Mothering #2: “Schooling” and Our Kids

January 21, 2020

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We are mamas and birth workers who decided to do birth differently– and bring others along with us. We are kind, fun to work with, and great at (lovingly) calling people on their bullshit. With 12 children and 20 years of midwifery between us, we’ve learned a thing or two along the way, and Indie Birth is our space to share it all with you.


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“When you take the free will out of education, that turns it into schooling.”-John Taylor Gatto

Come with me on this ramble as I share my thoughts on formal education, my own story and what my hopes are for my own children. This is a big and touchy topic but since it relates so much to my birth philosophy, I hope it brings you to questioning and exploring on your own. Homeschool, unschool, public school, who cares! What do we REALLY dream for our children?


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  1. Shanika A Malcolm says:

    Great podcast. I’ve thought this way for years and have looked at different forms of schooling. My kids really love the Sudbury democratic unschooling method. Its a hard path as people like myself think so counter to society. I read “Dumbing Us Down” years ago and it made me feel so not alone. My children are at home and spend time doing what they love. I just found this free PDF of JT Gatto, http://mhkeehn.tripod.com/ughoae.pdf

  2. Deserea Woolf says:

    Dear Maryn,
    This new podcast on schooling resonated so perfectly with me and my family. Everything you said reminded me so much of the life of learning that I have at home with my kids as well. I have 6 kids and have never wanted my kids to be away from my husband and I as their parents, and I never wanted my kids to be away from their siblings. Family is such a gift! My youngest 3 kids have known only home learning, the one just above them tried kindergarten for 4 months and I missed her way too much and couldn’t wait to get her out, my oldest tried out a few schools here and there, but we weren’t happy with the whole school system and some of the teachers ect., my 2nd oldest did a few months of kindergarten and we were liking her away from our family and she didn’t like it. Then we decided to try her out in first grade at ALA here in AZ, so the kicker is when I called the school to let them know that I was going to be taking our daughter out of School for 2 weeks to bond with her new baby brother after my scheduled c-section the teacher just about dropped her jaw to the floor and couldn’t believe that I would do such a thing, she thought maybe a day or 2 but definitely not 2 weeks. I told her teacher that we would pick up all of her assignments and her teacher was just not having it, not to mention that she didn’t realize that I had picked up the phone while she was screaming at all of our daughters class mates. I realized that if I wanted my kids to know their siblings on a level like no other, that keeping them together and providing home education as a whole family together was going to be our goal. And it’s been wonderful! My mother had 12 babies with me being her last and we were all sent off to school and I couldn’t wait to come home. I wish that my Mom would have known about home schooling because then I would have had all my siblings to be around and learn with. I couldn’t wait to get sick so that I could stay home and be with my Mom. No one loves your kids more than us their own parents. No one wants our kids to love learning more than us as their parents. I truly feel so blessed to be able to watch my kids grow and learn every day. We have been doing a lot of dinners at our house with having different families come over so that we can all let the kids hang out with our friends kids and so that we as adults can have some fun with our friends too. Something that has stuck with me that I Love is that I met a women at toys r us that had a bunch of kiddo’s with her playing on the big electric kids vehicles that they sell there and I asked if she homeschooled or if she had her kids in public or private school and shr resplied “I worked to hard to get these kids, I’am definitely not going to give them away.” She May have had trouble conceiveing or something and then it took her along time to get some of her kids through I believe a private adoption if I can remember right, but what she said is how I feel. These days parents are separated from the kids at age 3 all the way up to age 18 and then their kids are not around practically at all once there older like that. And some parents have there kids in day care the week after birth and then head back to work. So my question is, why are people having babies just to drop them off some where their whole lives. Do parents not want to teach their children. The best learning environment is in a child’s own home with the people that love them the most their family. There’s no other place that a loved child could feel more secure than in their own loving home. Now I understand that just because a mom has a baby that it doesn’t mean that she will know how or even want to be a mother, yes there are many things that can factor into that type of situation, maybe her mother didn’t show love to her and then the cycle continues. I look at the moment that I took my first child to kindergarten and how torn and awful I felt, his back pack was practically bigger than him. I cried for weeks dropping him off to school all day. It was one of the saddest times in my life giving him away like that. Now my husband was homeschooled completely so later on I had a lot of support from my mother in law to home school my kids, which was a great help to me knowing that I had some one cheering me on. I love being a home school mom, I wouldn’t trade it for the world because it means that I’am surrounded by my beautiful children and we get to teach and learn together as a family. ❤️ Desi

  3. Lauren Young says:

    Loved this podcast, Maryn! I have 4 children, ages 0, 2, 4, and 6…we started our “homeschooling” this past year, and just as you mentioned it was an idea that took hold of us after a powerful homebirth- which lead me to the indie birth midwifery school, and ultimately all of this had me shifted and empowered when I realized we could do this too! My 6 year old did 1 year of kindergarten 2018-2019 in school and i could not recognize her sweet spunky spirit anymore. We are a close family, with lots of time together and it seemed so silly to send this kid to another place for 8 hours while we were all home together living life! It has been amazing to see her this year, the learning taking place is insane and our family relationship has become even stronger. And we are simply living, nothing fancy really- just experiencing the world together. I cannot imagine ever separating these siblings from each other again-I can’t believe we did that for an entire year. Just as you said, I find the similarities in trusting birth and trusting the process of learning. I love teaching my children and knowing their happiness and learning is happening by what we are providing and not giving this power to another person or institution and in that same way, we are learning more from our children…they are teaching us and helping us as well <3 it’s truly so fulfilling and freeing (I didn’t say easy, lol but it is a sweet life of learning together!)

  4. Melissa says:

    Great podcast! Learning through life here with my 4 kiddos!

  5. Victoria Wilkes says:

    This was absolutely fantastic – it is so true that when you believe certain things about the way the world works, it trickles down into every aspect of life. I am educating my own children in this way described in the podcast and found it extremely encouraging!

  6. HK says:

    I just had a baby (he is 9 months) and I hope to have more children. I want to homeschool, but what I seem to come up against is the notion that my children “wont be socialized”…this always comes up with whomever I talk to about my plans for the future. It is a bit discouraging. Hopefully I can branch out and meet other homeschool parents someday and find a community.

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We are mamas and midwives who decided to do birth differently– and bring others along with us. We are radical, fun to work with, and great at (lovingly) calling people on their bullshit to help move us all towards a new more beautiful world. With 12 children and over two decades of midwifery between us, we’ve learned a thing or two along the way, and Indie Birth is our space to share it all with you.

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