I've been attracted to the study of psychology since I was a young teen. The ability to listen without being judgmental was a skill I developed early, as well. When I was in high school, a program called Peer Counseling was being created - & someone from the high school staff nominated me as someone who should be part of this program. I spent my entire senior year learning about & training to be a Peer Counselor, someone skilled in listening, assessing crisis situations, guidance & mediation for other teenagers. This experience was extremely empowering for me, & fueled my desire to major in psychology while at college.
I attended Clark University so that I could learn more about psychology. Psychology, in a broad sense, is the study of human behavior, & psychologists are classified as social or behavioral scientists who attempt to understand how people's mental functions influence individual and social behaviors, while also exploring the underlying physiological and neurological processes. During my time at Clark, I was particularly interested in understanding family dynamics and how that influences behaviors.
I also minored in education and philosophy. My work with the education department included interning as an adjustment counselor at a middle school - an eye-opening experience. Although it was less than 10 years since I was middle-school age, being a "fly on the wall" to the students' issues gave me a new perspective on how they experience & think about various school oriented issues.
Part of my philosophical studies was the study of logic. This included understanding logical arguments, the uses of language, the fallacies of presumption & ambiguity, causal reasoning and scientific explanation. I found it fascinating - it really helped me learn how to think critically about & analyze information, not just in an academic setting but in the "real world".
While attending graduate school at Boston College, I was able to learn more about developmental psychology. I was primarily interested in working with children, so for my Master's practicum I chose to work as a counselor at a residential treatment facility for children. After two years of study, I earned my Masters degree in Counseling Psychology with a focus on children & adolescents.
After moving to NYC I worked as a Child Specialist for another residential treatment facility, this one geared toward mothers who were mentally ill & chemically abusing (MICA) who were allowed to bring one child aged 3 years or younger with them. Although I didn't work there for very long, I learned a great deal during my time there in part due to ongoing professional development trainings for the staff.
Then I became a mom.
I constantly sought out whatever information there was about parenting from as many reputable sources as I could find. La Leche League proved to be a wonderful source for an amazing amount of information, backed by scientific studies, that helped inform our parenting philosophy.
Eventually, this continued exploration, this desire to find the best possible way for us to raise our children, brought the concept of Radical Unschooling into our lives. Little did we know then how huge an impact Radical Unschooling would be upon our lives. Now, many of our closest friends are people we met because we unschool. We have traveled all over the country because we unschool. And now we have the opportunity to share our Radical Unschooling lives with others who may be new to the concept. It's an amazing realization that we can help others unschool.
Our journey isn't over - we will always strive to be the best parents we possibly can be for our two children. After all, they, like all children, deserve nothing less than parents who are passionate about being their parents. And it is that passion that brings us such immense joy. The joy of living, laughing, learning and loving the Radical Unschooling way!