Booking Open: Autumn Consent Based Education Course for Parents – FULLY BOOKED

I am now taking bookings for the September – November 2017 Consent Based Education Course for Parents.

About the Course:

As parenting evolves beyond the traditional authoritarian model, and more and more families choose to live together in more respectful, socially just ways that acknowledge the personhood and agency of children, essential questions arise as to what that means in regards to our relationship with ourselves and others, our outlook and interaction with the world around us.

Consent Based Education is a response to this quandary. What happens when authoritarianism, the basis of all our existing systems, is stripped away, when we become more individually empowered in our own lives, and seek to support our children in this too? What happens when we embrace our own autonomy and capabilities, when we question the education and social inheritance we’ve received up until now?

What happens when our consent and voice really does matter – when we come closer and closer to our authentic selves?

This course is designed for parents who want to explore and go deeper into their understanding and experience of Consent Based Education, for their own personal development and to support their family’s life long learning in a consent based way. You can find out what it is like to take part in the course here.

The course is made up of the following 6 sessions:

  1. The History of Patriarchy and Consent – Why are Things the Way They are Now?
  2. Breaking Cycles – the Process of Change
  3. What is Consent Based Education?
  4. Love and Relationships, Boundaries and Freedom
  5. Creativity, Flow, and the Potential of own CBE
  6. The Bigger Picture

Before each session, a selection of preparation materials are emailed out – this can include things like podcasts, videos, articles and quotes. This prep material is designed to be thought provoking and takes between 1- 2 hours of your time. The prep is optional, although having a look at it will help you get the most out of the sessions themselves.

The sessions last for 2 hours, and are a combination of presentation and group discussion, critical thinking and reflection. Snacks and drinks are provided.

The course will be taking place between 10.30am-12.30pm on the following dates, at a venue just outside of Bishop’s Stortford:

Sunday 10th Sept
Sunday 24th Sept
Sunday 8th Oct
Sunday 22nd Oct
Sunday 12th Nov
Sunday 26th Nov

The course content is structured in a chronological way, with each session building on the one before.

Price: £15 per person per session, £90 total for the course (total course cost to be paid on booking).

Group size is limited to 8 participants to ensure a quality experience.

For more information and bookings, please email: sophiechristophy@gmail.com

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What is it like taking the Consent Based Education course?

I’ve recently come to the end of the first Consent Based Education course for parents.

The course is made up of 6 sessions, and runs fortnightly over 12 weeks. I always hoped that both mums and dads would be drawn to taking part, and amazingly, we had a 50:50 split. It was such a pleasure to work with the group over the six sessions, I learnt a lot from their experiences and insights, and finished the course feeling really excited about the potential of CBE ideas being taken out into the world. I am really going to miss meeting the group once a fortnight, eating popcorn, and discussing making the world a better place!

If you are curious as to what it is like to take part, the quote below is taken from feedback that I received from one of the parents that just finished the course:

My experience of the CBE course was one that left me feeling empowered, invigorated, and ultimately feeling that anything is possible. I originally wanted to attend the course as we as a family know that we will unschool in the future. That however shouldn’t determine whether you do the course or not. If you are a gentle parenting household, or you feel that your children are being deprived of their autonomy on a regular basis, and you are uncomfortable with that, this course will give you the courage and most importantly the tools to question those deeply rooted patriarchal influences found in schools and every day situations.

As a mother of 3 little ones, having the course material to digest and assimilate between each session was very welcome indeed. It enabled me to feel prepared with the questions i wanted to ask, thus leaving me feeling like I had gotten everything I had wanted out of each session.

This course is perfect for anyone who has that uncomfortable conflicted feeling that their children’s autonomy isn’t being heard or respected. Having an understanding of the history of patriarchy, and where perhaps our own subconscious patriarchal influences stem from, gives us the opportunity to change and follow a more consensual lifestyle. For me in particular this was pivotal in allowing myself the opportunity to forgive myself for the times I should of been more consensual with my children, and turning a belief into behaviour.

The course that Sophie has created is an authentic, and loving space in which to reflect and learn on how we can all become a more consenting family unit and more pertinantly, shift the way we think and treat our children as a society. It has definitely helped me reframe my perception on relationships, love, life, and what education for our children and future generations should look like.

What has the course left me thinking? My words cannot sum it up better than Sophie’s: “If we want our children to understand consent, we have to live it with them”.

One of my regrets is not taking a group photo before the course was finished – I won’t make that mistake again! Below is a one of the pictures that was kindly taken during the course.

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In the next few days I will be releasing booking details for the Autumn course, which will be taking place locally to Bishop’s Stortford, between September and November. If you would like more information, or would like a CBE course in your area, please contact me by email: sophiechristophy@gmail.com

What is ‘deschooling’?

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Photo: San Francisco, Museum of Modern Art, no year

‘Deschooling’ is a term that is used to describe the process people go through when they transition to home education – particularly unschooling. It’s is something that can be beneficial for parents who went to school themselves but want to home ed, and for children who have been attending school but then deregister to start home educating.

Deschooling helps people to move to a self-directed and self-motivated way of studying and living, from one that has been directed and controlled.

The term ‘deschooling’ gives us some clue to it’s meaning – ‘de’ describes the taking away/reversal of something, ‘schooling’ the thing that is being taken away.

But what exactly is the ‘schooling’?

Traditional schooling functions, among other things, as a process of socialisation into subjugation. One of the key things that we learn during our time at school is to accept the authoritarian model of ‘power over’ as normal, and to learn our place and role within that. We are socialised into accepting that the person at the top has power over those underneath, and the best way through that is to please/satisfy the person/people in authority, in order to survive/do well in the system.

Punishment and reward is used as a tool to reinforce this. At school, when we please those in authority, we are rewarded, often publicly.  If we fail to please, then we may be punished (also often publicly) – either directly, or more discreetly over time, by being labelled as not doing well enough, trying hard enough, as being difficult, or as having something wrong with us.

Traditional schooling also teaches us that learning is something that is controlled by the teacher, and our role as learners is to take on board what we have been told, and prove that it has been internalised. We are ‘schooled’ into thinking that ‘real learning’ looks like a particular thing, that happens with a teacher, in a classroom. That it isn’t something we ourselves can manage and direct, but that we need someone else to direct us and show us what is important. We are ‘schooled’ into believing that any learning we do independently isn’t real.

This process of ‘schooling’ doesn’t only happen in school. It can also happen in other spheres of socialisation, for example, in the family. When parents behave in authoritarian ways with their children, and use punishment and reward, they are teaching the same kinds of messages as are described above: to survive/do well/be loved you must please. Fail to do so, and you will suffer. It is a way to condition, coerce and control people into being a particular way, and doing a particular thing.

We have become ‘schooled’ once our subjugation – to a person, system, or idea of who we ought to be – has become normalised. At that point the existence of ‘schooling’ as an influence becomes invisible, as we have accepted subjugation as ‘life’.

Deschooling, then, is a process of personal liberation. It is the process we go through in order to deprogramme our bodies and minds from the conditioning that results from being socialised in a ‘power over’ dynamic. It creates space for us to reconnect with our own inner voice, sense of self and autonomy, and to release any belief, conscious or unconscious, that misusing our own personal power over others is ok.

Deschooling enables us to realise, accept and embrace our most authentic selves, our feelings, strengths, weaknesses. To acknowledge and address any fear or shame that has resulted from being socialised via punishment and reward, that is limiting us in exploring and being ourselves. It empowers us to be authorities in our own lives and to self-advocate – and crucially, to listen to, acknowledge and respect that same self-empowerment when it is demonstrated by the people around us. It creates a climate for honest relationships.

Deschooling frees us to be who we truly are, to understand ourselves and our own needs, and to make space for other people to do the same. It frees us to own our capability to learn what we want and need to, in order to explore our potential – and get excited for other people to do the same.