.

It often doesn’t look much like the learning we are used to in a school or school-at-home setting, but it ends up being a deeper, richer and more useful education when children are allowed to explore and learn naturally in their own ways, rather than being forced to follow someone else’s agenda.

Unschooling is paying attention to how a child learns best and what “lights them up” and then honoring and supporting THAT.


More definitions of Unschooling:

http://www.holtgws.com/whatisunschoolin.html

http://unschooling.com/what-is-unschooling/

http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/earl_stevens.html

The following link provides a great definition from a grown Unschooler with lots of links to expound on common questions like College? Socialization? Gaps in Education? etc.

http://yes-i-can-write.blogspot.com/p/new-to-this-blog-new-to-unschooling.html


Here is a more in depth list of authors, books, websites and blogs to help understand Unschooling and readings to help us DESCHOOL ourselves.

In order to Unschool successfully, it’s imperative for parents to commit to the process of deschooling.
Here is more information about the deschooling process.


*Absolutes can be problematic – and sure enough as soon as I was convinced that Unschooling was THE optimal learning method for EVERY human (because it is the MOST customized education possible for each individual) my middle child was diagnosed with severe Autism.  That caused me to question my beliefs about Unschooling in a deep and thorough way.

Ultimately I’ve found that even kids with Special Needs (and sometimes especially they) are STILL best off Unschooling – even with all of their differences in how they learn and relating to the world.  There ARE a very few exceptions and we explore these in the group Unschooling Special Needs.  If you suspect your child has learning differences or other “extra needs” that make them an “outlier” on the bell curve of “typical” development, I encourage you to join the discussion there.

 

What does “Radiant Living” even mean???

By 2007 life events had led me to a point where I could no longer ignore the fact that I was put on this earth to
1. learn how to confidently hear and follow my “Inner Voice of Wisdom” and
2. help others do the same.

Often I just call it “The Voice” but it goes by many names: Intuition, Instinct, Gut Feelings, Higher Self, Inner Knowing, Emotional Guidance and more.  No matter what we call it or what we believe it to be, we’ve all “heard” it at one time or another – or THOUGHT we heard it and wondered.

Sometimes we listen and sometimes we don’t.

At pivotal moments in my life, this Voice has “come through” very loud and clear as it echoed in my head.  Other times it has taken a more subtle form: gentle nudges, strong feelings, hunches, feeling “guided” to take a certain action and other hard to describe phenomena .  But however my Inner Wisdom ultimately communicates with me, it always rings true in my heart and I have learned after 41 years of “experimentation” that it’s in my best interest to listen.

We are born tuned into The Voice, but the voices of our family, teachers and other “authorities” often steer us away from listening.  Sometimes this is done subtly and sometimes with strong coercion, threats or punishment.  By the time we are grown, most of us have learned to successfully ignore or drown out our Inner Voice of Wisdom with the external voices that hold power in our lives, our communities and in our culture in general.

What does all this have to do with Alternative Education or Partnership Parenting?

For me, choosing to approach education and parenting in this way is:

  1. a result of hearing (and finally following) my Inner Voice of Wisdom
    and
  2. a means by which I can continually practice listening – and recalibrating my actions and choices to line up with my Inner Wisdom

Almost every external voice I’ve ever heard has said things like:

  • “Children are too young and inexperienced to know what they want.  They CAN’T know what’s good for them.”
  • “Learning is difficult and can only happen when children are FORCED to sit and attend to ‘unpreferred’ activities.”
  • “There are certain things EVERY child MUST know and they must learn it in the time frame and order in which ‘educational professionals’ prescribe.”
  • “We must DEMAND respect from children (without reciprocating that respect).  We should not be our children’s ‘friends’ and if we don’t discipline, punish and force our children to do certain things, they will never learn respect, responsibility or be motivated to do anything productive with their time.”

My Inner Voice of Wisdom has NEVER agreed with these ideas on education and parenting that seem to be dominant in western culture at large.  The moment I made the decision to Unschool and try parenting without using punishment, the most profound sense of Peace came over me.  I’ve learned over the years that this sense of Peace is a strong indication that my actions are coming into alignment with my Inner Wisdom that has never steered me wrong.

Of course doubts and questions have arisen as our family has made our way toward Unschooling and Partnership Parenting, but these have just been opportunities for me to practice quieting those external voices and tune into myself and my children to find the answer that is right for our family.  And when things are still unclear I seek out experienced people on this path whose voices resonate with my my own Inner Wisdom.

Trusting children is a primary component to Unschooling and Partnership Parenting.  In my experience, learning to hear, trust and follow my OWN Inner Wisdom is ESSENTIAL to learning to trust my children.  How can we ever trust THEIR Inner Wisdom if we are unwilling or unable to trust our own?

So for me, Unschooling and working toward parenting in a non-coercive way can only be accomplished if I am CONTINUALLY tuning into my Inner Voice and recalibrating my actions to line up with that Voice.

Why RADIANT Living & Learning?

I’ve found that people who live from the inside out – meaning their motivations, choices and actions come from an authority within – these people GLOW.  Their lights shine more brightly in the world.  They RADIATE beauty and confidence and love and acceptance.  We are drawn to these people because we want to be like them – maybe not precisely imitating the details of their lives – but we want to live our lives with the confidence and authenticity they do.  There is a light in each of us that is trying to shine just as brightly.

We cannot live & learn “radiantly” when we are following someone else’s agenda.  That just dims our LIGHTS or blocks them out entirely.  When we are following our Inner Wisdom, pursuing our passions and fulfilling our life purpose, we SHINE.

At Radiant Living & Learning Events you will hear from Radiant Community Members who are creating the lives they desire by following their own inner voice.

If something you read on this website resonates with YOUR Inner Voice of Wisdom or makes you pause to reconsider the way you’ve always done things, the Radiant Living Community is sure to provide more inspiration and encouragement to confidently create the life you desire for yourself and your family.

We hope you will join us ONLINE or IN PERSON soon!

Heaps of Love,

 

 

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Self-Directed Learning: Do you have what it takes?

Yesterday I read a blog post called “24 Core Questions for Self Directed Learners.”
It was written by Lisa Nalbone.  Here’s a sampling:

What?

What do I want to learn?
What are my goals?
What are my next steps?
What problem can I solve?
What can I contribute?

You can read all of the 24 questions here:
24 Core Questions for Self-Directed Learners

For some reason the list didn’t sit right with me.  I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why, but initially the questions seemed kind of unnecessary to the way I personally approach learning and I couldn’t figure out how I would use it in facilitating my kids’ self-directed learning.

I wondered: Am I missing something?  Could this list offer us an opportunity to delve deeper somehow?   I asked in the comments of the post for suggestions on the application of this list since the way we approach learning at our house presumes that the “right” questions just come up naturally in the course of exploring one’s interests.
I asked, “If your learning is truly self-directed, why would you need to use somebody else’s list of questions?”

Lisa replied (I’m paraphrasing) that she intended the list as a starting point for those who are moving from school and a more “directed” learning style to a self-directed approach.  She also mentioned that sometimes those who’ve homeschooled or unschooled their young children worry about their kids approaching high school age, so the list is intended to help them remember that self-directed learning can work at any age.

She then asked about my family, our history with Unschooling and for my thoughts on her list of questions.
(You can read her entire response to my question in the comments section of her post.)

I wanted to share my answer with you here for two reasons:

  1. I’ve been meaning to write an “about me” page for this site and maybe this will do for now.
  2. Lisa’s answer helped me pinpoint what felt “off” for me about suggesting a list of questions and helped me formulate what I might offer instead.

Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely think we should help people gain confidence in their ability to direct their own learning.  I know parents DO need reminders that the organic learning little kids experience CAN continue into the teenage years and beyond.  Some people will totally benefit from Lisa’s list BUT my advice for these two groups of people would be very different from Lisa’s list of questions so here it is.

My kids are 13, 6 & 3.

I learned about Unschooling 6 years ago in 2007 as I was researching Homeschooling because it was very clear that my oldest child’s learning style was NOT a match to what they were doing in school.

I can’t remember the exact website where I first saw the concept.  At that time I was desperately searching for answers – staying up until 3am every night reading all over the internet about other people’s experiences with home education.    I knew I had to take my kid out of school, but I also knew that doing school-at-home was NOT a good choice for us because we were basically already doing that each night with homework and THAT was a nightmare.

My thoughts on the 24 core questions: I guess they could be a good starting point for someone who WANTS some guidance or who is SO used to being directed that they feel lost when trying to jump to entirely self-directed learning.  However, I believe that remembering how to be a self-directed learner is best accomplished when the person is encouraged to find their own way.  If we continue to “direct” them even with “suggested questions” aren’t we perpetuating their need to be directed?  When we tell someone how to do something we can miss a chance to help them gain confidence in their abilities to do it themselves.

Now, I’m not saying to never offer help, but in my mind the first way to help someone who doesn’t trust themselves and their abilities is to say, “I TRUST YOU to come up with the questions that will take you in the right direction.”  If they are stuck or otherwise asking for guidance I might ask them a couple of questions from this list, but those questions would arise naturally because of the situation, not because I looked at a list.

I’m realizing that one thing that feels “off” to me about the list is that it presumes that “learning” looks like what you might find in school.  And it seems to presume a lot of “shoulds” about learning.  Maybe this is because the list is intended for people who are used school type instruction and for people who are worried about their teenagers and what kids SHOULD learn at that age in preparation for “real life.” 

Fair enough, but learning at my house doesn’t look like this at all.  And I believe that real learning actually looks nothing like what we usually see in school.  At our house we don’t sit down and say, “Today I want to begin learning about XYZ.”  We just see things that interest us and then a question arises naturally and we set off to answer it.

These 2 questions from the list seemed especially unnecessary to me, and I’m going to go so far as to say they perpetuate a myth in our culture about the nature of learning:

“How do I know I have learned enough?”
“When will I finish?”

I know I have learned enough because I have no more questions about the thing – for now.  But tomorrow or in 6 months a question might arise on the topic.  When that happens I will try find the answer.  That could lead to more questions or it could lead to an interest in another topic entirely.  For me and my kids it is just an organic process of living life and answering the questions that arise as we explore the world.

From my perspective we are NEVER finished learning, and in our house we do not divide our learning up into subjects or “chunks of learning” that begin and end.  My hope is that one day we can change the cultural myth that learning begins when we reach a certain age and start going to a certain building each day at 8 am.  That learning ends at 3 o’clock or that it ends when you graduate from high school or college or graduate school or even when you finish a “self-directed learning project.”  I hope more of us can move beyond the idea we are ever “done” with learning or growing or becoming more.  So many in our society are so busy chasing an end goal that we lose the joy that comes from the process of achieving our goals.  We forget the value of each step along the way because we only value the end result.

At first I thought maybe I was missing something about how this list of questions could apply to my family.  They are a lovely offering for someone who is looking for something like this, but aside from possibly perpetuating myths about learning, I also wonder if suggesting these questions could perpetuate the very dependence we are hoping to eradicate as we work to empower people in learning under their own direction.

My advice for those people would be – trust yourself – the right questions are inside you and those questions will guide you to the right materials and resources and people that can help you learn the things you want to know.

And for parents I would say: trust your kids and the questions they naturally come up with.  And trust yourself to guide your kids when they are stuck and asking for guidance.

As a society we have a habit of looking to “experts” for answers – even answers about what questions to ask and about how to learn.  What I want people to know is this: We all are born knowing how to learn, and letting our natural curiosity guide us and help us formulate questions is going to lead us in the right direction every time. 

We ALL have what it takes to be self-directed learners!

Many thanks to Lisa for writing her list of questions for anyone who wants to start there.  And for giving me some food for thought. 🙂

What do you think?  What advice would you give to someone switching to self-directed learning?  Or to parents who are nervous about older children continuing with a self-directed approach through the high school years?  Please share in the comments below!