Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Different Kind of Yoga Class

Unless you've been hiding in your air-raid shelter, which we homeschoolers are rumored to enjoy as a convenient way to isolate ourselves from the rest of humanity, you have surely heard of the recent, obnoxious Good Morning America segment. The one where a family of unschoolers were portrayed as somehow simultaneously neglecting their teenagers and making them "the center of the universe," which many experts told us in very serious terms would result in the poor teens' inability to "earn a paycheck" or "associate with other adults." I mean, give me a break!

The family in question lives in Massachusetts, as do we, and the whole episode has resulted in lots of playground and Lego club speculation about how the state Department of Education might be planning an investigation of all suspected 'unschoolers' after state officials were caught unawares on national television. They evidently "did not return [ABC's] call" about these questionable educational practices.

It's all caused lots of worry and tension around here, and has me using four-letter words more often than usual. So, when I arrived last night to teach Yoga for Homeschooling Parents class, the hour of sanity that gets me (and the participants) through the week, we were a little more agitated than usual. We just couldn't settle, our minds and hearts were aswirl.

We decided to change the format, just for this one night: we would keep talking while going through the poses. It certainly wasn't as relaxing as yoga usually is, but I think that it worked because we could talk about what was on our minds, and exercise at the same time.

My one hang-up came at a the end of class, a time for silent meditation, breathing, and deep relaxation while lying down. Ordinarily my favorite part, this is when the body rests and the mind's batteries recharge. It is just so cool. But I knew that I wasn't going to be able to get my mind to stop, and if the instructor can't than you can bet the participants won't be able to either... so we did something a little hokey, but for this one time it worked. And it worked well.

We sat together in a circle, closed our eyes for just a minute or two, and chose something positive to share with the others. Doesn't that sound all kinds of cheesy? Oh, my friend, it was so nice.

I shared about a seminar that I got to attend, years ago, on learning through play, and how watching Luke and Owen play gives me great hope for their futures.

One mom, whose son is a type-1 diabetic and consequently needs lots of extra care taken over his food and drink, and about whom she worries lots and lots, told of her boy thanking her for taking such good care of him, such a sweet moment!

Another told of her daughter's experience that day building a shelter out of twigs and sticks, which required the organization of lots of other kids and resulted in an awesome building. It was totally self-directed, unschooling at its best, and the mom was so proud of her daughter for conceptualizing it in the first place - and making it reality, without adult help, in the second.

Another mom's positive thought was about how full of life and wonder her days are; flowers bloom, and her baby chicks are growing, and she's got this fabulous husband and a great family, and all is just right in her world.

I left thinking, it'd take a hell of a lot more than a stupid television show to get in the way of all our positive thoughts.

And I woke up this morning realizing how true that is.


Jena said...

So you teach yoga? How cool! And what a great idea to focus on the positive. I found both segments online today and watched them. Frankly, I'm excited about the interest this is generating and the opportunity we have to shine. :) How's that for positive thinking?

Karen said...

Jena, you are so cute. I bet your perspective is a bit less panicky than somebody with younger kids, because you've seen the wonderful results of children raised as interest-led learners... I aspire to your level of positivity :-)

Such Lovely Freckles said...

Karen, Topsy from SecularHomeschool sent me to your blog, after I mentioned my latest obsession there (I'm a sock knitting fool).

Yes, the piece on GMA has caused some discussions in Oregon too. Television is such a curse sometimes. ;)

Karen said...

Welcome, Freckles! Sock knitting is becoming more of a passion as the weather gets warmer, and knitting sweaters just seems a bit too... hot.

I gotta join SecularHomeschool. But soon I'm going to be without a computer for TWO WEEKS, so I think it'll be after that.

Yep, everyone, two weeks of cold-turkey, no computer time at all, hopefully it'll do my hands some good. I've scheduled a few posts, though, so stop by if you can :-)

Susan said...

I hope it all blows over soon and the Department of Education goes on being uninterested in these questionable educational practices. :) We had a scare out here in California when a court ruling appeared to make homeschooling illegal for a time. But the decision was rescinded. I love your description of your yoga class...I want to have something clever to say about yoga and flexibility, both mental and physical and homeschooling, but I haven't yet had enough coffee.

Karen said...

Susan - I only do yoga at night, when I have finally had enough coffee... at least most of the time :-)
I hope it blows over soon too!

Magic and Mayhem said...

Karen, where did you tiger song post go? I get your feed in email and I came by to tell you how much I loved that post but it's gone! I've never heard that song and must find out more. No bedroom mats here either. :)

Karen said...

Alicia - it will come up again next week, it's one that I scheduled while I have no computer for TWO WEEKS (!), and I put the wrong date in so blogger published the post on March 5th instead of May 5th... you'll see it on May 5th. Sorry for the confusion! I'm glad you liked it and you have no bedroom mats either :-)

Firefly mom said...

Karen, I didn't know that you teach yoga! Cody and I both used to take a yoga class and we loved it! Unfortunately it was *really* early in the morning, and you know that we homeschoolers aren't usually morning people ;D

I deliberately stayed away from the GMA segment, and after hearing about it, I'm really glad that I did! I have read some articles that have been published since, and I watched another TV interview with the same family that came out after the GMA spots. Like Jena said - it *is* generating a lot of interest!