helen cordes

my sister sent this via post for viv and ida moons ago. we unearthed it a few days ago – it had literally been buried and not seen since it’s arrival. as a result, we had not yet realized how great the book was!

i now believe it’s immediate disappearance was the work of some benevolent force – one that knew we were not yet in need of it’s contents. this book came to the surface three days ago – april fool’s day! however, we did not read it right away, we waited a whole 24 hours.

coincidentally viv spent the afternoon/evening of april 2nd until midday on the 3rd wanting to return to school. her desire came through a flood of emotion and tears – we listened – we were ready to adjust to accommodate her – it was the first time this had happened since we decided to stay home. since we had been having an amazing time (from my perspective) i was shocked and felt like i had missed something completely – so i acted right away and emailed her teacher and head of admissions from the charter school she attended….out of curiosity was her spot still available, had it been filled?

that night in bed i leaned over to the night stand and grabbed randomly from the sea of books – a beautiful red and iridescent UNBORED. this was totally unintentional for i knew not what it contained. i just started to read – we were all tired and a bit sad. as the words spilled out, i could not believe how perfect the book was for the moment. a sort of manifesto for unschooling. i was a little self-conscious of pressing this on viv, so i stopped and asked if we should read something else. no, she definitely wanted me to continue. we read from page 10 to page 31.

we woke up the next morning and viv was still thinking about returning to school. still determined to have her way. i took her very seriously and continued to adjust mentally and offer my support. we waited all morning for a response from the school – nothing. just after 3pm viv came to me again, really wanting to talk. one of her closest friends was over, so i was a bit surprised she wanted to talk. we found our own space to do so and she told me she had changed her mind. she said that the reason she had been feeling this way was because she felt like the only one who was not in school. she felt “weird” being the only one. we talked about how neither choice was perfect. we also talked about how it can be difficult doing things differently than everyone else. she remembered out loud what she did and did not like about school. in the end, she realized that she was choosing once again to stay at home.

i do not base her entire decision on the book. i know she is actively getting to know who she is and what she feels. she is learning how to decipher and decode all the input and put it into a language that makes sense to her. that said, UNBORED offered us yet another reminder about how important it is to have a strong foundation in the way you live your life. this book speaks to how i want to live my life. i can only hope that my girls will feel the same: “explore the world, test your limits, dare to be different, have fun, get unbored” and “use the world or the world will use you” – among other things.

it also introduced me to another family who has paved the way for us – helen cordes and eric selbin – i have put a link to their manifesto under my influences. their daughters are now in college. they chose to keep them out of school for reasons quite similar to our thinking.

language is such an important part of community. this book reminded me of the community i belong to. while not necessarily tangible day to day, very easy to access through the written word. (thank you sister!)

at dinner last night we heard from the school. there would be room in the class next year for second grade and she could get on the waiting list. i told viv.

“nope. no way. i am an unschooler.”