Alison Morissette is holding the torch for her kid’s individual learning styles and operates her own life in a similar way with the “unschooling,” approach.
On Thursday’s episode of Katie Lowes‘ Shondaland podcast and iHeartRadio podcast Katie’s Crib, the 46-year-old mother of three discussed her new album Such Pretty Forks in the Road along with how she has embraced both attachment parenting and “unschooling” when parenting her three children: sons Winter Mercy, 13 months, and Ever Imre, 9½, plus daughter Onyx Solace, 4.
csays Morissette. “The word ‘attunement’ is [important] in parenting but also in marriage and best friendship and professional relationships. … If we’re not attuned to each other and we’re missing each other like ships passing, there’s not a chance for that deep connection that will be the hotbed for their whole life.”
That “attunement” ideology also is closely linked to how she approaches education for her kids, especially when it comes to getting to know them individually and lead her in the ways that they learn best.
The “unschooling” philosophy is a passion of hers as she was inspired with it on an experience she had “in Fiji years ago,” when she watched two young boys laughing and walking down to the beach together, alone.
“I turned to them and said, ‘Where are your grandparents?’ And they did this waving motion with their finger, like, ‘They’re everywhere. Why would you ask us that?’ ” Morissette recalls.
“I remember thinking that’s the ideal. That any itch you have — like, ‘Hey, I want to learn that technology’ [or] ‘I wanna be really funny right now’ — you would know that there would be a village around you [where] every itch could get scratched on some level.”
Morissette tips her hat to Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences theory for her and husband Mario “Souleye” Treadway‘s approach to their children’s education, revealing how they both “loosely reference” the ideas of musical, spatial, physical and intrapersonal intelligence.
“What I do with my kids is I watch their eyes,” she explains. “So if I’m invested in them looking at this candle that I’m holding but their eyes are looking over there at the dappling through the tree, I’m gonna put that candle down … they [couldn’t] care less about my little agenda.”
While her parents “were both teachers,” Morissette says, “I understand and respect conventional schooling, to some degree” — and if her children decide to take that route, she has no qualms with it.
“When Ever says to me sometimes, ‘Mom, what if I want to get my doctorate?’ or whatever, I just say, ‘Yeah, whenever you want to go to school, you’re gonna go to school. And if you want to just keep learning outside of that context, then you will,’ ” she tells Lowes, 38.
“I think because of my direct experience with ongoing education, it has me see unschooling as certainly daunting but in a really cool way, like, ‘Wow, this is a huge thing to take on,’ ” says Morissette. “Because as you mentioned earlier, it’s 24/7.”
“Like if Ever wakes up in the middle of the night and asks me a question, I’m not gonna blow him off, ’cause this is the time he’s gonna learn about that dinosaur,” she adds.
Morissette also understands her “privileged position” in being able to bond with as well as educate her children in the way that works best for her and her family. “I can be working at home when I want to and they can come on tour with me, and we’re an attachment village.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.