Questioning Our Decision to Unschool

Sometimes events in our lives make us stop and reassess what we’re doing. I’ve been doing a bit of this kind of reassessment about unschooling. I’ve been thinking…

  • Is there a better way of bringing up children?
  • Can we trust too much?
  • Is there such a thing as loving too much?
  • Am I ready to jump off the unschooling ship?

I share my thoughts in this week’s podcast.

This post is short and sweet. No program notes. Straight onto my podcast. I hope you’ll listen!

Music: Autumn Leaves by Podington Bear(CC BY-NC 3.0)

The Angels of Abbey Creek

As you can see, I’ve been doing some reflecting. If you look at the above photos, you’ll see our piano has also been doing some reflecting.

And if you hop over to Chris’ blog, Campfires and Cleats you’ll discover she has written a beautiful review of my children’s novel, The Angels of Abbey Creek. Thank you so much Chris!

You can find more of my podcasts on iTunes and also Podbean.

And you can also find me on my Stories of an Unschooling Family Facebook page.

Thank you to anyone who takes the time to listen to this week’s podcast!

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  1. Reply

    Wow, can you believe you've made 22 podcasts now, what an achievement!
    There are so many things I could say about what I just heard, but I will just say that I think that one is my favourite so far. You spoke so much from the heart, it was just beautiful 🙂
    We are reassessing things here too and changing the way we do things a little with positive results. I love that we have the opportunity to keep making subtle yet welcome changes, it's really wonderful.
    God bless 🙂

    1. Reply


      I can't believe I am up to episode 22 either. I'll have to start sounding a bit more professional soon with all that practise!

      Oh yes, parenting and homeshooling is a continually changing process. We learn as we go, children change, we gain confidence, we hear new ideas…. The opportunity to change is indeed wonderful. We all grow as we learn.

      Thank you so much for listening and for leaving such encouraging words. Speaking from the heart is easy at the time, scary later on when the words are shared. I appreciate your comment! (And I'm so glad Blogger didn't swallow it never to be seen again!) God bless you too!

  2. Reply

    Thanks for the mention Sue!! You're so sweet.
    And I'm WAAAAY overdue to listen to a podcast!!!! I must get back to them this weekend!

    Great post, Sue…. I look fwd to the PC!

    1. Reply


      It was my pleasure to mention you, and it's you who deserve all the thanks, not me. I do appreciate your help in letting others know about my book. Thank you!

      No problem with the podcasts. Life gets busy. Sometimes there is just not enough time to sit and listen to anything.

      It's Friday afternoon here, and so the weekend is almost upon us. Enjoy it with your boys! xxx

  3. Sue, I was so sorry to hear you had a big upset last week. I'd been wanting to leave a comment saying that last week's podcast (on perfection) was my favourite so far, but we didn't get wifi here in our house in Spain until the end of the week. What you spoke about so thoughtfully and eloquently this week followed on so well from your thoughts on perfection.

    It can be challenging to separate ourselves from our 'results', but I'm learning that there's no point taking score because none of us is ever 'finished'. We're all finding our way, doing the best we can with what we've got. Learning to trust that if we live our values as best we can, then even if things seem to go awry, that's not a reason to reject those values. (Not that that's what you're doing, of course – perhaps questioning our values is a healthy process we should all do from time to time.)

    I'm struggling to express myself, here. I just wanted to thank you for sharing your (spoken and written) thoughts, and to let you know I empathise. (Oh and thank you for resisting the urge to delete your blog! As I've said before, nothing that happens could ever detract from the value of the wisdom and encouragement you've shared here over the last few years.)

    1. Reply


      It's so lovely to hear from you, all the way from Spain! I'm so glad you stopped by because your comment is very helpful. (And it's great to get some feedback on my podcasts too!)

      "Learning to trust that if we live our values as best we can, then even if things seem to go awry, that's not a reason to reject those values." That is so true. You might think you were struggling to find the right words but I think you expressed yourself very well. We can't just toss away all we believe in when we hit an obstacle. Our values and beliefs wouldn't mean much if we did. Yes, keep trusting. It will all work out, I'm sure!

      You are such an encouragement, Lucinda. I really do appreciate your thoughtful and kind words. Thank you!

      I hope you are enjoying your adventure in Spain. I'm looking forward to hearing all about it when you return home!

    • Wendy
    • February 11, 2015

    Finally got a chance to listen – I'm so sorry about whatever happened, it sounds really tough. I'm glad you didn't decide to delete, or stop unschooling.

    One thing I've been thinking about is what you said about free will. It seems to me that whenever any of us do anything outside the norm (have a big family, home school, unschool, whatever) when something goes wrong, our tendency is to say, well, if I hadn't "whatever," this wouldn't have happened. But these things do happen all the time to people who do none of those things!

    One of the beauties of raising your kids with love and trust, I think, is that when they do make mistakes, it is easier for them to turn back. I think our faith and values grow within our children instead of being imposed, and that make the difference – it's an organic part of them.

    But it still is so hard to see a child taking a wrong turn. I will say my Rosary for you tomorrow! Hugs!

    1. Reply


      You are so right about unforeseen wrong things happening to anyone, regardless of whether we have stepped away from the norm or not. I've thought about this before too. Sometimes it can seem safer to keep within the boundaries most people have adopted, but I don't really think that's the answer. We do believe in what we are doing and have to keep going. In a way, we don't have a choice but to keep trusting and I do think things will turn out okay in the end.

      Faith and trust growing within and not imposed… That is exactly what I believe! Yes, they become part of our kids.

      Thank you so much for your encouraging words, prayers and hugs. They are all help enormously!

  4. Reply

    I just heard your podcast and felt very related to what you talked about. I´m a stay at home mother of 5 and my husband and I have decided to unschool. We are still adjusting, trying to find out what´s the best way for our family, and hearing that everybody has doubts and tough moments is reassuring. In our country (Chile) and in our town (Puerto Varas) very few families homeschool and even less unschool, so there´s always that social pressure that our choice (because it´s so unusual) is really a harmful choice for our children. But my instincts tell me that it can´t be wrong to love our children too much, it can´t be wrong to want to be a present mother, it can´t be wrong to learn to trust their choices…Of course we all make mistakes as parents, but listening to your podcast made me realise that you´re so right when you say that no education style can "produce" perfect children, problemas and mistakes are part of life. The important thing is to live the way that makes you (and your family) happiest. I hope you keep unschooling if that´s what make all of you happy.

    1. Reply


      I am so glad you found my doubts reassuring rather than off-putting. Yes, we will continue unschooling. I don't think we have any other choice because we need the close and loving relationships we have to help us through the tough times of life.

      "But my instincts tell me that it can´t be wrong to love our children too much, it can´t be wrong to want to be a present mother, it can´t be wrong to learn to trust their choices…" I agree with your words completely!

      It must be difficult for you, deciding to unschool without any support around you. Homeschooling, where we live, is very acceptable, but unschooling is less well understood. But I have never feyt any pressure to change our way of life. It is, however, always good to chat online with kindred spirits who understand, so maybe online unschooling friends will be a source of support for you too.

      Thank you so much for listening to my podcast, and also for stopping by. I appreciate your encouraging words.

    • emily
    • December 18, 2016

    It’s ironic that I listened to this podcast and the previous one a couple of days after you commented on my post, “In Case You Thought I Was A Perfect Mother,” LOL.

    Some children will go astray. That’s just the way it is. No matter how you raise them. It’s not necessarily a mistake you made, but that the child is his or her own person. I know this comes to you 2 yrs later, and by what you say in the podcast you obviously were thinking along those lines, but I just wanted to share what popped into my head while I was listening. 🙂

    PS – I’m making my way through all your podcasts, and eventually will return to your YT channel and do some more watching there. I’m SO GLAD you didn’t quit this blog when you experienced a bump. Believe me, I’ve had the same temptations.

    1. Reply


      Yes, when I read your post, I remembered feeling the same way as you. I wanted to make sure readers weren’t under any illusions: I am indeed not a perfect mother!

      Even if we were perfect parents, I’m sure our children would still make mistakes. But maybe the love and example we give them will encourage them to return if they stray. I never did report back on this podcast. It’s difficult to talk about such things when our children’s privacy is involved. I can say, however, that the situation was resolved. I don’t regret unschooling and trusting my kids!

      Thanks for stopping by to continue the conversation!

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