Using plants to help unschool my children

aligning with natures cues heal with plants learn about unschooling natural unschooling nature's cues plant medicine raise free humans unschooling works unschooling your children using nature to homeschool children Jun 12, 2022

(This blog is from a blog I hosted in 2017 on Wordpress. In an effort to share valuable content that has been lost in broken links over the years I will be sharing many of these blogs here.)

Since the beginning of motherhood, I knew I would unschool my children. There was a deep awareness that my children were not meant to take the route of school. My own educational experience brought me to this clarity. My personal curiosity and creativity were robbed once I went to school. I was a good student, always ready to do what the teacher asked. I wanted my children to do what they wanted. I wanted them to be tuned to their own desires.

So, what is unschooling?

Unschooling is a version of homeschooling where the family considers learning and education a life process and does not use a particular curriculum to navigate the growth and development of knowledge with the children. Unschooling encourages the child to take the lead in their learning based on what interests them and what their current developmental awareness requires. Unschooling aligns with the reality that knowledge is infinite and whatever a human is drawn to know, she will find. Just as the child begins to walk, we all will find the way to the information we are here to value.

For me unschooling is a lens I look at my children through. When I think of my children from the perspective that they have an intended path here, written within their hearts, when I see them as intelligent beings with the capability to do anything, I interact with them in different ways. In our home, discipline is still valuable. For many unschooling families this does not exist. I believe my duty to my children is to provide ample space to become healthy humans in any environment they are in. Knowing discipline is important to me, so it is the one part of their upbringing that I enforce my will over theirs. I can run a tight ship when needed. They know this and seem to be able to compromise due to the general freedom they are given.

Nature confirms my lessons with them

Plants have become allies with me in my child rearing years. They actually step up and act as an auntie/uncle to my children daily, providing guidance, wisdom and nourishment. I teach my children to be grateful for our plant family. I want them to recognize their larger Earth community and to interact with it naturally. Children innately have a bond with plants and nature. Release any child into the world and she will begin to explore her environment, as any human would. Babies have such a large capacity for information gathering and learning, they consume the knowledge of nature with literally no struggle. Children automatically embrace plants, animals and even bugs if never taught not to. As soon as adult fears of natural phenomenon taint a child’s awareness, the trajectory of that human permanently shifts. Plants provide reliable, eternal lessons and friendships to our children that might be a major missing piece to the city-schooled child’s wellbeing. Without open relationships with plants and natures cycles, a child can quickly become an angst filled teenager, feeling lost and alone in a really full world.

Plants actually provide the tribe element for anyone able to see them as equal, living beings. This really matters in the way I raise my children. I want my children to have the awareness and skill to navigate the Earth plane with community members that can show them the way to rising to their best selves. Unfortunately, our society does not produce many attitudes like this. Plants show up for our children and provide them with real life examples of what healthy living really looks like.

Mother Earth is the absolute BEST classroom available to my children!!! We use the outdoors as a learning space constantly. Nature provides all of the challenges one must come to learn how to solve. The physical aspects of nature create the perfect building materials for countless outdoor activities. It’s amazing what children will do with the resources they have. They use all parts of the outdoor classroom for learning from sticks, dirt and water to bugs, leaves and rocks. They create their own world wherever they are at, though when they are outdoors, the creativity gets really active. 

Recognizing the importance of this play is where unschooling young children differs from structured, fact-based learning. This is how humans have been learning to be humans for eons. We learn by playing out the behaviors of our adult family members/caretakers. Children need nature to be able to understand their place in their world. It gives them the tools to physically work with to practice being an adult. Children can learn to communicate with plants simply in play. For me these bonds are worth encouragement.

I can see that allowing my children to explore the outdoors and the lessons they encounter freely is producing a confidence in their own decision making skills. They don’t fear nature and her creatures. They find connections with plants and bugs and trees and flowers every time they are outside. They happily graze weeds and flowers in the neighborhood and feel good about knowing what and how to feed themselves. And they show gratitude to the plants for sharing with them. These are the real lessons I want for my children. I want them to know that they have a support system all around them, every where they go, during all stages of their lives. Plants carry the solutions they need, in one way or another. 

I use plants to share with my children the universal love that all beings carry within them. I talk to them about how the relationships of plants work and how they nourish each other through just being different. Being different is something we spend time with. Children are curious and want to understand why everyone is how they are. I believe they should navigate these questions and find out. Though I also know they must learn to allow each human the right to be who they are, without them needing to understand why. They naturally connect with these life teachings just by being in nature. If they were in school, I wouldn’t be able to spend this time helping them navigate the world they live in. To have plants as aids, structure, counselor, curriculum, assignment, lunch room and even vacation time, makes me feel like the most prepared unschooling mama around! The team is trustworthy and dedicated to raising up healthy babies to healthy adults. This team is winning!!!

Joseph Campbell discussed the disconnect humanity has from awareness of where we are going because we have no mythical stories to follow. There are very few long standing societal stories that share how to best model ones life like the verbal tradition carried. These characters guided the people of the times to righteous and productive living. Major morals were conveyed and spread across the land. Few seem to recognize that plants literally play this exact same role. 

Aligning my children with the stories of the plant world is providing them with a structure to follow in life that is based in truth. As they grow, there will be no questioning if they know how things work. I already know that nature herself will provide exactly what they need to see and become who they were born to be. Watching my children play in the world with the freedom that unschooling provides for them makes my heart feel fulfilled. The foundation plants can create within a human life are very easy to see when the person is allowed to bond with nature. And I am not talking perfection. I am talking being capable of dealing with the many changes of life. It’s what the great stories guide us through. How do we walk through the fire and stay standing. These stories are crucial in a healthy society. 

 And the most important way plants support me unschooling my children, is they provide me with a passion that I can share with my children. Being lit on fire within by my love and appreciation for the healing powers of plants, is great energy for my children to be around. They see me pushing myself to share what I see and how it helps us. They get to watch their mother share with everyone she talks to about how awesome plants are. They are learning that in order to do something you have to do it. Plants are so righteous that I must move with them. I feel the healing myself and I watch it in others. My children are building skills that I am just now realizing are necessary. How to manifest what your heart desires is a skill that some know how to perform. My children will not have to fight to learn it. They won’t even need to search. It is already a piece of their awareness. Plants gave this gift to my family. It only inspires my farther.

Everyone has a different path to lead (or follow) and while I know that sending young children to school for many hours each day to be taught how and what to learn, is detrimental to the natural curiosity of the human, I also know that school still has its place in society. School was a safe haven for me as a child and still is for many youth around the world. Learning how to concentrate and absorb things you might not want to actually learn, does have its benefits. Though for our family, this just does not outweigh the challenges that come with the culture of school. I do not judge another families choice for using school and honestly, there are still times when I question if our decisions are truly the best for us. Though, I am constantly working on trusting the divinity of creation and that everything is always unfolding exactly as it is planned. And I envision a world where more and more children are raised outside of school. Where our time is spent learning about the world from the world itself. Imagine the freedom to be able to ponder, discover and create from an endless creative potential. Imagine knowledge being seen as a gift again and sought after by all. When children learn to tune into the Universal Mind and discover their own purpose through exploration of their natural environment. You think technology is advanced now!?? A billion of these people could change the world. WE can do it. It’s being done. For me, unschooling heads the movement. And from watching my children grow, I can very confidently say…


How unschooling is working five years later....

Five years after this blog was originally published, I still believe in unschooling and using nature to support this lifestyle. As my children age, their individual desires continue to blossom and I see the adult versions of each of them coming to the surface.

None of them are as interested in plants as I am. Each of them has a deep awareness of how the Earth works and the ways Mother Nature nourishes us all. Though they have less interest these days in playing in the dirt or watching the bugs crawl. Their early years were spent exploring the outdoor world. These years they spend a lot more time exploring their inner worlds. They have things they want to create and bring into the realm of reality and they use much of their time using their hands to manifest their own visions.

There is still ample time for free play and they also use their time to build social skills between themselves. The imaginative play does decrease with each year and with budding preteens I can now see how vital their time in nature truly was. They do not follow the pack and feel confident in who they are individually. Culture definitely has become more interesting to them and I do allow them to spend a bit more free time on screens. Each get one hour a day on screens for pure entertainment and they each know there are boundaries based on their own safety, on what they can spend their time doing online. I spent many years openly talking to them about how easily children are brainwashed by external sources, as their minds are like sponges, soaking up just about everything they come in contact with. They take my lessons seriously and monitor one another's media consumption, helping me create our own little community of support. 

They each still find themselves wandering into our garden, asking if they can help, learning about different plants and their uses, digging into wood chips and still tasting plants that I share knowledge with them on and even dirt. They ask questions about what's growing, what type of fruit or medicine will be available and are learning about the difference of growing plants in the desert versus in the Pacific Northwest. Though in general, they are more interested in their own activities, classes and personal passions. I can see clearly that they are independent thinkers that have a solid foundation based in the natural cycles of the Earth. I believe that they will in turn raise their children to be in tune with the Earth, giving them ample free time outdoors and encouraging a natural connection with plants. I trust they will look to the Earth first for their healthcare needs and always expect diversity in their food choices, life experiences and social bonds. 

They have watched me continue to pursue my own passions. I have published multiple books since this original blog was published, opened at home businesses, nourished our local community, created meetups of diverse humans and have built a new food forest garden in the desert. They have witnessed my work through blood, sweat and tears for what matters most to me and they have supported my projects with their encouraging words, love, hugs and at times their own hands. They know if you want something to get done, you gotta do it yourself and these lessons of living at home, learning through life experience, are developing three of the most amazing humans I have had the pleasure of getting to know. Second to life itself, growing with my children at home as been the greatest gift of my being here on Earth. Riding the waves of life with them and getting to know one another from spending our time together, growing, failing, hurting, building, creating, loving, overcoming... these moments, they are truly the highlights of my life and I would relive these days over and over again. There is nothing more important for me in these years than to spend them with my children, guiding them with my own life choices, lessons and passion for growth. As I am sure at some point they will also desire to break free from mom and explore the world on their own, I hold a deep faith within that they will feel blessed to have been able to be schooled at home with their family and in union with the plants. 



Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.