"We are all wanderers on this earth...our hearts are full of wonder, and our souls are deep with dreams." ~ Gypsy proverb

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Clay, magic, and unschooling

Something happens when you get a new batch of clay. You get this pile of beautiful, soft, pliable colors and you have an idea of what you are going to make with it. And then you do, you make some wonderfully creative things, and you marvel at them for awhile. Then you squash it back together and start over again because you can, because the joy of it calls you to do so. And so you keep doing this repeatedly until the colors start to mix together and what you have to work with is far different from what you started with.

For me, that has been unschooling. A huge, colorful lump of possibility, sometimes overwhelmingly so.  Some days the form comes easy and what we create is exactly how I imagined it. Other days the form is hard to begin, there is doubt and judgement on what we produce and I wonder if we'll ever good at this. At times I forget what we've already made. When there are no measurements, no checklists, or tests, it's easy to wonder if there is any integrity, or lasting effect to anything that has passed. All that's left of our creations are little flecks and specks of color imbedded into the whole of another. I step back, and realize that the clump is no longer defined, separated, and clear.

As I break off each piece and look at them individually, I see each piece tells a story. A story of a form they once held, an idea that came to life, an experience gone but not forgotten, compilations of color that once had a purpose. I turn them over one by one. I see that they are all still soft, still yielding, still flexible. I grab all the clumps of imperfectly meshed color and squish it back together to make one whole, complete, multidimensional piece. And I realize, that this is what it's suppose to look like. What has evolved is a melding of moments, a more relaxed form that comes from the flow of new and different things everyday. One big jumbled, colorful, unpredictable, undefinable, beautiful clump of experiences, lying dormant and waiting for that next opportunity to take shape into something new, and looking nothing like what we started with, at all.  Magical, full of potential, this is unschooling.

xx oo

P.S. This post was inspired by Suzy. Read her beautiful post on unschooling here.

18 comments:

  1. beautiful post mj! i feel that same exact way about being able to spend the days with my kids, gently guide them as they explore the world around them.

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  2. Beautiful, wise and wonderful as always, dear! Your works of art are priceless!!

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  3. You inspire me to someday be able to do what you do! I think this analogy works very well!

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  4. Simply lovely MJ. Having each day unfold and being part of it while gently learning is a wonderful way to learn. Have a beautiful day.

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  5. The magic of shaping your own life; I love it! What a great analogy.

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  6. Lovely post MJ, I so love spending each day with my little folks often not knowing where it will end up.

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  7. Fantastic post MJ. I love the clay analogy. You have put it all into words so perfectly.

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  8. This truly is a great analogy! Thank you for describing unschooling with such lovely words.

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  9. This was beautiful. When I first became a mommy, I wouldn't let my girls mix up the Play-doh. I couldn't stand the colors unlike their canister's top. Crazy, I know. Over the years, as fingers mold 3D clay animals, planets and goods the colors have meshed together. I've stood back while fingers mix, mold colors. Watching their creativity spew freely, without limits and rules they're grown. Now, looking at who they've become, who they're becoming, I can't believe I ever said, "No. Don't mix the colors." Seriously. Let them learn free!

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  10. This feels so true. All the little pieces that come together to build something much bigger. Lovely words, MJ!

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  11. You have a gift of eloquence, MJ. This post is a lovely reflection of unschooling.

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  12. Appreciated reading this, thanks for writing and sharing MJ.
    Ronnie xo

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  13. unschooling is magical and full of potential! i wrote something a few years ago about destruction and letting kids alter their toys (meaning writing on blocks, mixing play doh, adding glitter to toys, repainting them, taking things apart to rebuild them. it is all process.... thanks for sharing!

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  14. wow! you are so amazing. i love this analogy.

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  15. This is a lovely post - although my children go to traditional school, I love this analogy for the times we are all together, especially as we embark on summer vacation, starting today! Thanks for sharing your wise thoughts!

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  16. MJ, this is beautiful. Your so beautifully describe your homeschooling experience! I admire your creativity, honesty, and your trust in the process that you have chosen!

    Always, much admiration!
    Claudine

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  17. Lovely.
    Our clay looks like that, too. ;)

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“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
~ George Bernard Shaw