The Childhood We Wish We Had

As part of exploring and understanding unschooling, we think long and hard about our own childhood: our learning experiences (in which situations did we learn more? remember more?); our school experiences (how much long-term learning? how much stress? did we use what we learned?); the atmosphere in our home growing up (rules? punishments? pressure? control?); […]

Can You Teach an Old Dog New Tricks?

A few months ago I was in conversation with someone and we ended up at the old saying, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Us adults being the “old dogs,” of course. It was someone I enjoy speaking with and during the course of our conversation, a couple of light bulbs went off […]

When Unschooling Children Discover Their Lives Are Unconventional

As unschooling parents, we’ve chosen this unschooling lifestyle for our family. In doing so, we decided that although it’s unconventional, the benefits outweigh the challenges. Or else we’d have chosen to stay on the conventional path, so well-trodden by those before us. Yet at some point as our children get older, they will realize that […]

The Fear of Your Child Choosing School

What if my child wants to go (back) to school? It’s a fear I’ve seen come up online pretty regularly, and one I experienced myself a couple of times in our first few years. I still remember it clearly, that rush of fear and adrenaline when one of my kids mentioned they were considering school. […]

The Fear of Leaving Curriculum Behind

At its most basic, unschooling is about learning without a curriculum. Moving to unschooling can be scary because there is comfort in curriculum—comfort that soothes our fears. And near the top of that list is a fear that our children may not learn something they need to know. Even as people learn more about unschooling and […]

Ways to Build Trust in Each Other

In my experience, a trusting relationship with my children is the backbone of our unschooling lives. And that trust goes both ways: my trust in them, and their trust in me. It is so important because with trust, real communication can flow. Our children can ask us questions, can share their thoughts and ideas, trusting […]

Ways to Build Trust in Unschooling

Unschooling as a way of learning and living is unconventional. In general, conventional society trusts the school system as an effective process for learning, where trust is a reasonably confident expectation of outcome. Yet we have chosen a less populated path. We don’t typically have an abundance of unschooling families around us from which to […]

Am I Considerate of Others?

A few years ago Lissy and I put up a quote on the wall in the basement: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” (Often mis-attributed to Plato, it can be traced back to Ian MacLaren, as outlined in this post on Quote Investigator.) Maybe surprisingly, it’s something I’m reminded of […]

Am I Exploring and Learning Too?

It’s important to check in with myself to see whether I’m also an engaged part of the picture. Last week I mentioned, “I began to realize that where there was joy, there was learning. So now I focus on the joy.” By that I mean my joy too. I want to be a shining example […]

Am I Supporting My Family’s Interests?

This week I’m asking myself if I’m feeling good about the support I’m giving my children’s interests. And my husband’s. For me, that means taking a few minutes to think about my recent reactions to their ideas and questions and suggestions. Am I sharing my enthusiasm? If I’m hesitant, am I asking myself “Why not […]