The longing for – and need of – community of unschooling families

UNSCHOOLING BORNHOLM

Only very few of us have grown up with parents who believed in respectful, peaceful parenting nor have had plenty of like-minded parents surrounding and inspiring them before they had children or during the very beginning of their parenting journey. Instead, many of us have found our way to peaceful and respectful parenting and unschooling through reflections, experiences or emotions within ourselves. This makes respectful parenting a very conscious choice and therefore often very strong. At the same time, our deep YES to gentle parenting can also make us feel lonely, and it appears (!) as if we can only have the one or the other: either we choose to follow our intuition and raise our children in a way where children are worth equally much as older humans, absolutely worthy of trust, respect and empathy, and where the needs of ALL family members are seen and valued. And that might initially seem like a lonely swim against the stream. Or, we keep on walking the mainstream path.

Respectful parenting is not only related to our relationship with kids; instead, it changes our whole life. We might start seeing ourselves with much more compassion and love, some of us are looking for different ways of working and earning money, we maybe see the systems of our cultures (for example institutions) in a much different light, some parents might start reflecting on their limiting beliefs, thinking patterns or behavioural patterns that root from their childhood, and so many other things. Often this also means that we re-evaluate relationships, maybe decide to bring old friendships to a closure because we feel that they do no longer bring positive energy into our life. Friends and family members might also decide to reduce or stop the contact to us because they do not agree with or cannot understand our choices. And this can result in an extremely tough situation. Parenting is challenging as it is, and a lack of connection, support, inspiration and togetherness makes it even harder.

Thanks goodness to the internet, since social media like Instagram or Facebook has saved many of us. I personally wouldn’t have a quarter of the friends I have today or of the knowledge about children and parenting, amongst many other things. I believe that social media can be a great bridge and addition; at the same time, nothing substitutes real life experiences.

I still remember my dear friend Anna, a mum who we met and got to spend lots of time with when I was very new to (peaceful) parenting. My children were still small, and they hadn’t started to have any sibling arguments yet. Anna’s children were older, and I watched her accompanying them through disagreements, fights and other challenges with each other and with their friends. How she never put herself into the position of a judge but instead saw each child in their needs, emotions and struggles. How she asked for and suggested peaceful solutions and patiently guided the children in problem solving conversations. Her carefully chosen words will always stay in my ears, and her gentle, creative and respectful actions in my heart. (Thank you SO much, dearest Anna!!! <3 ) The same goes for many other observations of children and adults as well as for deep conversations where other parents and friends have shown themselves vulnurable and honest, and shared worries, struggles, questions, findings, understandings, thoughts and emotions in their parenting.

Over and over again, I feel how valuable and crucial it is to meet with people in real life who share, respect, or are truly curious about our choices, where we feel safe, seen, held and supported. Many families who choose to parent respectfully and peacefully and to unschool their children feel similar, and I observe lots of them desperately looking for community. And while I believe that we all have the possibility to greatly contribute to creating community – which also feels wonderfully empowering – I am also deeply grateful that there are existing and welcoming communities already, such as the heart warming group that welcomed us from our very first day on Bornholm. (An eternal thank you to all of you <3 ) AND that I today myself can invite you to visit, join or get inspired by our growing unschooling community on our beautiful island.


Of course you can come here any time, but two community highlights in 2020 that I can warmly recommend will be the once-in-a-lifetime workshop “My Child and Me” in March which will provide support, answers, solutions and inspiration by brilliant unschooling mum and expert Rebecka Koritz in a wonderful group of like-minded parents (read more and secure your spot here; at this very moment, there are still tickets available), as well as the greatly appreciated gathering for self-directed learners called “ASK” in June (get inspired here; ticket sale opens in February). I am super excited, proud and very much looking forward to both events which will be great opportunities to experience the magic of community. And I very much hope to see you there, too! <3

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