This week on the podcast, I’m sharing a conversation I had with Scott Noelle, unschooling dad of two, back in 2017. Scott is an author and a life coach dedicated to supporting parents who want to move away from control-based parenting methods. He founded The Daily Groove, an email newsletter and website where he shared practical parenting insights for many years. We talked about his parenting framework, PATH, the value of nonverbal communication, ways we can hold presence with negative feelings, and how fear can slip into control.
Whether you’re revisiting our conversation or it’s your first time listening, I’m sure you’ll make some new connections that deepen your understanding of unschooling!
Questions for Scott
Can you share with us a bit about you and your family?
What did your family’s move to unschooling look like?
You have a wonderful website, dailygroove.com, where people can sign up to receive daily emails from you. I signed up when I was early on in my unschooling journey, and I really appreciated your nuggets of parenting insight as I was in the midst of challenging so much of the conventional parenting wisdom I’d absorbed. You call it PATH Parenting, and I love that not only is it an acronym, it’s also a reminder that the journey—the path—is the destination. Can you share an overview of what PATH parenting is?
We talk quite a bit in unschooling circles about communicating openly with our children and how it facilitates connection and trust in our relationships, but some children aren’t big verbal communicators. It’s not that they aren’t giving us messages, just that not a lot of them are verbal. If we find ourselves in that situation, what are some other ways we can communicate and connect with our child?
You have a great article on your website about holding presence with negative feelings, such as frustration or fear. Can you share what you mean and how we can develop that skill?
As our children get older, we can sometimes find ourselves uncomfortable with some of their choices. We start feeling fearful and protective, and that can so easily slip into control because that’s the go to response in our culture: forbid the activity and explain the consequences we’ll impose on them if they disobey. That approach can really damage the relationship though, can’t it? What might we do instead?
You’re also a founding member of the Alliance for Self-Directed Education, which advocates both unschooling and alternative schools that support self-directed education. I love that the ADSE is trying to normalize self-directed education as a whole. Could you give us an update on the work that the Alliance is doing?
Links to Things Mentioned in the Show
Jean Liedloff’s book, The Continuum Concept
John Holt’s book, How Children Fail
The movie, Office Space
One of Scott’s daily grooves: The Power of Silence
E. Richard Sorenson’s essay, Preconquest Consciousness
Another daily groove: Ending the Blame Game
Scott’s website, DailyGroove.com
Scott’s new site, Harmony Cafe
Have a question about unschooling?
The Living Joyfully Network community
The Network is a wonderful online community for parents to connect and engage in candid conversations about living and learning through the lens of unschooling. Our shared goals are to embrace lifelong learning, develop strong and connected relationships with our children, and cultivate a thriving unschooling lifestyle in our families.
This month, our theme is The Richness of Communication and we’re exploring it through the lenses of trust and compassion.
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