Unschooling without kids

/ posted in: Horses

Since we started getting serious about paperwork on the adoption, I’ve subscribed to an unschooling list on Yahoo. I just wanted to see what it was all about. I’ve read topics that interest me and skimmed the rest. Today I realized how much it is sinking in.

Prize knocked down part of the pasture the other day so both horses are grounded until we get it fixed. I decided to let them graze in the yard. I turned Spirit loose but put Prize on a long rope since she has a tendancy to wander. A few minutes after I let them out I noticed that the bugs were really bad so I decided to bring them in and wait until later to let them graze. I led Prize to her stall and she refused to go in. I asked again and she said no. She was looking at me in a way that let me know that she was ready to fight about it too. Then the unschooling list came to mind. When dealing with kids who aren’t doing what the parents want they recommend looking at it from the kid’s point of view and figuring out what is most important in this situation – accomplishing the goal or having the goal accomplished in exactly the way the parent wants it done.

Looking at it from her point of view – She hates it when Spirit is outside and she’s not. I knew as soon as she went in the stall that I was going to bring Spirit in but she didn’t know that. She thought she was being put away while he got to graze outside.

What was most important? We could have fought until she walked into her stall on her own like I asked or I could let it go and step in the stall first and ask her to follow. I did the second one and she came right in. That violates most of the “rules” of dealing with horses (and probably parenting too). You are never supposed to let them refuse to do what you ask. But I got done what I needed with no fighting.

Full disclosure – She threw the mother of all temper tantrums when I closed her stall door until I got Spirit back in the barn. But at least I wasn’t getting the brunt of her temper or excalating her anger by picking a fight with her. I’ve always said that I planned on raising my kid(s) just like I raise horses. Maybe it works the other way around too.