When we chose to unschool our kids, we didn’t know it at the time, but we were making a change to live more slowly. Slow living is a way of living in which we make choices that help create space. Space to decelerate in an ever-accelerating world. Space to make intentional choices on how we spend our time. Unschooling naturally disrupts the common schedule that most people lead; up in the morning to get ready for school/work, rushing out the door to travel to a job, getting home exhausted and overworked, forcing family time at the dinner table – you get the picture. Unschooling often doesn’t follow this schedule because there’s no rush to get out the door for school. Kids who don’t attend school have an extra 6-8 hours every day to fill. Usually there’s a parent who is at home either working remotely or part time. For us, this extra time around the house and changed schedule along with changed priorities, often results in a focus shift towards living with more intention outside of the typical rat race.
I really love this quote from Kayte Ferris that really jives with our unschooling mentality:
“Slow living is just living slowly, in whatever and however way that means to you. It’s about knowing and passionately loving the things we value, and designing our lives to spend the most time possible enjoying them. It’s about having intentionality and consciousness in our activities, about escaping the mindless scrolling and unproductive multi-tasking and focusing on purposeful action. It’s about embracing the fact that you’re not doing it all – it’s about doing less, but better.” – Kayte Ferris (taken from http://www.simpleandseason.com/2017/08/27/rethinking-slow-living/)
So slow living for me is about living with intention. But it is also a form of activism. Slow living is a deceleration from the fast pace of modern life. It is a response to late stage capitalism that promotes the idea that speed is the same as efficiency, often at the expense of meaningfulness. It tells the world that I will not be busy for the sake of being busy, I will not exhaust myself to make someone else a profit, and I refuse to equate busy-ness with productivity. As most unschoolers will tell you, our best most productive days are the ones where we slow right down, focus on the details, and take the time to explore in depth.
I think a big piece for me is that slow living is inherently counter cultural in ways that I didn’t expect. Just like discovering that the whole notion of school and schoolish thinking is a societal lie, we also found that the story of the 9-5 job, rushing out the door, and always feeling exhausted without “getting ahead”, well, it was just a big lie too. We are happier with less. And in having less, we actually make room for more. We have more time to spend on the things that are important to us and more time together. By slowing down our lives and making intentional choices, we’ve reconnected with each other and created more meaning in our lives.