For me (and my family), this has been a year of depth and breadth.
We began the year calling ourselves unschoolers, but still very very unsure of what exactly that meant, and no idea at all about if we could really do it, or how far this journey might take us. There were still bedtimes, chores, food controls, limits on TV and computer time, no video games except the blatantly "educational", parental tirades, children crying, parent-imposed "consequences"...
How different things look now, ten days before the next new year! =)
In every way I can consider, we have grown hugely. Life has become richer, deeper, wider, and fuller.
I have come to an intimate understanding of unschooling now. It will continue to evolve, as we grow, as the children become older and more able. It will continue to deepen and widen as I grow more aware, as I learn to be kinder, sweeter, and more geerous with myself and those around me.
There are no longer bedtimes, here. Jeremiah often stays up all night, falls asleep on the couch, then sleeps most of the following day. Lise generally sleeps in her bed, but will often rise in the early morning hours, to be up an hour or two before sleeping again. Often, she is the first one up, and the first to sleep.
Now the children are free from the mundane world of chores. When they help, it is more and more a gift they've offered up freely and willingly, and enjoyed the making of. And, moreand more, I am seeing the business of keeping home the same way - not as something to be graded, but simply as a means to help us all have the freedom and space we need to move about our lives safely and unencumbered.
I've talked about food at length. No need to rehash.
Our family will be getting a portable DVD player this Christmas, so that there will be more freedom to watch what is wanted, when - for all of us. There are two Game Boy Advances here, and a DS, and Jeremiah has designs on saving toward a DSi. Jeremiah picked out a retro joystick loaded with Atari games several months back, and loves the look and skill required to play them. Christmas morning will reveal a Gamecube, with its own stash of games (5, to begin with!), the newBakugan game Jeremiah wanted to save up for, six stick foals, riding lessons - thank you so much, Kres! - and a digital camera. It is our hope not that our children will be awed at all we got them.
Our deepest wish is that they will feel as though, for the first time ever, we really, truly listened to them, and put our own ideas of what would be the best gifts aside in favor of honoring their wishes, as best as we were able (And a lot of imagination went into figuring out how to bankroll their treasures, and more than a little luck, too).
We want them to feel loved and accepted as they never have before, and to know that we aren't trying to mold them into something that better suits us. Last Christmas, when many of their "frivolous" requests went unanswered, they did not know this. After this Christmas, I hope they never doubt it again!
Breadth and depth, indeed! =)