[This post is from the September 2019 newsletter – click here to read it.]
In a way, this is a birth announcement. This month I gave birth to a new book titled ‘Self-Education for Excellence.’ It’s an inside out philosophy for life-long learning.
You may be wondering what learning style has to do with health. Hasn’t the way we’ve always taught kids in schools ok? Afterall, I turned out ok. Didn’t I?
Basically, each of us is endowed with a true desire program before we’re born. It’s actually encoded within our being and then the key hidden from our view. Our job, then, during our lives is to find the key and unlock, through inspiration (in-spirit-ation), the hidden gifts bestowed to us.
If other folk’s agendas and curriculums interfere with, or trump, our volitional learning, there’s going to be symptoms. This is how we know whether or not we’re on the right path. If we’re rockin’ our essential self, feeling fulfilled, respecting our true desire program, we’re feeling happy, playful, enthusiastic, invested and wholly engaged.
If not, over time, we forget what we love, we lose the thread of inspiration, we end up settling for that 9-5 job in that 10 X 12 cubicle that just pays the bills. The problem is that the light went out on our dreams years ago and we’ve been paying the price with chronic fatigue, allergies, headaches, etc.
Perhaps you’ve got kids at home that are already showing signs of disenchantment with the school year. Maybe their teacher is less than stellar this year. Before the light in their heart starts to dim, please pick up the book on Self-Education. It can help with coping strategies and help you understand that while you may have turned out fine, there is more to education and health than meets the eye.
It might surprise you to learn that there are many creative ways to let kids self-initiate their learning. I’ll show you that their health and well-being actually depends on it.
Reviews for ‘Self-Education for Excellence’:
“By picking up this book, you are helping to think beyond a model of indoctrination that operates against the individual, one which actively works against our mental health, sense of self and social justice, which in turn, manages to completely extinguish the learner’s natural love of learning. By adapting the concepts of self education you are working against the narrow, ageist, classist, ableist, sexist and racist version of ‘education’ that the current system and world at large supports. By picking up this book, you are starting to transform your own ideas surrounding the social construct we call “education” and start to focus on the value of “learning” instead.” ~ Lainie Liberti
“Ally, I am going through it all several times and each time I hear myself saying “Yes!” to SO much here; it’s blowing my mind and satisfying something so fundamental within me that it’s like reaching the summit of a sheer rock face cliff climb when you get to put two feet on the ground and REALLY feel them there! Planted. Solid ground under my feet; and damn it feels good!” ~ Lesley Breen, DMH, DynPh, Live & Layered Blood Cell Microscopy, MEd.
“I’m enjoying this book immensely. Thank you for sending it my way. And for reminding me that keeping my kids home with me and out of the school system and IN the world is an act of love, a tending and a caring for, not a test or challenge or egoic kind of practice.
I love how you’re connecting disease with not only compulsory learning, but the waning and stifling of those organic questions, the questions that become our dreams, really, our ambitions. I’ve read a lot of deschooling/unschooling texts and have never (I don’t think) seen that blatant connection. I believe it.” ~ Amy Robertson, Unschooling Mom
As I learn to navigate the education system with my five year old, this book reaffirms that children are natural learners and should not be interrupted at the ring of a bell when they are pursuing their passions or interests. While my child is in an alternative child-led Montessori school system – if I ever feel my son’s light dim – even a smidge – I now know that unschooling is within my reach and comfort zone. Thank you Allyson, for both your experience and research. This book will remain in my stack for years to come! Highly recommend! ~ Amy L Hitchman
“A pertinent read for our times. In an engaging, highly personal narrative, McQuinn challenges traditional education styles in favor of a much freer approach where children learn by exploring their own interests while living in a stimulating home environment which could involve travel to other countries. An intriguing option to consider, especially when remote learning experiences have made many parents reevaluate the effectiveness of the current educational system.” ~ Margaret McGavin, Author of “Nothing but Flowers and Songs of Sorrow.”
I was not a conventional parent. I actually never once corrected my children’s spelling or pronunciation or reading unless they asked me to. I did read aloud constantly in the evenings, played music or sang, though, and if they were interested, they’d choose to engage by listening, participating, or asking questions. I would engage with activities that I loved and then often they would just join in. I left it entirely to their volition. I did not want to be a false authority in their lives; however, I did display my own profound love for literature, art, music, science and nature.
I felt that just because I gave birth to them did not give me the right to lord some nefarious sense of seniority over them. I also never counselled them to say thank you or treat others with respect. It actually never became necessary to do so. They just naturally treated others the way that I did. I took my personal accountability to my children very seriously. The golden rule was my ‘Modus Operandi’ (MO). I knew enough from my studies in human behavior that the gestures I used in treating others would form the ethical center in my children.
When my kids were small, we hosted older children from around the world. At the time, I was doing a four year medical degree, was a single mom, and I needed the monthly allowance paid from the organization that sponsored these foreign students in a significant way. It also meant that I had another pair of eyes and loving hands in the home if I needed to run to the store or drop a child off for swimming lessons. It was a win-win situation.
We had a beautiful young girl from Madrid live with us for the summer. Her mother had been killed in a bombing in the Madrid subway. We loved on her … a lot! She became part of our family and she adored my son and daughter. I still have images of them playing with Rachel in the water at the beach while I reveled in their joyful antics.
We also hosted a more challenging senior student from Varacruz, Mexico, who chose to smoke in the house during the minus 30 degree winter after I’d asked her several times not to. She also came home hours past the organization’s set curfew on weeknights. Despite this, we looked after her, fed her, loved on her, and learned all about her home, how to make molé poblano, and how to say phrases in Spanish while she lived with us.
When my children were older, I launched a program called “Camp on The Farm” at our home. We had other homeschooled kids, Montessori children, and Waldorf children come for several weeks to join my children in the hay mow, hanging out in the fields and 200 acres of wooded trails just below our property. It was a paradise! The camp attendees got to spend time with the ducks, chickens, sheep, rabbits, turtle, cats, dog, and horses. Even if it rained, we had a 7,000 square foot barn full of hay to play in. We had a summer kitchen full of crafts, including beads, paints, paper, and coloured pencils for use during more quiet afternoons while littler ones were napping. My children were our farm’s ambassadors. I bought all the supplies and my children were cared for by counsellors at little cost to me, while I was serving patients in clinic and working on my postgraduate thesis.
When they were even older, I was hired as the Medic for another kids’ camp. My kids got to come along at a significantly reduced cost. The children of this camp were the kids of LGBTQ families. Kids of gay parents are not a shred different than my kids, as they all loved the same things; swimming, hiking, doing crafts, and roasting marshmallows over the fire. My children did learn compassion for those children, though, when they discussed their challenges at school due to bullying, coming from homes with two moms or two dads.
Incidentally my kids’ godmothers have been together for over 20 years. We lived with them for a year on their farm when we moved to a different province. They’re probably still closer to them than even to their own extended family. My friend of 30 years can fix just about anything, build a shed, make a soup to curl your toes, milk a goat with her eyes closed, and is the go-to person if a goat kid is sick on the peninsula she lives on.
When my children were in their later teens, they chose to educate themselves entirely out of their own volition. They chose 3 major avenues of study and I supplied their well-versed and loving mentors, as well as purchasing the supplies for these streams of exploration. I was available for any queries or challenges that came up for them and to supply a lot of food in the fridge when they were hungry. As teens, they’d sleep in until noon just about every day, wake up and eat their fill! The astral phase of development requires a lot of sleep, rest, and reflection. Later, they’d respectfully ask for the keys to the car to go to their riding, trampoline, or parkour sessions. I trusted them implicitly. I still do.
My son was worried at one point about being “school” educated and so he enrolled for grade 10 at the local high school. He not only maintained a 99% average all year, he was tutoring most of the other kids in his class. He suddenly realized one day, that he was not earning his teacher’s salary or even getting “dental benefits” (his words) and so he quit less than a year later thinking the whole system inane. He cited that school was a complete waste of time for him and that he learned much more on his own.
My daughter, at 16, chose to go to Art College for a year. She, nervously, had to write an entrance exam in order to get in. After 48 hours of study, she wrote two days in 2 hour sessions each. The guidance counselor let her know that she’d aced the test with perfect scores in all areas of English, Math, and Science.
At 18 my daughter has been working to train Olympic level horses. She is an artist, calligrapher, avid reader, and musician at heart. She is still unfolding herself, looking for that perfect form for her ultimate fulfillment. She plans on studying veterinary sciences in the not too distant future. I’ve been told myriads of times how amazing my daughter is, not just with horses, but with her peers and the other children learning to ride at this caliber.
At 21, my son is a trampoline acrobat, instructor, and runs a staff of 20 at a facility in another province where he moved to work. My cousin’s daughter attended a birthday party at the facility one day last year. She did not know my son since she was still a toddler when they’d met prior. That night she told her dad that she’d met this “amazing guy” at the local trampoline facility that day. She said, “He bent down to look at me in the eyes when we were talking. He helped me to use the trampoline safely, and you could tell he really loved what he does. Unlike the others there, he took the time when I asked how to do the front flip he was doing when I got there. I don’t know how to explain it, but he’s not like anyone that I ever met before.” Her father asked his name and she replied, “Jordan”.
Needless to say, I was often unsure of myself. I didn’t know too many other parents, at the time, who parented this way. I received a lot of criticism from their father, his family, and the community we lived in for even homeschooling them.
No one ever asked me why I parented them this way, or allowed them their head and the reins, with regards to their education. It is fair to say that I protected my children like a mother bear sure of one thing; if I had gone about raising them any other way, my ethical centre and MO would have pulled me up short. Also, they would have tortured me in retaliation. I knew that strict parents just create sneaky children. My profound love for them just couldn’t look or feel any other way. I was riding the impulse of inspiration. I treated them the way I wanted to be treated. I gave into my instincts, said fuck it to the societal constraints. I don’t have one ounce of regret! My children are entirely self-governing, resourceful, deep-thinking, creative, loving, and healthy. I’m so proud to be their mom.
After being cured from the cancer miasms using Heilkunst Principles, I made it my vow not to rescue others to the exclusion of myself and perpetuate children with the same cancer state of mind that I’d suffered with. I was also determined not to become a false authority for my children or others. I knew that love of self, acts of self-exploration through autonomy, creativity, and individuality were part of the “anti-cancer” state of mind.
My postgrad thesis yielded a book entitled, Unfolding The Essential Self: From Rage to Orgastic Potency. Which describes the research that enabled me to fully become my essential self after discharging my rage at the suppressive workings of 2,000 years of patriarchy. This book comes with a bibliography full of resources for those wishing to live out of the same principles.
Jordan has other reasons for being so remarkable that you, dear reader, may not know of. Hundreds of patients have been cured of their own diseases since he brought me to this system of medicine. You can listen to Jordan’s and my story for yourself for FREEhere.
Most adults I begin work with, sadly, haven’t a clue what they want to explore or even how to follow that inner tendril of a lusty feeling to know themselves through inspired interests. Most question themselves constantly, “Is this what I’m meant to be doing?” they ask. It makes me feel sad for them.
Natural unfolding and self-education are key to preserving a proper downloading of the astral body (desires) properly threaded through the ontic organization (incarnation of the self). It enables a meaty verve for life-long learning producing a sense of joy and wonder.
As adults, we engage with new concepts with the same juicy enthusiasm in precisely the same way as a child does who is left to her own curious devices! We’re no different than little kids, we simply want to know, to explore ourselves through our own thoughts and feelings and really play with how we fit in the world; what animates us?! Only then, we’ll start to give back to others out of our own plumbed wisdom.
As children, we innately know what we love and we don’t engage with frivolous subjects that don’t feed our natural curiosity. We’re downloaded with the natural capacity to keep falling in love with ourselves and what inspires us from the onset. It is that aspect, called enthusiasm that is the secret ember for who we’re meant to become. You just have to listen carefully and be sure not to snuff it out by over fanning it or, alternatively, not paying enough attention to it.
It is a God-imbued wondrous thing if that verve can be preserved. However, if we force a child to learn subjects they’re not interested in on other people’s agenda or a government curriculum, you risk breaking that child’s spirit. That “little light of mine” will risk going out. Alfie Kohn, natural learning advocate, states that there is no scientific evidence that homework is of any use to a child. If it was, wouldn’t children naturally love it and pursue it?
State-based school teaches concepts solely from an intellectual standpoint. Over time, you’ll erase the child’s natural verve, their kinaesthetic joy, they’ll stop asking a myriad of questions like, “Why is the sky blue?” The light in their eyes starts to diminish and they use statements like, “I’m bored,” more often. This is because they’re now seeking promptings for engagement from the outside-in as their natural inner enthusiasm sadly wanes.
False authority loves those that can’t think for themselves, and they’re happy to do it for you. Big Pharma will drug you where it hurts when the ember of realization kicks up, to justify their own agendas. I too was once a numb, sick drone working in an 8 x 12 felt cubicle in the federal government. It felt like I’d gone there to die!
Alternatively, if you watch children play, their whole bodies and breathing apparatus are involved. Their fight for things, possessing what they care about, wearing capes and swords for weeks at a time. They draw and paint everything, they whinny like horses, dance with abandon, juggle balls, throw bean bags into holes, study books they can’t yet read, lay on their backs studying the sky, jump stones in streams and dally in life’s greatest mysteries. Few of us know that these tendrils of unbridled excitement becomes the flame of creativity later on.
We adults are conditioned to think and say insane stuff like, “But those activities will never land us a job in adulthood.” I will flip them the bird and break their smoke-filled false crystal ball so fast, their head will spin! How dare they. It is always those drones, who hate their jobs the most that spout this suppressive crap.
Just, WOW, so we cut the child down from the tree they’re just learning to climb, destroying their confidence and turning them into our expectation of an intellectual plebiscite. The self-volitional life ebbs from their loins to take up the reins of then criticizing others through the emotional plague reaction.
We’re spiritually starved for new art, innovative music, brilliant plays, great books, big thoughts, and random acts of creativity. We need quirky thinkers, more innovators, and fully self-actualized in-spirit-ators. Read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Book, “Big Magic,” if you’ve forgotten how to be a creative genius out of your own generative capacity. Learn to re-claim wonder and joy falling back in love with the nature of your inspiration!
If you’re still struggling, contact us. The way I got back to my own essential self, extricated myself from drone-hood, and turned back on my creative flow was by applying the principles of Heilkunst Medicine. Through sequential therapy our patients also observe their inner volition flood back as we peel off the trap doors of emotional and physical trauma recognizing that our innate creativity is trapped under those suppressive layers.
As a by-product of treatment we witness them, and ourselves too, start to become self-motivated seekers hot on the trail of an innate insatiable curiosity. They just know what brings the fire and heat in their guts, sometimes for the first time in their lives! It is exciting and also frightening to feel this joie de vivre for the first time. We’re often not used to it.
My own kids chose not to be subject to the suppressive forces of allopathic education. They both tried to go to a state-run school for a time, but they were bored and hated the coercive atmosphere, bullying and arbitrary tests and exams. For example my son, Jordan, was just naturally tutoring all the kids in grade 10 math, coming home one day to state that he was quitting as he was doing more for the students than the teacher was, but he wasn’t getting paid for it, “I’m not drawing a salary or even getting a pension,” he joked. He held a 99% in math that whole semester.
My children lived the natural unfolding through self-education through the inherent rhythms that John Holt describes above. What an honor it was for me to witness their self-directed desires illuminated through the grace of time and space to explore their own inner world. When they were little, reading to them was my biggest job after the animals on the farm had been cared for. In their teenage years, my job morphed into supplying them with the tools and outside mentorship to further their self-actualizing goals.
My daughter, Adie, wanted to study literature, music, art and jumping horses. My son, Jordan, chose parkour, trampoline acrobatics, Aikido, and leading leagues of battalions in World of Warcraft. I watched them unfold staying as much out of their way as possible, wholly confident in their capacities to unfold themselves. I worked from home and so they would come to me if they wanted help with a problem or needed me to arrange and pay for driving school or drive them to horse lessons, but mostly I just let them be. They slept a lot! You can read more about their story here.
I can admit now that parts of it were not easy. Folks checking us through the grocery line often demanded to know why my children were not in school. Depending on the individual, we got good at saying that we were just coming from a Doctor’s appointment, as if it was their business. My hardest, and often my only job, was backing off these fearful criticizers! I was pursued at times by state-based-administration demanding accountability. I wrote letters and lied overtly to protect myself and my children. I also avoided e-mails and phone calls from family.
Thankfully, homeschooling, world schooling, unschooling and self-directed education is becoming more the norm although, we still have a long way to go in this realm. I’m now asked to mentor other parents at various phases of homeschooling exploration who are just learning to trust in the inner rhythms of their own babes. They innately get that perhaps a child’s natural unfoldment somehow preserves not only their health but also their happiness.
I will close with one of my favourite quotes from John Lennon, “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” Nailed it!
My son Jordan, now 21, is a teaches trampoline acrobatics also
managing a 7,000 square foot gymnasium and loves his life.
He also loves Parkour and spends most of his time defying gravity.
This was also true when he was 3! Jordan is also a Bowen Practitioner.
My daughter, Adie, galloped and whinnied her entire childhood.
At 18, she trains olympic level horses to compete internationally.
She also gives lessons to tiny and medium sized equestrian enthusiasts.
Adie also loves her life.
That’s me, Ally. I used to wake with whole poems written in my head as a kid.
However, due to insurmountable grief, serious illness and allopathic education,
I’d lost my muse completely for over 25 years. I HATED school! At 52, in large
part due to Heilkunst Medicine, I rekindled my muse and now I have 13 books,
(including 2 books of poetry) to my name that I have also LOVED giving birth to.
Some additional Resources that may fuel your desire to learn more about self-directed education:
Today I woke up slightly giddy. We had a real bonafide artist in the house. It is how she makes her living! My best friend’s cousin had come to visit at the home where we are also staying. Nat Perry was planning on teaching us string art. After tea and breakfast had been served and cleaned up, we all sat poised over clean, white, watercolour paper, with varying lengths of thread dangling from our expectant fingers.
We all spoke a prayer of intention, to become a conduit to our Divine Selves in order to allow the pure essence of being to be illuminated in our work. I could feel the tickle of excitement ascend my spine as I regarded the untouched inks and paints still housed in the cold vessels of potential. What would they become through me? What raw feelings would they invoke?
As I picked up the first piece of black thread, to dip it into the black indian ink, I consciously gave a liberal shove to my intellect to get it out of the way.
Art and babies are born more easily the more I can get my ego to take a hike. What glee ensued as I allowed the thread to titillate and caress the page. The rounded curves and draggy lines spun me completely into the delightful realm of play; no illusion of control here. Just a properly bridled warmth.
Black bled into the twilight of cobalt blue, kissed with the yellow of a thousand lemons, peppered with neon pink of plastic rain boots; iridescent! My friend’s piece quickly resembled Haida art, rich in a tapestry of burgeoning beaks and totems, skidded with threads of black and royal blues. My other friend found the darkness of chaos bleed liberally into the rainforest of her illuminated self. Her heart clamouring to pass through the borderland.
As one of the many sun-curled cats snored on the couch in the next room, I regarded my daughter sitting to my right. At almost 18, she was raised with Waldorf Pedagogy. She’s been wholly allowed to unfold her essential self through art, music, and the sweat of horses. Later, as a homeschooler, I realized that she’s never been forced to be anything other than who she is. She’s not had to to battle against the forces of obedient resignation. She’s always been healthy, suffering the fewest of meagre symptoms her whole life.
I so have to work at bucking the years of conditioning from allopathic schools and parenting, where the insidious message to be a puppet of conformity held me pinioned from my creativity. Through years of Heilkunst Sequential Treatment and Character Analysis, I’ve fought to re-enliven that innocent, child-like, playful being that I am, in order to re-excavate the writer, the artist, the voice musician, and the poet.
These juicy aspects of myself were long buried under curriculums of expectations and government jobs that had bled me dry, to be impaled on the spike of dental benefits and a ridiculous pension. Who wants something to fall back on when you can fall forward on your generative capacity instead?!
As a result, I was riddled with chronic fatigue, sinus infections, paralysed with fibromyalgia pain in all 19 quadrants of my body, migraine headaches, and bone sucking depression. Thankfully, I’m not defined by an ounce of that pain and suffering anymore. I am an artist!
Picture courtesy of Diane Nowlan
I recall, from when I finally got to the Hahnemann College for Heilkunst all those years back now, that the founder, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, had defined the whole system of curative medicine in his book, “The Organon of the Medical Art.” I remember hearing, for the first time, Rudi Verspoor, the Dean of Philosophy, talk about how you have to shelve the intellect, and everything you knew previously in the allopathic world, to properly ascertain the true nature of the patient’s suffering.
At that time, as I was getting healthier and healthier due to my own Heilkunst treatment, the raw, dormant, artistic impressions shuddered and kicked anew. I intuited an almost cold, leached ember sputtering suddenly with new life, licking the air and space clean with a kindled fire where my old tawdry symptoms had been.
Over time, I re-learned how to diagnose (through knowing) from this same art-filled place that had been walled off in me. Now, I wait quietly to feel what picture the individual will paint through their accumulated symptoms on the totality of their state of mind. Their own Divinely imbued words filling the blank canvas with themes and nuances of tone, that break with the colour of feeling, arcing an overall impression. The whole phenomenon bleeds onto the blank white page. I see the kaleidoscope of intention rendered richly in their striving to also know themselves. It is the art and science of a true medical system; the gesture of self-romance in the pursuit of freedom.
My son was a big gamer, he still is. I used to feel very much like this Mom, worried for his psyche, worried for the time not played outdoors, worried that he was living a life isolated from other humans. I used to tell him how it made me feel. I would even sit with him to find out which character he was this week and marvel at all the battle gear he’d assumed. He’d tell me about his prowess and what it would take to accumulate all the masks, shields and swords and that he had hundreds of kids around the world in his guild, looking up to him to lead them in the conquering of other worlds, levelling up at phenomenal rates. It was clear to me that he’d found a safe arena for all of the testosterone and that his mathematical, language and leadership skills might be of use. In my mind, I could justify it just one more day if I self-soothed, kept fulfilling my own desire program, and made sure he got his vitamin D regularly for living in virtual darkness and the Genetic Miasm for what I feared was the “unlived life.” I felt myself constantly placating my own fears and recommitting to my faith in him. Fast forward to the present. My beautiful son turns 21 in a few days. He is very balanced. He bikes everywhere, spends lots of time with “real”, human, friends and his virtual ones too. He teaches trampoline acrobatics, trampoline aerobics, manages about 20 kids, and opens and closes the facility daily. He tells me that he loves his life. My cousin’s daughter went there for a birthday party and reported to her Dad that she met the “kindest young man”, who was “very special” and took the time to teach “us how to have fun, but also be safe” on the Trampolines. His name was Jordan. I knew the feeling about this young man that his daughter described. She got to meet the essence of who he is too. Jordan tells me that he couldn’t do what he does, managing all those pieces and the youth in his life if it weren’t for all those guilds that he managed through his teens. The gaming was the arena for him to become the man that he is today. As I’d formerly feared, it didn’t take real estate away from him, in his eyes, it helped to craft who he is today; a loving, caring, compassionate and fulfilled young man who will only ever do what he loves backing off all false authorities, including his Momma.
This morning, I came across two parents on a local group, “Practical Homeschooling” who are basically trading in the State-based, outside-in, approach to education by attempting to coerce their children into “focusing” on what they want them to do, rather than allowing them to unfold naturally out of their own desires. Here are those comments and my response to one of them (please enlarge on your desktop … sorry it’s so small):
In order to explain my stance further, let me take you back a little in time. My son, Jordan, was born two months premature over 20 years ago. After a delayed MMR vaccine, at 15 months, he regressed, losing all speech and eye contact and also began suffering chronic constipation issues so severe he was hospitalized seven times; once he was even put under general anaesthetic to remove the impacted stool manually. I made a vow that if Jordan was ever cured of his ills, I’d write a book about it illuminating what it was that had resolved his sufferings. That book is entitled, The Path To Cure; The Whole Art Of Healing.
It is about the system of medicine that I now practice. When Jordan started to unwrap himself, through Heilkunst medicine, he first attained the milestone of using the bathroom on his own; and then he subsequently achieved the milestone of saying “I love you!”. I realized that I’d been gifted with a second chance, a chance to re-do motherhood in a whole different fashion.
He was delayed in speech and cognitive processing and I sought out an environment to try and preserve his delicate immune system as he fired up his mental and emotional grid. The fanning of embers is a delicate operation, too much wind and the little flame is extinguished; not enough air and the flame is also extinguished. Allopathic, conventional school, for Jordan, meant further labels of ADHD and autism, constant add-in therapies for speech, cognitive development, and movement in order to get the help he needed to make the sound “shhh,” solve problems without tantrums, and learning how to keep his feet on the floor when drawing so that the trees in his pictures could form their own roots too. It was a form of ‘management’, at best; healative, but not curative.
I needed to bide our time while the Heilkunst process was unfolding. It was exhausting. Jordan became like a pet project while his baby sister flourished naturally, behind the scenes, unvaccinated and perfect in everybody’s eyes. All the focus remained on “Project Jordan” while the little village we’d created worked with him tirelessly to make him a “real boy” based on stats, mid-lines, and scores that were created by non-autistic-living authorities. I watched Jordan stutter, literally and figuratively, the flame sputtering, and then the lights all seemed to go out. He just wanted to be with me, not a myriad of therapists, and I just wanted to be with him too, his mother bear.
I was afraid that I would not be enough for him; I brought him home anyway. He came to work with me at my office as wholistic college registrar everyday; I drew, painted, read, and played with him on his terms every lunch hour and break. It was very rewarding and also very demanding. Jordan was a fount of endless questions; a seemingly unquenchable desire simply to know.
I ignored spelling mistakes, the speech issues, and the cognitive challenges and focused wholly and solely on what he loved. I let him drive the curriculum, on his terms, both day and evening. He was thriving and I was sputtering with exhaustion trying to hold down two full-time jobs with not an ounce of support. As a result, my marriage to his father came apart at the seams. When we later moved to a farm, I held an annual “Camp On The Farm” day camp for kids of Waldorf and homeschooling families.
The following year, we enrolled Jordan in the Waldorf school where they united with me and the philosophy of allowing him to dictate the pace in a wholistic environment. Their maxim was the same as mine; learning from the inside out. In partnership with Waldorf pedagogy and the local homeschool association, Jordan unpacked himself over 2 decades, naturally, while backing off false authorities; only learning what he loved and only when he wanted to know it. If he suspected that I, or his father, demanded something specific from him, he only just rebelled. I had to find another way; always another way with him.
As he got better, and his health was restored, I also had to take the focus off of him and find my own path for myself. Jordan demanded a mentor, not a false authority breathing down his neck, trying to get his lips up to say “shhh” on some arbitrary schedule. This was a very successful model until we ran out of Waldorf school rope at the end of grade 8.
High school presented a disaster when we moved to a close-knit farming community in a small town, in a mostly rural setting. The cliques did not include a new boy from 2 provinces away. By this time, Jordan had advanced so much in his academic ability that he held an average of 99% in math the whole year in grade 10, tutoring almost the entire class during lunch hour and breaks. He stated that this just didn’t seem right, as he was not being paid to be a teacher; he wasn’t even getting dental benefits! His words, not mine.
Jordan again came home and remained there during his adolescent years working part-time in our clinic, filing and doing lots of odd jobs requiring a myriad of skills. He was a further help when he got his driver’s licence. Jordan fell further in love with the martial art, Aikido, and then later joined a trampoline acrobatic club which also took his love of Parkour (free-running) to a whole other level of prowess. He and his buddy, Eric, ran a club for Parkour enthusiasts in our local village, helping other young boys to defy gravity and fly through the air. Little did we know that this red thread would become the cornerstone of Jordan’s work as a young man today.
At 18, Jordan decided to train as a Bowen Practitioner, a hands-on soft tissue modality requiring much of the same skills as a Registered Massage Therapist or Chiropractor. He graduated at the top of his class for which all of his more senior fellow students admired him. He also became a manager and mentor at the largest trampoline acrobatic centre in a large urban centre. He tells me that at almost 21 that he’s never been happier; this gives me great joy.
He let me know one day, that he always felt a little unsure of himself, that people might not think him capable because he was homeschooled. What he’s realized since is that his problem solving abilities and inner resourcefulness are off the charts; explaining why they’ve made him a full manager in less than 9 months at the acrobatic club. He’s jumped four levels in the hierarchy in a few short months to manage a staff of almost 20!
My daughter, Adie, has been mostly home educated as well. I never interfered with her pursuit of self-knowledge. She would engage with tutors on-line for Greek, in exchange for teaching them English. She’d buy bristol board at the dollar store, crafting elaborate maps of middle earth, or just seeming to randomly do a pictorial comparative analysis between Greek and Roman gods, all entirely out of her own volition. She’s read 1,ooo page tomes in 5 days, year after year, eating through books like she was half starved. I often wondered if I’d have to get a second job, just to keep her in books!
She would draw horses for hours; again, totally self taught and highly motivated. She taught herself how to play the piano and earned her own money to buy a keyboard to practice on. Adie also rode horses competitively, training in dressage, stadium jumping, and cross country. She even worked with the Canadian Olympic team one summer as a groom (aka barn slave) at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, with riders from all over the world.
Like her brother Jordan, Adie also just seems to innately know who she is and I completely trust her capacity to unfold her own desire program, naturally and with ease. No coercion or interference is necessary from me as she is totally self-governing and motivated. I was a little concerned when she applied to art college at 16 and was required to write the university level entrance exam in both math and English. I sweated over the math, thinking back in the recesses of my mind that we’d never covered any math; it just never came up in her pursuit of the arts. I need not have worried as she hired her own tutor the week prior to the examination, again, entirely on her own, and got 100% on the English exam and a 98% on the math. After a few short months at the college, they refer to her as a ceramics protege.
My hope is that I’ve helped to foster life-long learning for both of my children. They watched me struggle through a four year medical degree in Heilkunst medicine and also a post graduate study in advanced therapeutics in the same. My husband, Jeff Korentayer, and their step-dad, also shared the same pursuits as I did, fostering a culture of self-fulfillment through knowledge. Jeff has gone on to do a double PhD.
We never travelled very much, or took many vacations, but we took our own self-education very seriously. We also housed other Spanish-speaking international students from around the world over several years, exposing the kids to other cultures, languages, and a sense of a global community of knowledge-seekers. Perhaps now you will see why I responded the way I did in the post back at the beginning of this article.
I feel deeply that it is our job as parents and mentors to tease, lovingly and gently, an individual’s innate desires to know to the surface. If you’re nervous about trusting this God-imbued wisdom downloaded in your own child and their capacity to self-teach, then study everything that John Taylor Gatto ever wrote. Read Alfie Kohn and the Colfax’s book about educating their boys while building their house in the middle of nowhere in the mountains of California.
Read The Teenage Liberation Handbook and allow your kids to unfold naturally, gracefully, while having complete trust and faith in their inner process. I’m also here if you need a coach. I promise you that it will be the most awe inspiring journey you will ever have the pleasure of going on with another human being. Find inspiring individual mentors for your kids that speak to their specific, individual interests and perhaps you will find that along the way, you’ve also become one yourself.