Allergies and the road to unschooling…

There have been many times when i’ve recounted the tale of how i came upon unschooling. And sometimes people who have children with allergies ask questions about how we treated Raghu’s allergies. So here is an excerpt of an email to some one on this topic and a few more paras on how it connects to choosing unschooling:

I recommend finding a Naturopath near you and see if you like the Doc and the diagnosis/suggestions. My son, then 3 years old, instantly responded to MSM, Esterol, Magnesium, Quercetin, B12 and some dietary changes. His season-induced allergies magically vanished within 3 weeks… only we had to continue the doses for the entire time we were in the US. But still better than using a pump, medication etc.

So diet wise… we switched to raw milk and raw cheeses when possible (we were in NJ and had access to this). Also i started to listen to my child. Sounds simplistic. However…. Raghu had stopped eating most fruit (which he used to love) and started eating more of Methi (fenugreek leaves), Spinach, Kale, Grapes, Apple-skins, and some other things that the Naturopath immeditately said meant that his body was searching for ‘Quercetin’. Sadly till i met this Doc i had forced/coerced/cajoled Raghu to eat what “I” thought his body needed. Once I began following his cues… his health, his over all diet, his ability to ask for foods he liked/wanted/craved improved dramatically.

Giving my child the freedom to choose meant he could connect with his body and really eat only what he wanted and in the amounts he wanted. His health has been amazing since.

He asks for candy/so-called-junk-foods… but he also is the kind of kid to ask for broccoli and kale on a day to day basis. He eats brown rice, chicken, no fruit, lots of greens, many cheeses including fresh mozzarella, olives, stir-fry veggies etc. I mean his diet is rich and varied and yet… he is in charge. I simply make lots of options available. So he may eat sugary, choco cereal with cold milk in the morning and a packet of chips… but then i make chips in the oven…and he loves those too… and then for lunch he asks for soup like today… with grains, pasta, veggies and sausages thrown in. All per his choice and his body. With me simply providing options, making things easily available and helping him find things he wants.

This Naturopath Doctor led me to understand how important it was for my son to stay home… allow his body to relax and adjust to the allergies… not battle emotionally etc with school and seperation from me. Raghu preferred me to hover outside the door of the little, loving montessori he was in. He wanted ony to work on the practical stuff like water, cooking etc. He hated being asked to change and go to the playground or sit for circle time. And i was pretty much spending my days outside the classroom door.

The Doc asked me if i knew about homeschooling… adn the journey began. I started to read and as seems to be the case always when you get passionate about something…. homeschoolers just happened to be all around. We started going to park-dates with our local group and loved the freedom. Many of them were eclectic or traditional homeschoolers. No unschoolers as far as i recall. However Raghu’s food choices that i had struggled with and my apparent idiocy in forcing foods that his body did not need…. was the real killer. That memory pushed me further. When i first came accross Unschooling as a form of homeschooling…. i was hooked. I’d read and read and yet i could not implement it. I was still hooked on controlling TV and some food choices and would insist on fresh air everyday… like run outside and play with other children.

Anyway… soon i could see the futility of force/coercion and the beauty of living in freedom. Unschooling unfolded slowly in our lives. The past year has been a joyful recovery/journey. So allergies to radical unschooling…. that was our path.

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Ramblings

In the post below i mention the “H” word.. i meant healthy. It seems like RU brings up so many ghosts out of the closets that i feel so free sometimes and sometimes so clogged/blocked etc. One of the reasons we are RU’ing is that it allows each of us the freedom to follow our inner voice. To be able to listen to it is a luxury for most young children these days. Parents tend to believe they know what is best or the local school does or the next door mama does. No one seems to hear their own inner voices.

I am struggling with our choice of moving to India. Many needs are not met. At present i am unable to enjoy a quiet stroll around here! The endless traffic/lack of greenery/concrete-pollution-dust etc make it hard for Ravi primarily to enjoy even a simple walk outside. And Raghu is very sensitive to it too. Z and I are more resilient. However I too miss the collective largesse of the US government 🙂 The green parks, gardens, libraries for the taking, playgrounds galore, readily available avenues to meet numberous interests/hobbies etc.

And given the lack of easily available outside options here…. Raghu esp tends to sit at home and do tons of indoor things adn media related things. He states that he hates bicycling outside and hates the library (all things he loved in Singapore and earlier in NJ). He wants to move to Kamshet (you can chk out the labels). Not an option at present. So the child is simply dealing with his India-issues by staying home. Something that bothers me deeply. And Dh too. As we know how much Raghu enjoyed being outdoors during our recent trip to Abu Dhabi/Dubai. more soon… gotta run.

Blocks

There is a space I’ve reached… where i find myself examining everything…. i mean everything…. it happens naturally and feels like I’m releasing blocks. If I’m unhappy… something is bothering me…. i simply tend to look within for a minute and see what is the source… then i isolate it and don’t let my whole body vibrate in that negative state. I simply focus positive thoughts and find a solution or look for ways to experience that emotion without judgment.

For. e.g. I’m upset about how much i weigh. Off and on when the days fly by and I’ve yet to figure out a way to give my body some focus and my eating some focus… i start to get that uneasy me-fatty feeling. It pulls me down when I’m otherwise enjoying my day with the family. So I stop and give myself a few minutes to isolate the source… and i see it for what it is… a result of certain circumstances. I separate myself from the emotion. I then focus on the next step.. usually a walk around the block with kids makes me upbeat… or perhaps I’ll drink tons of water all day long… in a lovely glass… (i get high from being around beautiful art, objects etc.) Sometimes all i can manage is rolling out my yoga mat and keeping it handy for 5 minute yogasanas…with kids jumping around me. Or i might see that there is a repetitive cycle to this negative thought and take a bigger step like joining a class or setting aside time everyday some how to honor my body.

This way of being has penetrated my way of being with my children. They become a constant source of joy even as they smear peanut butter on my clothes. Albeit some annoyance surfaces… but now i can isolate it from the integrity of the child… which is pure no matter how they choose to live and learn. My children connect best with positive energy and that’s all there is to it. So i keep this mantra in my head thru days that are tough on my conditioned self… conditioned to cleanliness, conditioned to consider food in regimented ways, conditioned to think adults know best etc…

I am learning to see the importance of loving myself. Unless i can love myself unconditionally i can’t be my best for my children and partner.