Anna Black is a former Montessori student and teacher, now an unschooling mom to two lovely daughters in Australia. We have a wonderful conversation, digging into conventional wisdom like, “kids need to do things for themselves,” and “fewer toys is better.” We also have a great chat about how unschooling children develop their own moral compass.
Quote of the Week
“One of the greatest things that I think unschooling has given me and our whole family is the idea that it’s actually okay to be nice to your kids.” ~ Anna Black
Questions for Anna
Can you share with us a bit about you and your family and how you first came across the idea of unschooling?
You have a Montessori background, so I was wondering what you found appealing about the idea of unschooling at first?
What did the first few months of your journey to unschooling look like? Did you start out with some structure and then loosen up over time? Or did you treat the transition more like a vacation and not go back? What did it look like for your family?
I think one of the conventional ideas we wrestle with as we deschool is that, to foster independence, we should never do for the child what they can do for themselves. With unschooling, that logic doesn’t hold. We do things for them when they want us to, regardless of whether they could do it themselves. Can you share how you worked through that shift?
You mentioned to me earlier that one of your biggest shifts coming to unschooling was around general abundance. Can you explain what that looked like for you?
Again, you came from a Montessori background, which holds quite conventional views on children’s use of technology and the need to control access. Can you share a bit about your experience with that?
What are your children enjoying right now and how are they are exploring those interests?
How is your husband feeling about your unschooling lifestyle? Was he on board early or have you been helping him learn more about it? What’s his journey looked like to this point?
What has surprised you most about your journey so far?
Links to Things Mentioned in the Show
Meredith Novak’s podcast episode, EU029: What Learning Looks Like with Meredith Novak
Jo Isaac’s podcast episode, EU035: Redefining Success with Jo Isaac
Joyce Fetteroll’s episode, EU014: Ten Questions with Joyce Fetteroll
Steve Jobs’ quote on creativity, from a 1996 WIRED magazine interview: “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people. Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity.”
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