Alanis Morissette Opens Up About 'Unschooling' Her Children
Canadian singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette has explained why she is “unschooling” her children – and why she acknowledges it’s not for everyone.
The Ottawa-born singer, whose parents Alan and Georgia were teachers, told Health about how she and husband Mario “Souleye” Treadway educate their children at home. The couple has son Ever, 9, and daughter Onyx, 3, and welcomed son Winter last August.
“Unschooling, for me, is child-led education,” Morissette explained. “So if there’s some agenda like, ‘Let’s play with these magnet tiles,’ and my daughter is like, ‘F**k those tiles. I want to put glitter on that thing and cut the tree and put the thing,’ boom — we do that.
“There’s probably a better definition of unschooling, but there’s no rigidity to it.”
The 45-year-old “You Oughta Know” singer said unschooling is all about seeing things from her children’s perspectives.
“I basically get inside their eyeballs,” she said. “I’m constantly watching their eyes and what they’re pulled toward, and then we do the deep dive.”
Morissette admitted the hands-on nature of unschooling means it’s not for all parents – especially those without the financial means to stay home.
“If my son is going to bed late on tour and he asks me three really huge, existential questions, there’s no, ‘Ah, we’ll talk about it in the morning.’ That is the moment,” she explained. “Unschooling is 24/7.
“When I share with people that I unschool, a lot of people I’m close with say they’d love to do it but just can’t. And I get it. I’m like, ‘Yes. I understand, and I think it’s a smart choice not to do it.’ It’s a major commitment.”
Morissette is pictured on the cover of the May issue of Health breastfeeding son Winter. She said she wanted to do the photo as a celebration of mothers.
“I love moms so much. If I talk about it too much, I’ll start crying,” she said. “I just think moms are so selfless day in and day out—women are just killing it all the time. And they are so often quietly suffering, or not-so-quietly suffering, and still going—functioning sufferers.
“And if there can be even one moment of respite that my humour around it or my validation of it can help—that’s why I did it. Plus, I love education and teaching.”
Shortly after Winter was born, Morissette shared a close-up photo of the baby nursing on Instagram, where she tagged the accounts of Stop Censoring Motherhood and Normalize Breastfeeding.
Listen to music from Alanis Morissette