To My Unschooled Children: Thank You for the Gifts

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Today, there is comfort in this life we have chosen. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. It feels like a well-worn blanket, woven from yesterday’s yarn, unravelled in places but still holding together and still warm when we most need it. But it wasn’t always easy. Far from what I expected, this life of learning freedom was never just about you. How much I have changed, broadened, grown over the years. All thanks to your gifts.

When you couldn’t and wouldn’t read, I felt ashamed because the others were far ahead. So I pushed and bribed and broke all my promises to you and to myself. I worried what others would think. I worried what it meant about who I was as a parent. I worried that it would never happen or that it would happen too late. But then one day, in your own time and on your own terms, you read–one letter, one word, one sentence, one page, one book at a time. Now the shelves are full and never enough spines to choose from. So I learned that there is no such thing as “too late” when the original gift is trust.

When you didn’t seem interested in forming letters and spelling words (the things I treasure most), the lined pages with dotted traces and the sharpened pencils came out.  I tried to guide your hands in the shape of my own. I wasn’t capable then of seeing the innocence of your backward J’s, of appreciating the M that looked like an ocean wave, rolling on an on. Now your hands and minds are connected in extraordinary ways and what comes out is your story alone, on paper and in voice. And so I have learned not to edit when the original gift is individuality.

When you showed no interest in science or other subjects on the curriculum that was part and parcel of my own education, I searched for learning opportunities. I killed more than a few spontaneous adventures by trying to make a lesson out of them. The bees, those butterflies, the miracle of pollination. None of that lives in a science book. And so when I took your hands and led you from the garden to show you how it all worked in that book and even asked you to read aloud from it, of course you lost interest. You wanted to follow the bee, watch his feathery legs float gold from flower to flower. You wanted to follow the slimy snail. Slow, just let me slow. So I learned to slow, to let things unfold without direction, to let the weeds come up in the garden. I have learned not to structure when the original gift is time.

When you took all the buttons off your clothes, my little girl, to glue them on a burlap bag, I got angry. Why on earth would you do that? Now you are a creator, a chaotic, messy maker of unique and beautiful objects. And if I could go back in time, I would sit on the floor and help you pop off all the buttons, break open the zippers and most importantly, rip off all the labels.

When you put on a dress and make-up and pretended to be a girl, my little boy, I cringed just a little. Why on earth would you do that?  Now you are a comedian, an actor, an imitator, a smile-maker. And if I could go back in time, I would put your hair in small pig-tails and tell you it’s more than okay to wear pink, and most importantly, to rip off the labels. So I have learned not to impose my own impressions when the original gift is freedom of expression.

I still have much to learn, still have work to do. In those early days, when my own doubts and insecurities came to the surface, I looked to you to ease them, those stubborn remnants of a life I no longer wished to live but couldn’t seem to break free from. But that was never your job. It was always mine. I see that now. I see you.

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Carpe Diem: Unschooling is All About Living in the Present

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Vase With Flowers by Sunny Rowland

It seems that everyone these days is in search of a way to reconnect: with ourselves, with those close to our hearts, and with what is essential in life. We read and hear a lot about getting back to center, stripping away the extraneous, silencing the noise. We are distracted by instant access to news and constantly solicited by ads, messages, click bait and forum debates. We find it hard to carve out time to do things that are meaningful to us; to garden, to paint, to write, to take a walk in nature. We are stressed and unfocused. Even young children in schools are being led in meditation and mindfulness practices. And yet young children are innately in tune with themselves and their surroundings.

In fact, no one lives more fully in the present, with all the attendant gifts and emotions that go along with it, than a child before he is made to attend school.

A newborn expresses immense gratitude the instant his needs are met, and conversely screams in frustration when they are not. An infant will while the day away, sleeping or studying her toes or the curve of her mother’s nose with intense concentration, without ever worrying that she should be doing something else.

A toddler expends limitless energy and stamina exploring his curiosity, the sounds he is able to make, the movements he masters. He fails repeatedly in his attempts to roll onto his stomach, crawl, stand, walk, put words to the many references he has already integrated into his understanding of the world. He tries again, fails again, but his determination is organic and powerful. He learns from his missteps, assimilates what he has learned, then dismisses the mistake. He attaches neither shame nor defeat to his inabilities; for they now belong to the past. Here and now, at this precise instant, is a renewed opportunity to learn. How exciting, how exhausting, how truly and utterly wonderful is this present moment !

We, as parents, happily encourage our babies and toddlers in their learning blitz. We offer guidance as role models and supporters of their knowledge and skill quest because we understand that we cannot teach them to talk, walk, eat or any of the other basic skills a child acquires by the age of two or so. They must learn these on their own, with our guidance and support. As we accompany our children on this day-to-day evolution, we too are asked to live in the present, to accommodate inevitable changes to our lives, naturally losing our sense of time. While many of us attempt to create a semblance of structure, our children continually show us the gift of now, asking us to let go of any semblance of a calendar or schedule.

And then one day, and increasingly too soon, our society willingly hands our children over to strangers who begin to “prepare” them for the future. The present they so wholly inhabited suddenly becomes a sterile box which they are no longer allowed to freely explore. Where not so long ago we encouraged them to walk and talk, they must now sit in silence. Where once we championed their leaps of learning and their boundless discoveries, we now begin to train them to be instructed. Where once we made great efforts to meet their physical and emotional needs, we somehow find it acceptable that those needs be controlled and stifled. Where once we championed our child’s individuality and autonomy, we now find it beneficial that they conform, obey and mold.

The messages they now receive are no longer anchored in the here and now, but instead focus on what is to be.

You may talk when called upon. You may use the bathroom after class. You must wait. Like everyone else. You can’t paint now, it’s not time. Geography isn’t taught this year. Play time is in an hour. Lunch is served at noon. The test you will take next week is important. Your future depends on it.

Is it any wonder we need meditation in schools? How can we expect our children to live in and derive joy from the present when our educational system continually sends the message that their value and purpose lie exclusively in who they will become? In asking a child, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” we are telling them that who they are now, what they already know, and why and how they have come to know it are irrelevant.
All meaningful learning experiences are layered, expansive, and enhanced by the accumulation of practical knowledge, the building of skills or the exposure to or observation of a mentor. Learning that stems from curiosity or interest remains an integral part of a voluntary quest that is fully owned and managed by the learner, implying a sense of sovereignty, self-awareness, intrinsic motivation and autonomy.

No learning that is ever mandatory, coerced, imposed or executed under threat of punishment, duress, or exclusion should ever be called “educational.” If learning serves only as the proverbial carrot before the donkey (the carrot being the promise of future success, popularity, and societal acceptance), only to be forgotten after it has been officially tested, then it should be considered superficial at best, and at worst, a damaging waste of childhood.

Life Learning is all about seizing the day

When we choose an unschooling lifestyle, we are giving our children dominion over their learning, their bodies, their imagination and how they spend their days. Since there is rarely an agenda, we are given the rare privilege to wake up and allow our days to unfold according to our interests, responsibilities and the unpredictable randomness that inevitably presents itself. In a free life, we allow ourselves to decide what is important in the here and now and how we want to approach our conundrums and revel in our discoveries .

Living in the present means we don’t worry too much about tomorrow, we seize the day. It doesn’t mean we don’t take our responsibilities seriously or plan for the future or weigh the consequences of putting something off until tomorrow. Being given this freedom allows children to discern what is most important to them without having those parameters judged or critiqued. Contrary to what most assume, this does not result in bad choices but instead tends to foster a strong sense of self-governance and responsibility in being in charge of their time.

What about their future? Remove the donkey, the cart, and the carrot and you remove an enormous source of weight and pressure representing a limiting notion of success. Children who are given the freedom to choose when and how to learn and at what pace are less likely to be deterred by failure or shamed for letting go of an activity, hobby, or pursuit that no longer brings them pleasure, joy, or contributes to their objective. They are allowed to try a multitude of interests if they choose.

My children, when asked what do you want to be/pursue/do when you grow up, have changed their minds a multitude of times. But I see and value them for what they are TODAY, now, in the present: an actor, a geopolitical fanatic, an entrepreneur, a stylist, a linguist, a comedian, an artist. Kids. People. Individuals. They are happy and expansive and awake. They have a healthy relationship with the past; they don’t fear or pretend to know the future. And neither do we as their parents. We let life and learning unfold one day at a time, weaving the ordinary and the memorable into the continuum of life.

The Essence of Pie

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“Mom, can you pass me the paring knife and the cutting board?”

I look up from my recipe box, the hand-inked index cards stained with sauce and spices and god knows what else. Crumbs have found their way into the corners. I’ve been thumbing through them and can’t find “the best apple pie you’ve ever tasted”, which has a couple of secret and unexpected ingredients. For the life of me, I can’t remember what they are.

I pass my daughter the sharp knife and watch her begin to peel an apple expertly in one long red ribbon. “Don’t worry, mom, we can wing it.” And so we do. My son approximates the flour and butter and chooses to cut the pastry together with his fingertips, pressing it into the glass pie dish and fluting it up the sides. The result is artisanal, but lovely. Certainly uneven, thicker in some places than others. Definitely homemade.

Next, my daughter lights the stove, and I pull down the non-stick sauté pan. We dump her apple slices in with some sugar and butter. Next she adds a sprinkle of cinnamon and goes to stand in front of the spice rack, studying them for possible inclusion. “Ooh, what about nutmeg and a little ginger?” she looks at me excitedly, but she’s not really asking. She trusts her instincts. “Go for it,” I encourage her. As she’s picking out the jars, she turns one around and grabs it enthusiastically. “Cardamom.”

“Are you sure about that?” My son is doubtful. He knows it as a spice we use in Indian dishes, but my daughter reassures him that “it’s super versatile. You’ll see.” She adds her spices and a generous glug of vanilla extract. Things are starting to smell wonderful at this point and the apples are softening, the sugar caramelizing, so we spoon them into the crust and pop the ad hoc pie into the oven.

While it’s baking, we sit at the counter and chat. We’re surrounded by bits of flour and salt and sugar and bowls smeared with creamed butter, wooden spoons, a sharp knife. The cat jumps up and dips her paw into the bowl with authority and begins to meticulously lick her paw. I have a strong urge to scat her away, point out the mess we’ve made, and ask for help cleaning it all up. But it doesn’t seem so important. The mess can wait. I let it go and tune back in to the moment.

My son is explaining something about a movie he wants to make, which takes place in Berlin, and is asking my daughter if she would like to star in it as an American spy who’s infiltrated a ring of German spies. “Ya, natürlich,” she responds. She’s been studying German and it suits her. Then they both giggle in a way that makes them seem so much younger than their twelve and thirteen years. I reach over and tuck a stray strand of hair behind my son’s ear. He lets me, even smiles, and I feel such a swelling of gratitude for them both, for this life, for all they’ve taught me.

The moment passes. But there is pie, bubbling and crusting in the oven and its essence is something we don’t need a recipe for.

 

Learning in the Negative Space

 

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I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of negative space and the beauty that can be found there.

Artists and photographers often make use of negative space to starkly highlight what is represented in the image or create subtle second images receding in positive space. Take this illustration for example, entitled, “The Philosopher,”  by graphic illustrator Tang Yau Hoong:

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The human cognitive process is trained to first take in the positive space, meaning the space that is filled with a familiar representation. So most people first see a question mark. But the artist has also created an image of a man’s face, visible within the negative space if we look a little closer. The negative space, no longer seen as a void in the image, takes on equal importance and often greater meaning.

So what does “learning in the negative space” mean?

The conventional way of understanding and measuring what children are taught in the school environment relies heavily on what is visible, recognizable and obvious to adults. In this way, the information that teachers impart to their students is “teachable.” The student’s grasp of this information, in the form of testing, is therefore recognizable as either right or wrong. With the implementation of standardized testing, there is no longer room for a child to look at a question in a unique way, see it from a different angle and provide a creative or alternative answer. This approach is ALWAYS seen as a wrong answer.

When our society talks about learning, we are no longer able to see the beauty or value in the negative space. Institutionalized learning has all but abolished the white canvas of possibility, and systematically dismisses the individual thinking that blooms around the edges of information. Abstraction is no longer valued, play is on its way to extinction, and creative expression is regarded as superfluous. Instead, we are marching our children down a sparse and sterile hallway of fact-filled, unfulfilling days, promising that if they trudge along like good soldiers, the key to freedom will one day be brandished, unlocking the door to a bright and successful future. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Real learning, for both children and adults, takes place in the negative spaces of our lives, and is often imperceptible, immeasurable and a direct result of a seemingly unrelated representation (the positive space).

My daughter spends a lot of time and effort making Brazilian friendship bracelets. She learned how to make them by reading craft magazines and watching videos on Youtube. Anyone watching her would see the obvious: a happy and focused little girl weaving a bracelet with colored string. Some might say, “she’s not learning, she’s playing.”

Not visible to the eye, but equally important is what’s happening in the negative space. In the weaving process, my daughter is employing complex algorithms that she learned on her own and by her own initiative.  Algorithms are essentially how computers process data. (“Using doubled strands start the bracelet with a loop and arrange the colors in a mirror image: colors 1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 3, 2, 1.”) She is also developing  hand-eye coordination as well as a sense of how colors work together.

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Information in the classroom is presented as linear and is broken down, sorted and categorized into subjects which are addressed within short time-frames with little room for deviation. Learning in the negative space happens when we take the root of a piece of information and have the time, interest and freedom to explore where its many branches lead and how they ultimately intertwine.

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Artist: Priya Nair

 

My son can often be found exploring the farthest reaches of the world. He recently discovered the small island of Jan Mayen off the coast of Norway using Google Earth. He’s pretty obsessed with Geography, which in school would most likely be taught as an isolated subject according to grade level. But discovering Jan Mayen also led my son to venture out onto the branches of geology, meteorology, volcanic science, the arctic whaling industry and Dutch history.

I’m pretty certain this small volcanic island, visited centuries ago by seal trappers and largely uninhabited, didn’t make it into the standard school curriculum. But it exists–in all its glory– in the negative space where my son’s curiosity brought it to life (for anyone who’s willing to listen).

If we give our children the time and freedom to explore around the edges and borders, to push the limits of learning and venture into the negative space, the void becomes a beautiful repository of infinite possibility.

 

 

 

 

 

Life Learning Yearning Brady McBrown

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(Based on the cadence and rhythm of “The Great Henry McBride,” By Dr. Seuss)

“It’s hard to be down,” said young Brady McBrown.

It’s impossibly possible to fake a frown.

When a fellow wakes up to a free day ahead,

he must kick off the sheets and spring from the bed.

No classes, no lessons, not even a bell.

No teacher to dictate, or lecture, or yell.

I’ll learn when I yearn and whiz when I wish.

I may look at a book, or cook up a fish.

 

There are so many things that would be so much fun.

It’s terribly hard to decide on just one.

I might go to the museum, perhaps, who knows?

I’ll take in the Monets, Manets and Van Goghs!

I could become a curator, a Master of Arts.

Or dig treasures from dirt and piece back the parts.

Yes! That’s what I’ll do. I’ll dig up a crown.

King crown-digger upper, Brady McBrown!

 

But now I’m not sure. Legos could be clever!

I’ll stack up a tower that goes on forever.

I could be an architect, maybe build a whole town!

Crown-digger, town-builder, Brady McBrown.

But why only two things? Say, I could do three!

I could put on my swimsuit and swim in the sea.

A deep sea diver! Yes! That’s what I’ll be!

Crown-digger, town-builder, diver McB.

 

And science is fun! So I’ll do that!

I’ll mix up a potion in a great big vat!

I’ll point to the map and pick a new place.

I’ll zoom in to cities and back out to space!

Or add up some numbers, divide them by ten.

I’ll count all the bird seed, then go feed the hen.

Then study some stars and the patterns they form.

Oh no! Those clouds! I think there’s a storm!

The rain’s pouring down like cats and dogs!

The puddles are filling with tadpoles and frogs!

I’ll stomp and stamp and jump in the muck!

Til my clothes are quite caked and my shoes are quite stuck!

 

The rain won’t stop me.

There are gifts to be known.

There is play to be played.

And seeds to be sewn.

On a day like today, with dreams in my head,

I can hardly wait to leap from the bed!

On a day like today, with dreams in your heart,

Today is your day! Where will YOU start?

 

photo credit: Redbook, Suessblog

Give Them a Voice: Children as Unschooling Ambassadors

We are the only family in our community whose children don’t go to school, so it’s only natural that we get asked a lot of questions about our learning philosophy by educators and parents. The fact that we live in a predominately french ex-pat community means that these questions are often pointed and direct. Many times they aren’t even questions but statements such as, “well, they’re still young, but eventually they’ll have to go to school if you want them to succeed.” I get that one often.

I can’t blame them. Homeschooling is extremely rare in France and isn’t considered a viable educational alternative. Most of the parents I’ve spoken to had no idea homeschooling was even legal in France. So from this deeply ingrained cultural perspective and the strict institutional approach to pedagogy and therefore future success, I can understand their deep skepticism for homeschooling.

But the discussion tends to get really uncomfortable when I get to the part about how my children don’t follow a curriculum, don’t use text books and sometimes spend ENTIRE DAYS doing nothing but watching documentaries or playing in the mud. I might as well have said they gamble all day and run a brothel at night. The idea is that inconceivable.

I used to dread these conversations, especially when we were just starting out on our unschooling journey and I was grappling with my own insecurities about how my children would learn and what my role as a parent would be. I was often flustered and unable to articulately talk about interest-led learning and the natural curiosity that leads children to discovery and passion. I could write about it, but face to face encounters were another story. Every question felt like an attack and every remark a judgement. I felt an overwhelming need to convince others–family members, friends, strangers–that we were doing the right thing for our children and by association, that I was a good parent. As a result, I often came across as defensive and maybe just a little judgmental myself.

Then one day something changed. We were talking with the father of my son’s friend who asked, “but if you don’t follow a curriculum, how do they learn crucial subjects like math, science and history?” Before I could open my mouth, my son, who is ten, started explaining that math is found in everyday experiences like cooking, making change at the grocery store, and in analyzing rhythms in music. He explained that he learned fractions by building lego towers.

My daughter, nine, piped up and said she learned about diameter and circumference in a horseback riding ring. As for science, they observed nature–the stability and structure of hives, birds nests and termite hills; the life cycle, survival techniques and predators of insects. They learned about oceanography through TED science talks. History, my son explained, is Geography’s inseparable twin brother. They go everywhere together. In other words, my children started answering for themselves. And when they did, people listened.

Because my children spend time with people of all ages and are given the freedom to participate in “adult” work and conversation, they are exposed to a wide variety of topics, debates and ideas. With few exceptions, no one has ever told them they were too young to understand something being discussed in their presence. As a result, they are at ease holding a conversation and possess the vocabulary to express themselves articulately. In addition, they are largely in charge of making their education happen, from exploration to choosing a topic, doing research and/or seeking out mentors and materials. So it makes perfect sense that they would be able to handle a tough question about their learning experience.

Who better, in fact, to talk about what unschooling looks like than the very people who are doing it? While I am certainly a facilitator and advocate for my children’s passion for learning naturally, I was educated within the school system, which is perhaps why I still struggle with explaining “unschooling” in a tangible way, at least to skeptics. I had been answering these questions for my children thinking I needed to protect them from uncomfortable questions or harsh criticism. Once I realized that my children held no such fears, it became obvious that I was only protecting myself, which is proof that I still have a few hurdles to navigate on my own path. They, on the other hand, are quite confident about their journey. They perceive obstacles as challenges rather than barriers. They view questions, when phrased respectfully, as genuine invitations, to be answered with abandon, not restraint.

If we can trust our children to know what they need to learn and learn what they need to know, then it makes perfect sense to give them the floor when it comes to talking about those experiences. As long as they’re comfortable doing so, step aside and let them answer. As ambassadors for passionate learning, they clearly take the stage.

Here is one of my favorite inspiring examples of a learning ambassador:

http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Hackschooling-Makes-Me-Happy-Lo

 

Artisans and Grandmothers: The Value of Apprenticeship

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I love that the french word “apprendre” means both to teach and to learn. I like to think that when we share our knowledge, passion or life’s work with someone, there is an exchange in which both parties learn from each other.

Whenever we visit France, I’m always happy to see that apprenticeships are still alive and well. Carpenters, metal workers, mechanics, glass-blowers, bakers, butchers, gardeners, “chocolatiers”, artisanal cheese, bread and wine makers, even shoe-makers still hold an important place in society as revered artisans.  As my husband says, when we purchase from an artisan, we make an investment in a quality product as well as the artist, and we ensure the continuation of their art form. These artisans learn by “apprentisage,” by experience, often from a family member or local master, and pass their honed trade down to others–generation after generation. I like to keep this in mind when I’m eating a crusty hunk of artisanal french bread spread with salted butter from the farmer down the road. I am literally tasting tradition.

This past week, my daughter asked my mother-in-law, who is visiting from France, to teach her how to embroider. They spent entire days together, heads and hands bent over tangles of colored thread, practicing patterns, experimenting on heavy and light cloth. They designed, embroidered and sewed a handbag in one afternoon. My daughter learned so much during these past few days, with intense focus and joy, immersing herself in an activity she sought out and soaking up every crumb of knowledge from her grandmother. Tomorrow, they’ll be moving on to knitting at my daughter’s request and her grandmother’s delight.

This is a form of apprenticeship. And it’s a big part of our children’s learning experience. There is often a misconception that life learners don’t learn from others, that instruction is banished in favor of independent learning. Somehow when I tell people that my children are self-directed, autonomous learners, they envision solitude and even isolation. While it’s true that they often learn by doing internet research, reading books and exploring nature on their own–all solitary activities– they spend an equal amount of time interacting with others in order to further their passions or deepen their learning.

When our children are interested in learning something which requires an expert, we don’t hesitate to call on friends, family members, even people we hardly know to ask if they are willing to share their talents and work one-on-one with our children. Without fail, they are always graciously willing, even flattered to say, “Yes!”

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Like my husband’s cousin, the painter

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or our friend, the Reiki Master

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or an Italian Pasta Pro

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or a mud brick maker

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or a sailor

The value of learning directly from someone else, which I call apprenticeship, can’t be replaced by an internet tutorial, a crowded classroom or an instruction manual. Why? Because it’s a wholly human exchange involving our tactile, auditory and sometimes olfactory senses, our power of observation and our basic good will. And often a good sense of humor.

We all have something to teach and learn. Whether we learn a formal craft from a true artisan in a workshop or how to sew from our grandmother on the living room sofa, we are given a great gift. And we can thank that person by saying “yes” to someone else.

A Plea On Behalf of Unschooling Newcomers

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As a relative newcomer to unschooling, I like to read up on blogs and online discussion groups dedicated to unschooling/homeschooling topics. Since we are the only expat family in our community whose children don’t attend school, I sometimes need support, even if it’s virtual. It’s comforting to see so many people out there asking the hard questions and seeking information. It’s even more encouraging to find so many others willing to share their experiences in a genuinely thoughtful, heartfelt and open-minded way.

What I find surprising is the amount of judgemental mudslinging going on out there. Some of it makes me cringe, and I can’t help wondering about the impact this might have on unschooling newcomers or those considering life without school.

I think we can all agree that, among the myriad of possible reasons we believe our children are better off without school, one of the biggest is that our educational system likes to break down and categorize both our children and what they learn. So why then is there so much sorting and categorizing going on within the online unschooling community?

My fear, in reading some of the exchanges, is that if rigidity exists in how we define our learning philosophy ( i.e. homeschooling, interest-led, unschooling, radical, etc.) that rigidity may create dissonance. And if someone is looking for answers or support within that community, but doesn’t necessarily agree with every aspect of that particular philosophy, they may feel either ostracized or pressured to conform. Which to me looks a lot like a subtle form of bullying.

There is a natural insecurity involved in stepping outside the educational box for most of us. Are we doing the right thing for our children? How will they learn? What does unschooling look like? Some may wonder, ‘what will others think?’ Those are the general questions that get asked and the responses vary greatly. The spectrum naturally exists, as it should. As to where each of us falls on it, the marker may fluctuate according to our individual needs and those of our children as they grow. Our diverse lives should shape our diverse learning philosophies. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed a fair amount of the opposite. When a particular philosophy begins to define our lives, the whole notion of unschooling risks losing credibility and begins to resemble a fad, complete with trend-setters and gossip columns.

If we were each to fit neatly into an unschooling category further defined by what we eat, whose philosophy we follow (or don’t) and whether or not we have textbooks in the house, wouldn’t we then be classifying ourselves and each other? And isn’t that the exact thing we are trying to get away from by choosing to be autonomous parents who trust their children to learn passionately with our guidance and love?

And if we are willing to offer this respect to our children– often against social, familial and sometimes spousal opposition– shouldn’t we naturally extend the same courtesy to our fellow unschoolers? They deserve to be trusted to come to their own decisions and forge a unique path to unschooling without coercion, criticism or judgement. If we can do that for each other, the opposite ends of the spectrum have a good chance of coming together to form an endless circle. That’s a nice image in my book.

(Originally published in 2013 at SenegalEase.blogspot.com)