I’ve had a tie-dye kit in our bin of activities for over a year. Now and again we toss around the idea of trying it out, but have never actually gotten to it. That’s partly my fault: I’ve never tie-dyed before (I know, kind of pathetic!), and I was sort of procrastinating.
Here’s a great thing about unschooling: we parents can bring other people into our lives who share all kinds of new and exciting passions. Last week, a new friend we’ll call Carrie mentioned an interest in working with dyes, and inspiration struck! We invited her to spend a day doing tie-dye with us. She was happy to share her passion and expertise. Before long, we all got the hang of it and had a great time creating multi-colored masterpieces.
But it didn’t end there. We have an unschooling conference coming up, and this year my kids really wanted to take part in the conference bazaar. Someone suggested we could sell what we’d made. The idea caught fire as we caught one another’s enthusiasm. Before long, we had a huge, wonderful undertaking planned. And it all started with a tie-dye kit and a friend who wasn’t afraid to use it!
Sometimes, we unschoolers make the mistake of thinking that we should pursue nothing but what our children request. That if they don’t ask for it, we shouldn’t offer it. But I think this misses the mark. Our small charges have only been on this planet a short time. There’s an awful lot they don’t know that they don’t know. You can’t wait around for them to discover all this world has to offer. Sometimes, you’ve got to let them know what’s out there to BE discovered.
Bringing our own passions and interests into their world is a very legitimate and beneficial component of unschooling. Inviting our friends, relatives, and neighbors to do the same can open up new worlds, both to our kids and to us. We give our children a gift when we let them see our enthusiasm unfold. It is an unspoken invitation to enter in, discover, and enjoy alongside us. There’s no pressure, no agenda, just an opportunity to spend time together sharing experiences and appreciating all that life has to offer.