This is a guest post by Lehla Eldridge. Her blog is Unschooling the Kids. She lives with her husband and three kids in Italy.

What does “to be powerful” mean anyway? To have power? Power can be a bit of a scary word. Wars have been fought over power. Maybe for me it means that our girls will be able to stand in their power when they are not being treated fairly.

To have voices, to be strong women? Yes, I want them to be all of that, to be strong and standing tall and equal. How do I do that? I am talking about inner strength and confidence, about the inner drive about that unextinguishable (ooh that is a nice word) female power.

The girls have just looked over my shoulder. They both boooed the title of this post. Then one of them just said. “Mum you don’t need to teach us to be powerful, we need to teach ourselves be powerful.”

The other day we were on Skype to a friend in the UK and he had to do homework about Italy, so we were helping him. Then one of my daughters said, “Mum, can you please give us homework?” I love those moments.

So I asked them what do you like to do? What do you want to do? And the girls both said history.

So here is how is went, these were the questions:

Who were the Suffragettes? Do you think, as women we need to thank them? And if you were a Suffragette, how far would you go for your beliefs? Can you dress as a Suffragette and have your portrait taken?


Who was Amelia Earhart? If you were her and you went on a trip, what would you take? What happened to her and why did she become famous?

All of these questions were answered today, my son was also in the room, making paper weapons and hearing all about powerful women.

I asked him, “What would you do to help the Suffragettes?”

He says he would sneak in to the King’s bedroom and pour honey on his head, because “have you ever tried to get honey out of your hair? It is a nightmare.” Or he would put a box of nits on his head. “Nits are awful,  Mum,” he says.

I know.

The girls say they would make the king a birthday cake and then dressed as a Suffragette, they would jump out and shoot the king. I ask, “How is that going to help?”

They think. Then Amari piped up and said, “I would threaten to shoot myself unless the laws were changed!” She also talked about tying the king’s horses legs together.

Then we talked about Amelia Earhart. My other daughter made a suitcase and packed a book. There were flaps for all the goodies she would take. Then she dressed up as Amelia and said, “Mum, I am going to make a plane and sit in it. Then when the light is right take pictures of me.” We hit golden hour—we know about golden hour when the light goes crazily beautiful. In Italy golden hour is very golden.

‘Where am I taking these shots?’ I asked. I had one Suffragette, Emmiline Pankhurst, and Amelia Earhart. Emmiline shouts out, “Chain me to the gates!!!” We did.

I said, “Pull a Suffragette face,” and she did.

Then Amelia shouts out “I need to catch the light, what if I put the box up the tree, like I have crashed?” We realize time is fading and there is no time to put the box up the tree.

“Let’s put it on the grass.” I say. “So get in. And be Amelia Earhart.”

“Ok,” she says, and she directs me through a whole series shots she wants.

Then as the lights fade, so do I, I realize that I am not feeling like a very powerful golden woman today. I feel as if I have thrown myself on the unschooling cross and all the ideas have been squeezed out of me and I am forgetting who I am.

The bigger picture is that as well as teaching them about powerful woman in history, I have to look after myself and model what powerful is. Which for me is tricky as it is about boundaries and sometimes it simply means a break from it all to find a space where I too can be strong and golden and fly my own plane.