Jan is the founder of The Natural Child Project, a website that houses a wonderful collection of unschooling and parenting articles. She also has two unschooling books out, The Natural Child and The Unschooling Unmanual, plus a children’s book, A Gift for Baby. Her unschooled son, Jason, is now in his thirties. Jan graciously agreed to answer ten questions about her unschooling experience.
Quote of the Week
“I think children are very adept at hearing our hidden messages, regardless of how carefully we phrase it. When we tell a child that a certain activity is required, we imply that it must be so unpleasant or difficult we would never want to do it. No one has ever required a child to eat ice cream—it is not that we should never make suggestions, but it IS that we should never anticipate or expect a particular response. Or be disappointed.” ~ Jan Hunt
Ten Questions for Jan
1. Can you share with us a bit about you and your family?
2. What did your family’s move to unschooling look like?
3. You have a fantastic website, The Natural Child Project, at naturalchild.org, that’s been around since 1996. I remember finding it back in 2002 when we began unschooling and hungrily devouring many of the articles—thank you so much! What inspired you to create it?
4. I discovered homeschooling when I was searching for information because my eldest didn’t mesh well with school. One of your essays made so much sense to me back then, it was an essay titled, ‘Learning Disability: A Rose by Another Name.’ Can you share your rose analogy and why it fits so well?
5. Trust is such key component of our unschooling lives. How did you develop trust in unschooling, and in your son?
6. You have a book, The Natural Child: Parenting from the Heart, a collection of your essays about parenting and education. You make a great point in the introduction that this approach to living with children has been called “attachment parenting” or “empathic parenting,” and is often considered to be New Age but is actually age-old. Can you share what you mean by empathic parenting?
7. You also edited a collection of essays written by various writers and focused on unschooling called The Unschooling Unmanual: Nurturing Children’s Natural Love of Learning. I love the title! In it is your essay, ‘How Do We Know They’re Learning?’ I think that question is an integral part of learning about unschooling. How do you answer it when someone asks?
8. You’ve written about one of the more challenging day-to-day questions that unschooling parents grapple with: ‘When Does Guidance Become Manipulation?’ On occasion, I’ve described it as the dance of parenting, or relationships. It doesn’t have a one-size fits all answer, does it?
9. What did you find to be the most challenging aspect of unschooling?
10. Looking back, what has been the most valuable outcome from choosing unschooling?
Links to Things Mentioned in the Show
Jan and Jason’s article, Creating a Peaceful World through Parenting
The origin story of the term, “unschooling,” courtesy of Sandra Dodd
Sandra Dodd’s article, Unschooling: You’ll See It When You Believe It