I’m browsing the Internet, hopping from one unschooling site to another. And I notice that some authors sound more expert than others. They write with authority. They use language such as, “You should do this or that or the other.” I get the feeling there’s a right way and a wrong way to do things. The writers sound so sure of what they’re saying. Obviously they are unschooling experts. And I should listen.
Experts? I wonder what makes someone an unschooling expert? No one goes to university and works towards an unschooling qualification. Is it more to do with experience? There’s no doubt that the longer we unschool, the more we learn. But no one knows everything. We’re all continually learning. And if we do get to the point where we feel we know a great deal, we can only consider ourselves experts as far as our own families are concerned, because no family is exactly like another. Oh yes, we might use the same principles. There’s definitely an unschooling philosophy. Some of us may understand that better than others. But the details of how to put this philosophy into action will never be exactly the same.
That doesn’t mean we can’t learn from each other. We read about other unschoolers’ experiences and wonder if we can apply what they have learnt about unschooling to our own families. And I guess that’s why I sometimes receive an email asking for some help on a particular aspect of unschooling, despite the fact I’m not an expert.
Yes, I’m definitely not an expert. I have learnt a great deal while I’ve been homeschooling my children but I still haven’t got everything totally worked out. There are many questions and ideas I’m still pondering. Actually the longer we unschool, the more I realise I don’t know. Perhaps that sounds depressing to some people. It might be nice to read a book or a blog and discover the perfect way to unschool (or parent). But I don’t think it works that way. We can only learn by engaging with our children, by experiencing unschooling for ourselves, by living life. And life is always changing. I find this exciting.
So I have no advice. But there is something I can offer: some suggestions. We can talk mother-to-mother, mull over some ideas, share what’s worked and what hasn’t, listen, accept or reject… learn from each other.
The other day someone asked me for some tips on how to make the transition from structured homeschooling to unschooling. I’m happy to chat about this. Perhaps you’ve been in this position. You might have some ideas to share too. I thought I’d write about this topic in a few short posts (because it is easier for me to find a few minutes here and there to write, rather than work on a long post). What do you think? I hope you’ll join me.
Image: A totally random photo: Sisters Sharing