Sometimes I wish we could live life more in community. Even though our family life is a little different already than the norm out there, I quietly long for it to be still more different. I wonder if I'll have regrets, someday, about not moving forward with a few of my closely-held ideas and ideals.
I think we humans were designed to live in relationship, and in far closer proximity with each other than we mostly do. If relationship, attachment, is our fundamental drive as human beings, we as a society are not doing that great a job at facilitating proximity with the primary attachment figures in our lives, or in the lives of our children. We culturally focus our attention on becoming increasingly independent of each other, and we live our lives in isolation to a far greater degree than in generations past.
Sometimes I close my eyes and picture a big piece of land, just outside of the city limits (so that city conveniences are still readily accessible!). That big piece of land, or even a neighbourhood with a street running through it, might have six or eight or ten homes built on it; one family in each home and each family well known to the others because they have all chosen to live there and do life together in some fashion. I picture a community garden or two; play structures and a soccer field; maybe an in-ground swimming pool and a basketball court, too. The people who live in those houses school at home and have similar visions about wanting to raise their children more in community than in relative isolation. I envision that learning would take place as much (or more) by figuring out how to do life together as it would through academics.
I would never have had these kind of thoughts six or seven years ago...prior to beginning our h/school journey. I was a different person then, in some respects. But h/schooling, and in particular unschooling, has shifted my priorities. It's changed me. I find myself a little more inclined, now, to take advantage of opportunity as it arises; a bit more likely to think a little more out of the box and according to some of the values that we claim we live by. I'm not quite so daunted by differences of opinion/belief/thoughts...in fact, I'd like to co-exist alongside them.
We have been blessed with an abundance of lovely friends...friends from various walks of life, from a variety of perspectives, faiths, and experiences. I wish, long even, for more of that. More of them. I'd like to live alongside them, to share meals together on a more regular basis, to have my kids in their homes and their kids in my home. It's probably a pipe dream, but it's there in my head nonetheless.
I wonder if this is how other communally-living groups of people became establishments: Hutterites; the Amish; etc. etc. Perhaps, although I'm not looking to emulate those communities...in fact, for me part of the attraction to a community life such as I've described would be living, as a Christian family, in close proximity with people of diverse perspectives and theologies, and having to work through our differences within an umbrella of similar family values and respect.
It would be messy and complicated.
But isn't that real life??