I often get asked how it is I do everything I do. I don’t deny I’ve chosen a somewhat harder path in life by working for myself and not sending our kids to school. However, whilst it seems hard, some things are also just so much easier.
One thing I’ve always done is combine my own activities alongside the kids. And the older the kids get the easier it is to make happen.
I tweeted about one such example today. My youngest is now 5 years old and she can play without direct help from me in many of the parks we go to.
Of course, it’s not all parks, but I know the parks it applies to, so I plan accordingly. Some parks are just too big to do this comfortably and safely.
Also, the time of day matters too, we went late in the afternoon to early evening, perfect timing for it to be super quiet. Only a handful of people were there when we arrived and it was empty when we left.
It’s not always about work either.
Today it was, and I chose to do a bit of writing. Normally I do work things that don’t require deep focus, this could be responding to emails, attending to social media, or responding to community discussions.
Sometimes I choose to focus on learning activities, often through listening to a podcast or audio book. I usually combine this with walking and getting my daily steps in.
I also sometimes ditch the focus on productivity and opt to do exercise. My most recent thing is to bring a jump rope and to spend 10–20 minutes doing that whilst my girls play in a skate park and my other boy is attending a football class.
Infact, it I once got featured in the Daily Mail whilst going for a run with my child in a buggy whilst my son was around the corner at a football session. How dare a woman do something for herself!
It also works with inviting friends over, when kids get along they can often keep themselves entertained for hours. Instead of having the other parent hanging out with us, the kid just gets dropped off. This is often necessary for both of the unschooling parents to get a much needed break.
The point here is to combine activities. This scratches my itch to be productive and fulfil my needs. It also allows the whole family to recognise that we all have needs and desires that are important to each of us and we can all seek ways to accommodate each other.
I do use these opportunities to socialise too, but this has to be in balance with my needs to work, exercise and learn. I love and need these things need to give them attention. This is the compromise we make when we think about and design our kid's education.
Other parents definitely socialise more than I do and I’m generally the only who mostly has my laptop to hand. Each to their own 😊