Skyler is an unschooling dad of three children and is the editor of Unschooling Dads: Twenty-two Testimonials on Their Unconventional Approach to Education. It’s not often that we get to hear about unschooling from the dad’s perspective, and I love that you took the time and effort to pull this book together. I really enjoyed reading their perspectives on unschooling.
In this episode, Skyler shares stories about his book, and his perspective on unschooling.
Quote of the Week
“We are faced with the paradoxical fact that education has become one of the chief obstacles to intelligence and freedom of thought.” ~ Bertrand Russell
Questions for Skyler
Please share with us a bit about your background and your family.
As you mention in the book’s preface, you were the one to bring the idea of unschooling to your family. That’s unusual—as I’m sure became aware, unschooling groups are, by far, mostly filled with moms. How did you find unschooling and how did you introduce your wife to the idea? What did that process look like?
The men whose essays are included in the book come from a wide range of backgrounds, from artists to entrepreneurs to college professors. What does that say to you about the appeal of the unschooling lifestyle?
I love that you organized the twenty-two essays around the contributors’ unschooling experience, from prospective unschooling dads, to junior dads, to senior dads. Was this something you planned from the start, or did that arrangement come about after you’d gathered the essays?
It’s so interesting to catch a glimpse of the diverse paths that people take to get to unschooling. Some find it as they actively move away from school experiences that aren’t working, while others find it as they move toward the philosophical principles that unschooling embraces. What’s your impression of the interplay of anti-schooling versus pro-unschooling throughout the book?
Last week I spoke with Sandra Dodd and we talked about the paradigm shift to joy that was part of our journey to unschooling. She wrote about it in her short essay, “Rejecting a Pre-Packaged Life,” and it was so fundamental for me that 12 years ago I named my website after it: livingjoyfully. You touched on it in your essay as well. I want to read a short quote from it:
My wife’s reluctance has faded quite a bit now that she’s witnessing our children’s joy. For me, that’s the primary focus of unschooling: helping our children live as joyfully as possible. Everything else will naturally follow from that. As long as our children are happy, they will have confidence in themselves that they can achieve anything they want to in life. I truly believe that, and unschooling is the better vehicle toward living joyfully than any schooling-based alternative.
Can you talk a bit about how joy became your primary focus of unschooling?
I love the epilogue! How being asked to write an essay for the book felt like homework to your friend Phil. Can you share the story and how it relates to unschooling?
What surprised you most about the essays you received?
Links to things mentioned in the show
Skyler’s personal website: skylerjcollins.com
Skyer’s Voluntary website: everything-voluntary.com
NOTE: You can find the Unschooling Dads book at either site.
Sandra’s essay: Rejecting a Pre-Packaged Life
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