Parenting is a key component of unschooling. One of the joys of this lifestyle is that we get to spend so much time with our children! We focus on building strong and connected relationships with them, which support their learning and last a lifetime.
And the relationships we develop with our children are so much more than we could have imagined! In fact, on my podcast when I ask experienced unschooling parents what has been the most valuable outcome from choosing unschooling, the most common answer by far is the relationships they have with their children! And that comes down to parenting.
Here are some resources to help you learn more about the kind of parenting that actively supports unschooling!
Anna Brown and Shannon Loucks have each joined me for great podcast episodes focused on parenting:
And Emma Marie Forde joined me to talk about attachment parenting as we dove into the book, Attachment across the Lifecourse:
I was a guest on For the Love of Learning, and had a great time talking about attachment parenting with Stuart and Naomi, and the wonderful show host, Lainie Liberti. You can watch the episode here:
I have a conference talk, A Family of Individuals, that dives into family relationships—you can read or listen to it. In our society, family harmony is a prized goal, promising an easygoing peace. It can be elusive, yet we see experienced unschooling families in action and we want that joy. “Why can’t you guys just get along??” But focusing on the interactions between family members often invites comparisons and discord—the opposite of harmony. Let’s dig deeper and see how, though it may seem counter-intuitive at first, fully supporting and celebrating the individuals in the family better fosters a long-term atmosphere of joy and harmony.
There are also a lot of posts on the blog that talk about parenting to support unschooling. Here are some to get you started:
Unschooling and the Power Paradigm
What if we don’t assume power struggles between parents and kids are inevitable? What if we drop the “us versus them” attitude and think of our family as a team with the power of everyone behind it? To feel powerful is to feel strong and capable of action, but what we can drop is the overtone of power *over* others.
The Unschooling Family: Considering Everyone’s Needs
Dropping the “us and them” paradigm not only better supports unschooling and long-term family relationships, it also makes parenting a less contentious and more rewarding endeavour. But at the same time, it’s important that parents express their needs too. It’s important that everyone’s needs are considered.
Learn to Say No Or You’ll Spoil Your Child
Sometimes the actions of unschooling parents may appear to be very similar to the conventional dynamic of children being “spoiled” by their parents, but the motivations behind them are completely different. Unschooling parents do a lot to support their children, but do so with an eye to helping their children do things for themselves. This changes the perspective of all the conversations unschooling parents have with their children and creates a completely different parent-child relationship.
When You and Your Child See Things Differently
Let’s talk about some things parents can do when they see situations differently than their children. Maybe your child wants to go to a movie unsupervised for the first time and you’re uncomfortable, while they’re insistent. Maybe at your child’s weekly activity you have concerns about the behaviour of another child or parent, yet your child is unconcerned—they just don’t see it the way you do. Where do you go from there?
What Love Looks Like in Unschooling Families
Unschoolers can really be a confusing bunch to those looking in! On one hand, we appear to be sheltering our children from the real world by keeping them home—we’re overprotective. On the other hand, we appear to not really care about our children because we don’t enforce firm rules. Conventionally, it’s almost a given that at some point parents will explain to their kids, “I say no because I love you.” Boundaries equal love. What if freedom can equal love too?
For even more posts, check out the blog category “Parenting” in the sidebar to the right.