Emma Marie Forde is unschooling mom to two girls, Lily and Rosa. She’s also the founder of the website, rethinkingparenting.co.uk.
Before having children, Emma was a clinical psychologist, a career that informed her choice to stay home with her own children and which eventually led her and her husband John to choose unschooling for their family. Emma shares her attachment parenting perspective throughout our wide-ranging conversation, and gives us a glimpse of unschooling in England!
Quote of the Week
“It was amazing how many of the assumptions that were challenged for me by having my first daughter. The fact that we did breastfeed for longer, the fact that she was with me most of the time—I hadn’t even anticipated how intense it was going to be, even though I kind of had some idea. It’s been being guided by them, but also working in partnership with them.” ~ Emma Marie Forde
Ten Questions for Emma
1. Can you share with us a bit about you and your family, and how you came to unschooling?
2. I’d love to hear more about your children. How do they like to spend their days? What are they interested in right now?
3. When Lily approached school age, was she curious about it? Did she have playmates going off to school? I guess Rosa is approaching that age now too. How have you talked with them about it?
4. Can you share with us a quick overview of what it’s like to unschool in England? What are the legalities? Are there active local communities for making connections?
5. I love the article you posted on your website describing unschooling. I’ll link to it in the show notes for people to read in full because you dive into so many different aspects, and include a detailed reference list, but I’d like to dive into a couple of points with you today. The first is that unschooling isn’t child-led learning, but rather a partnership. Can you explain the difference?
6. I’d also like to dive into trusting our children’s intrinsic motivation to learn. That’s so counter to the conventional belief that children don’t like to learn, that they need to be motivated through grades and rewards. How did that trust develop for you?
7. You also wrote a great article about the benefits of play. Unschooling parents are pretty savvy about children learning through play, but can you talk about some of the benefits of parent and child playing together?
8. How do you see your understanding of psychology and your unschooling lifestyle weaving together?
9. What has been one of the more challenging aspects for you on your unschooling journey to this point?
10. Looking back now, what, for you, has been the most valuable outcome from choosing unschooling?
Links to things mentioned in the show
Emma’s blog: Rethinking Parenting
Emma’s FB discussion group: Radical Unschoolers Discussion Group
The book that introduced Emma to unschooling: The Natural Child: Parenting from the Heart by Jan Hunt
Paula Rothermel’s paper, presented at the Annual Conference of the British Educational Research Association, 2002: Home-Education: Aims, Practices and Outcomes
Sue Patterson’s book: Homeschooled Teens
Pam’s review of Sue’s book: http://livingjoyfully.ca/blog/2015/11/book-review-homeschooled-teens/
Sandra Dodd’s page: Public School on Your Own Terms
UK National home ed group: Education Otherwise
Emma’s post: What Is Unschooling?
Pam Sorooshian’s post: Unschooling is not “Child-Led Learning”
Meredith Novak’s podcast interview: What Learning Looks Like with Meredith Novak
Emma’s post: The Benefits of Playing With Our Children
Jody Lilley’s podcast episode about play: Playing with Our Children with Jody Lilley
Dr. Allan Schore’s website
Lawrence Cohen’s book: Playful Parenting
Gerard Jones’s book: Killing Monsters
Joyce Fetteroll’s podcast episode: Ten Questions with Joyce Fetteroll