Monday, August 11, 2014

Let Your Children Express Themselves - Red Mohawks And All

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Today I am sharing something I feel very passionate about and that is letting children express themselves. This post is dedicated to all those who question why we unschool and why my 7 year old son has a mohawk and pierced ears!

There are many forms of self-expression and self-expression is pivotal to a child's development. Yet many public institutions and parents do not allow children to express themselves freely. We all have a need to express our thoughts, feelings and ideas. One way I do that is through blogging. As adults we get angry when people try to force their ideals, beliefs and associations on us. However when it comes to children we find it necessary to interfere with their self-expression. We push children into the activities, hobbies, sports, etc that we think they will enjoy or that we want them to excel at. We assert our beliefs, thoughts, ideals and associations onto them and teach them that they need to conform to society. And we teach children that they should deny who and what they want to become because of what others may think.

By not letting a child express themselves freely we are denying them of important skills they need to become successful, free thinking adults. We are hindering their self-confidence, problem solving skills, work ethic, creativity and over all development.

And this is one of the many reasons we chose to unschool. Everyday we encourage our children to express who they are and encourage them to follow their dreams. Our children are confident (most of the time) and both have big dreams and goals in life. They explore their passions and interests and devote much of their time to learning about what they love. They have their own sense of style and are confident in who they are. They know their likes, dislikes and the activities that they excel at. They don't care what others think about them and they don't care about the differences they see in others. They are well-rounded individuals and we could not be more proud of them.

My story:
As a child I was allowed to express myself to a certain degree. My parents let me dress how I wanted which included tie skirts, afghan jackets and decorated blazers. I got picked on a lot in school but I never cared about what others thought because I was being myself and not conforming to the latest trend or style. I listened to music I liked, even though it was not popular. And I enjoyed expressing who I was through art, writing, and volunteering. But my parents didn't fully support my interests and would often compare me to my much older sister and push me into sports and activities they wanted me to excel at. And my personal passions and interests were not nurtured as much as they could have been. This lack of self-expression resulted in low self confidence which I still suffer from today. They were by no means bad parents they just didn't fully let me express who I was and what I wanted to become.

Fast forward: 
When I met my husband we both agreed that we would let our children express themselves and support them in their interests, passions and dreams. We knew we wanted to homeschool, but realized that there was a possibility we would need to send our children to public school. And if the latter would have been the case we still would have fought for our children's right to self-expression.

My 8 year old daughter is a tom boy and proud of it. She likes her hair long and uncombed, likes wearing bold colors and doesn't care if her clothes are covered in dirt. She is compassionate, creative, adventurous and loves learning! Some of her favorite hobbies are art, hiking, reading, skateboarding and horseback riding. She wants to own a horse and animal rescue and create masterpieces of art. Her two favorite things to learn about are horses, art and Native Americans.

Check out Gwyn's blog - Adventures Of A Homeschool Cowgirl

My 7 year old son is a very energetic, rough, tough boy. He definitely has no issue expressing who he is. He asked for his ears to be pierced when he was 3 and well the mohawk has always been his hairstyle of choice since he was a toddler. The colored mohawk is new for him. First it was blue, then red and he now wants to do it red, white and blue. He is also compassionate, creative and adventurous. Some of his favorite hobbies are hiking, getting messy, building with LEGO bricks, playing with his Star Wars toys, dressing up as a superhero or ninja and playing with his cars. He definitely tries my patience everyday, but he also makes me laugh everyday too. He spends the majority of his days building LEGO creations. He loves learning about how things work but he also really enjoys learning about the wars throughout history. His dream when he grows up is to work at a LEGO store or be a superhero!

Check out Rowyn's blog - Minifig Homeschool Adventures

The express yourself song by Charles Wrigth pretty much sums it up.

We all need and desire to express ourselves. How do you express yourself or how do you let your children express themselves?

Don't forget to enter the MEGA homeschool curriculum and cash giveaway here.

Also be sure to head over to Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog to see what my fellow crew members are blogging about this week for their 5 day blog hop!

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop

Here are a few quick links to some of my bloggy friends:

Amy @ Counting Change... Again 
Shawna @ Tenacity Divine
Adena @ AdenaF 
Jenn @ Simblissity Cottage
Emilee @ Pea of Sweetness
Kathy @ Kathys Cluttered Mind
Sara @ Embracing Destiny
Annette @ A Net in Time Homeschooling


Jennifer Nance Ryan said...

I'm learning this more and more everyday with my 8 year old. I could never understand why he didn't like reading fiction, like Mama does. He wants to soak up all the cool facts about science when he reads... Amazing what letting HIM choose his books does for his reading excitement ;)

annette from A Net in Time said...

I have to admit... I would have a problem with a mohawk on my son.... but letting him express himself in his love for critters and battle and artistry... I'm right in there with yah. :)

Kym Thorpe said...

This is a great post - one of the best explanations for allowing kids to be themselves. My son wanted a mohawk when he was about 5yo, so we did it! He wore it that way for a few years and everyone loved it. Then he got over it and wanted it cut super short, so we did that too. I love that my kids - all four of them - can pursue their own interests and come up with their own individual style, without undue peer pressure to follow the fad or attitude of the day.

Stephen Sowards said...

This caught my eye being so poular on kickstarter. And not a bad price for it either!

Emilee Roberts said...

This is so true! Kids need to be themselves. Adding too many limitations sends a lot of mixed signals because we tell them they can do anything and to be themselves yet sometimes we are the ones that are holding them back.

Akilah S. Richards said...

I agree with those post wholeheartedly, Kathy! Curiosity and self-expression are my core values, and in our house, we give our daughters room to embrace both. We unschool so that our daughters have space to discover and define themselves without the boxes, labels, and expectations that society so easily push onto children. We respect our daughters as people, not as property, and as such, their opinions on how they want to show up in the world (from style of dress to design of their day) is highly relevant. Kudos to you for giving Gwyn and Rowyn room to enjoy and express themselves. I think we're giving them the best things parents can give their children: love, respect, guidance, and space.

Simblissity Jenn said...

Great looking kids!

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