Sometimes I don’t feel like a unschooler

Sometimes I don’t feel like a unschooler. I worry about what other people think of me. I mostly worry if I’m doing the “right” thing. I don’t understand the concept of “right” though. How do you know what is right for you?

I know it all comes down to trusting yourself and believing in your abilities to learn from you past and know what you need and want right now. But I hear beliefs from other people about their own way of living and become convinced so easily. Never questioning much further than face value.

It appears right for me means to be there person that pleases everybody.

I’m at a crossroads in a way,  of want I want to do and what I need.  I want to be a gardener, a circus performer. I want to travel and learn other languages. I want to learn about the land and teach the people once again about what it’s saying. I want to learn my culture, our language, and connect with my people. I want to abolish the system our people have been locked in.

But my need for affections runs deeper. And I see a route to getting affection as being the person that agrees with you. Cause that’s what I want, someone who agrees with me. Conflict is scary in ways that mean no more affection at least that’s what I learned from childhood experiences. Even though that’s far from the truth. I buy into it. Rather than saying what I’m feeling and being honest, I’ll hold it in. Afraid of the consequences of speaking my mind. It also comes into play that I’m just a really sensitive individual.

This is where being able to self-nurture comes into action, books tell me. The ability to be gentle with yourself, not to criticize too harshly and to love yourself unconditionally.

I didn’t grow up in a household where love was given unconditionally. It was rarely giving out, except in moments that left you questioning your self-worth. We didn’t know how to talk with respect cause we were never shown respect. Whispering or ‘inside voices’ were unheard of. The preferred mode of talking was as loud as you could be and an inch away from your face.

My parents were never around. My mom was working full-time and my dad was only in the picture until I was around 3 years old. I feel like a leper in the unschooling community because of this. I left school without telling anyone but my brother. I live in a house with my mom’s family (4 in total, 5 on the weekends) and her brother’s family (4 in total, 7 on the weekends). On the weekends there’s 12 people living in this four bedroom house.

Leaving school in first nations community is so shameful. I was questioned and lectured from left and right. I didn’t leave my room for the first month or year. Everyone had something to say about the stupid decision I was making. My mom even gave me an ultimatum, go back to work or get a job. And I also had to read Eckhart Tolle. She does strange things when she’s upset.

She’s still a bit iffy about me not being in school. It’s not something she likes to talk about. But in a way she did give me consent to leave in that she didn’t kick me out. Or lock me in my room. We just argued for the first year and a half.

Even though I faced a lot of opposition I never went back to school. I wanted to just never enough to do it. I kind of see that as hope that I can make ‘right’ decisions for myself. If only I could apply this to other areas of my life.


3 responses to “Sometimes I don’t feel like a unschooler

  1. I really relate to a lot of what you say about your personality, in that I’m a really sensitive individual and a natural people pleaser. At this point unschooling has become a subject I feel safe talking about, but for any of my other views, things I feel strongly and passionately about? I’m usually terrified to say anything because of the reaction I might get. I really don’t like conflict, either.

    As for your comment about feeling like a leper in the unschooling community: I feel so bad that you feel that way! I feel like often the image presented of an unschooling family is two middle class parents with a couple of kids, one parent working and one stay-at-home, and a family that is always happy, supportive, and gets along. I hate that this is almost the only image you find online, and I hate that I’m part of perpetuating that image, since that’s basically my family (except for the always happy, supportive, and gets along ones, which depends on the day). But in the real world, I have many unschooling friends who have such totally different backgrounds and experiences! The diversity of experience doesn’t seem to be as visible online.

    It’s just started, but I already love this blog, and love hearing your perspective on things! I look forward to reading more.

  2. I’m proud of you! Just from what little you have on this site, you are doing so well! I’m a Lakota Author, a rule- challenger, a herd avoider and if everyone does something, I run in the opposite direction. My growing up family life sucked, which is what brought me to many of my decisions today. I have a gorgeous daughter who is already like me and I encourage that in her.
    Keep it up, you can do this! You are already well on your way.
    I’m here if you need tips, advice, (on writing, on publishing, on life, or other)
    I will be linking to you from my website..and from the website I keep about my daughter. (
    Take care of you, be well, and I’m glad I found you!

    • Thank you for commenting. I find your words really encouraging. I don’t know if I posted this but on my father’s side I’m Lakota. Or he’s Lakota, I feel I know too little about the culture to comfortably identify as Lakota. It’s really good to hear from someone who does know about the culture. I’ll be sure to link up your website to mine as well!

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