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In the two and half years since my son was born, I've been experiencing an ongoing transformation. The core of this work is stripping away all the layers of my identity that are not truly myself, to arrive at what I see as truly most important.

In the unschooling community, this transformation is called 'deschooling'.

The hardest part of making unconventional choices about raising a child and a family is challenging the deepest held beliefs of society and your surrounding community. In my case, the starting point was re-evaluating career success.

In the past, I often struggled to define my ambitions. Having invested much in my education and career, I felt the need to live up to my credentials and seek out career goals. As I gained more experience, the problem only grew. The things I thought I should be chasing pulled me further and further away from my internal compass. But ever since Henry was born I have been overwhelmed by the parental instinct to be present with him at all times. The ambitions that seemed so important quickly melted away and I came to understand that they were not really me.

At this stage, my deschooling process is the convergence of two paths:

  1. Thinking deeply about learning and child development, and reflecting on how best to empower him to follow his curiosity and establish deep and lasting attachments.

  2. Disassociating my identity from career outcomes and societal expectations to instead focus my energy on my deepest natural instincts.

I've made a conscious choice to say that raising a family is the core of my life's work and that other things I choose are in service to this mission. So when Thuong and I look at our life and the choices we are making, such as how we spend money, how we allocate our time and energy, and where we live, the goal posts have changed from before. We are mostly looking for ways to eliminate friction and stress and spend as much time together as possible.

In the simplest terms, we are no longer putting future preoccupations ahead of today.


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