When I consider what "The Best Thing" is in this wonderful unschooling life of ours, I would have to say it is the freedom to enjoy life with the ones we love. I honestly cannot imagine only seeing my children for a few hours at the start and end of our day. We are blessed with the opportunity to be with each other all day, every day, and that has done some amazing things in our lives.
First, and most importantly, unschooling and having the freedom of simply being together has allowed us to lean on each other during this emotionally hard past year. My daughters and I had ample free time to cuddle, to talk, to question and discuss, to vent, to cry, to comfort, all with the most important and closest people to each of us: each other. All the while, we kept our healing our number one concern, not curriculum, not a set schedule, not the every day rat race. I was able to continue being the constant in their life that they so desperately needed. I fought hard to keep the ability to do this for them, and despite what anyone thinks, I don't regret it for one second.
It's amazing how the relationships within our family have grown. My kids have become the very best of friends, and it warms my heart. I love that they aren't separated because they're different ages. They get the opportunity to learn and explore together, and they think it's awesome. My 7 year old teaches the 3 year old so much, and constantly! At the same time, the 3 year old helps my 7 year old hang on to that childish imagination, creativity, and enthusiasm for even the simplest things in life. Thankfully, they both do the same for me.
My children have also had so much opportunity to bond with my mom. Because my kids aren't rushing to get ready in the mornings, they have that time every day to spend with their grandma, helping her start her days on a good note. If she happens to get off work early, we could meet up for sorbet at the local froyo place, or shaved ice, or an early dinner. The evenings are nice, too, as my oldest and my mom have a mutual favorite show, and it's so neat to watch them enjoy it together. I can't explain how much I love seeing the connection between my mom and my kids. They have also bonded so much with extended family in the past year, too. It's amazing what freedom with your time can produce in relationships.
Not only do we have free time to simply be with our loved ones, but we have the opportunity to get out and do things with them, whenever we feel like it! I love that! If someone calls me up and asks if we're available to do a favor, or to meet somewhere, or do something, I can usually say, "Yes!" This is especially wonderful when someone in the family has work hours that are not the norm. My boyfriend has limited time to spend with us, and it's so nice that our schedule can easily work around his. It allows us to be able to hang out and do things when he can, and that makes us all happy.
I absolutely enjoy the hours upon hours I get to spend with my children every single day. I love how much time we get to spend with family, and the irreplaceable bond it creates. I cherish the fact that my daughters are very best friends. Truly, "the best thing" for me, is the freedom we have to intentionally live life with our loved ones, and to enjoy every moment with them to the fullest.
*This post was included in the Unschooling Blog Carnival for October 2012. Stop by and read the other great entries!