This week, I’m sharing part two of the audiobook edition of my book, The Unschooling Journey: A Field Guide.
Inspired by Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey framework, The Unschooling Journey is a weave of myths, contemporary stories, and tales from my journey. It’s not a “how to” book—no two paths through the world of unschooling have the same twists and turns—yet having a general sense of where you are on your journey can bring valuable insight as you navigate the challenges that will inevitably appear. I share this book as a field guide to the stages and characters you are likely to encounter in some form on your unschooling journey.
Last week, we dove into the introduction and the first two stages, answering the call to unschooling and refusing the call.
In the intro, we set the stage. Choosing to accept this quest to create a thriving unschooling learning environment for your children is to embark on your own hero’s journey to appreciate, understand, and, in the end, integrate, these unschooling truths—that learning is everywhere and that humans are wired to learn—into your lives. I also touch on why I chose to call this a field guide and the value of having a general sense of where we are on the journey, being careful not to see the stages as tick boxes to race through, and the difference between understanding a stage intellectually and experiencing it enough times to believe its truth.
In Stage One, The Call to Unschooling, we begin in our ordinary world. Often, we’re reasonably comfortable with how things are. We know the general rules and expectations and, for the most part, are happy to go with the flow. Then, something happens. Something that gives us a glimpse of a new and previously unsuspected world: the world of unschooling. This is our call to unschooling. Often, this call is delivered by a herald, whether it be a person or an event. The fascinating thing is, when the hero is ready, the herald appears. That’s because the change that sparks the call happens within us.
And in Stage Two, Refusing the Call, the realization hits us that choosing to answer the call to unschooling isn’t a simple question of yes or no and moving on. Those first weeks—even months—can feel like a see-saw. One day we’re gleeful and thrilled by the possibilities. The next, fear looms large and we waver in our resolve. This is such a common aspect of the journey that it has its own stage. Contemplating refusing the call shows that we are starting to understand the commitment involved in choosing to undertake the journey. If you want to develop a thriving unschooling environment for your family, be sure to take the journey. Don’t look for a shortcut. Engage with your questions as they arise, rather than pushing them away because they don’t fit a preconceived idea you have about unschooling. This doesn’t mean you need to understand everything about unschooling before getting started. It does mean that choosing unschooling with your family is the beginning of the journey, not the end.
And here we are.
This week, we’re diving into stages three, four, and five—finishing up the departure phase of our journey, which I’ve called the ‘Choosing Unschooling’ phase. We’re going to find our guides, match wits with threshold guardians, and spend some introspective and valuable time in the belly of the whale.
It’s going to be a wild ride!
And the print edition is also a journal! In the print edition, you’ll also find plenty of room to document your journey along the way. Hema’s illustrations are printed full page for you to colour as you contemplate your journey, there are journal pages for writing down your experiences and clarifying your thoughts, and even blank pages for doodling and sketching.
You can purchase the print edition on Amazon, or find it on most other online print book retailers.
For listeners who prefer interview-style episodes, I’ve curated a wonderful collection of amazing back list episodes for you to listen to.
This week I’ve selected episode 57, Ten Questions with Akilah S. Richards, to share with you, which aired in February 2017.
Akilah is an unschooling mom with two lovely daughters. She’s also an author, a podcast host, and is on the organizing team of the Alliance for Self-Directed Education. She answers my ten questions about her unschooling experience with candor and enthusiasm, and I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did!