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Learning in Freedom

Welcome to Learning in Freedom, a blog all about the learning adventures (and mishaps) of the Allen family. My four children are unschooled, following their interests and passions every day and living the lives of their choosing. The purpose of this blog is to share our every day lives (and my not-so-humble opinons) with anyone interested in stopping by. We hope this will give a glimpse of how natural learning unfolds from day to day......

Saturday, March 03, 2007


Jalen had his first session of Neurofeedback today. After a close friend got certified in this method, we decided to give it a go and see if it could help him with some processing issues and his frustration levels. I wasn't sure if he'd agree to try it, but after explaining that he would be hooked to a computer for "exercising your brain" he was interested.

I had my first session a couple days ago, so this was my second and Jalen's first. After seeing Jalen and I hooked up, Sierra wanted to give it a try also. The results were interesting. I felt calm and centered all day, though a bit emotional as I sifted through some grief issues I'd ignored for the entire month of February. Jalen was a bit agitated that there were no "bad guys" in any of the games and kept saying "these games are stupid" and "this sucks" but let himself stay on it for about 25 minutes. At the very end he started crying. Not an angry cry, but a very sad cry. We took him off right away and he perked right up.

During Sierra's 35 minute session and my entire 35 minute session, he played happily with legos in Mary's kitchen. Normally, he would have been bouncing around her house opening every cupboard, but he seemed very calm and focused on his play. I actually fell asleep on the couch for a while, waiting for Sierra. Can't remember the last time I took a nap!

Driving home I felt alert and calm, so it didn't fog my mind even though I was tired afterwards. She likened it to doing any exercise that you aren't used to, where you might need a rest after completeing it.

We've had a very good day. Sierra seemed to really LOVE the session and is asking to go back soon. Jalen seems open to going again, in spite of thinking the games are "stupid". It's very relaxing so I can see why children enjoy it once they get started. It relaxed me more than any massage I've had!

So............I'm going to try and blog about our neurofeedback experiences each week, to help others understand what it's like firsthand. I think it has great potential to help people in a non-invasive manner. Especially those of us with "ADD" like character traits that want to get more focused without losing any part of ourselves through drugs or other inhibitors. Neurofeedback is really just exercising your brain so it can operate more effectively. All natural and very therapeutic.

Part of this very calm day, was catching up on a few blogs I haven't visited for a while, including my sister's. One post talked about The Bridge to Terabithia, a book that inpacted me deeply as a young person. She quoted this portion, which seemed so incredibly relevant in light of a couple death anniversaries in February:

~~" He thought about it all day, how before Leslie came, he had been a nothing - a stupid, weird little kid who drew funny pictures and chased around a cow field trying to act big - trying to hide a whole mob of foolish little fears running riot inside his gut.

It was Leslie who had taken him from the cow pasture into Terabithia and turned him into a king. He had thought that was it. Wasn't king the best you could be ? Now it occurred to him that perhaps Terabithia was like a castle where you came to be knighted. After you stayed for a while and grew strong you had to move on. For hadn't Leslie, even in Terabithia, tried to push back the walls of his mind and make him see beyond to the shining world - huge and terrible and beautiful and very fragile? (Handle with care - everything - even the predators.)

Now it was time for him to move out. She wasn't there, so he must go for both of them. It was up to him to pay back to the world in beauty and caring what Leslie had loaned him in vision and strength.

As for the terrors ahead - for he did not fool himself that they were all behind him - well, you just have to stand up to your fear and not let it squeeze you white. Right, Leslie?

Right. "~~

As I sat at the computer weeping, I left her a comment about how we all need a Leslie in our lives. She left me a comment later saying "you are my Leslie".

I don't think anyone has ever told me anything that beautiful or kind in my entire life. I cried all over again at the power of that statement and just how responsible I felt at that moment, for how my life choices impact others. My sister made me feel incredibly strong and blessed and vulnerable all at once with that once simple comment, but mostly grateful.

It tied right in to another blog I stopped by today, my dear friend Mary (not the Mary here, the one in Corvallis, better known as "Zenmomma") had this quote on one of her posts. I printed it out to remember forever:

"My now does not belong to me. It is shared with others...ultimately with all that exists. I will treat this now with the utmost reverence, compassion and attention to detail. In this way I can give the golden glow of my love of now to others. This is truly the greatest gift I can give and from others receive. I will live in this moment rather than deprive myself of the only part of reality I can truly ever experience."

She also had a video that featured an autistic girl speaking about her "native language." It was touching and reminded me of the importance of learning to understand my wee man who does not process information like the rest of us.

Today was about getting more deeply in touch with a lot of emotions and remembering just how much this unschooling journey has helped us connect not only to each other, but the world in which we are learning. I am forever grateful for the beautiful souls that have been a part of my life story thus far, and for those I have yet to learn from. Life is good and grand and painful and perfect.


Blogger Snavleys said...

Martin says your a lot of people's "Leslie". I love you and I really am grateful that you are a HUGE part of my life! Maybe when I am down there we will have to try the neurofeedback with Tristan. I am dying to hear more about the session but I can't get anyone to answer your phone!

5:58 PM  
Blogger zenmomma said...

Hey you've been my Leslie! :o) Joni just saw the movie and said that Leslie reminded her so much of Qacei. Now I'll have to go see it. We read the book years ago and all I remember is that it made Conor cry in the end. :-(

1:52 PM  

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