The Tricky Business Of Recommending Resources

Many years ago, my first child Felicity lent one of her books to a friend. It was promptly returned with the message, “My mother doesn’t want me to read it. It’s not suitable.” Not suitable? What was wrong with it? I suddenly doubted my ability to judge books. At the same time, I felt judged. What did Felicity’s friend’s mother think of me? Was I an irresponsible parent exposing my children to things they really shouldn’t see?

After that incident, I tried to make sure my opinions were in line with that of my friends. Perhaps they were right. My judgement might be poor. Also, I wanted to be accepted. I didn’t want anyone to think my children were unsuitable playmates: “No, you can’t visit the Elvises. I’m not sure their home is a safe place.” This happened to other families. I didn’t want it to happen to mine.

It proved difficult to stay one step ahead of all my friends. I couldn’t seem to predict what they would think of a particular book or movie or toy. (I kept making mistakes.) Sometimes I just couldn’t see what was wrong with what I’d let my kids read or watch or play with. In the end, I decided to trust my own instincts, but I did it quietly. I told my children, “We’ll keep what we’re doing to ourselves.”

Yes, I stopped sharing what I was doing with my children. Until I started blogging. Now the world knows what we’re reading and watching and listening to. I’m always sharing resources here on my blog. And I talk about all my latest discoveries in my podcasts.

So what do people think of my recommendations?

Sometimes people stop by and say, “Hey, that was a fantastic video. Thanks for sharing!” But how many times do readers think, “Does Sue really let her kids watch shows like that?” I wonder. Are people judging my choices? Is it safer to keep quiet and not let anyone know what I’m doing with my children? 

Or can I continue sharing but first write a disclaimer?

I haven’t viewed all resources. I offer them as a starting;point, something which may be useful. I invite you to investigate them and make up your own mind about whether they are suitable for your family. Even if we have used and enjoyed a resource, you might not agree it’s suitable. Parents are the best judges of their own children and their needs.

I’m aware that not all the resources I recommend are perfect. For example, an adults-only segment might slip into an otherwise perfectly good video. Our family either skips over the adult content or we talk about it. You could do the same. Or you might decide to avoid the resource altogether. Whatever suits.

So that’s my disclaimer.  Is it okay? I hope so. I’m not worried what you think of me, but I’d hate you to steer clear of  my resource recommendations because you don’t trust my opinion. Some of my discoveries are indeed very good!

I talk about the tricky business of recommending resources in my next podcast. I give an example of a not-quite-perfect video we recently viewed (and enjoyed).

I also talk about the tricky business of parenting. I never wanted to raise children who are different. But of course, all my children are far from ‘normal’. Sophie joins me and we have a very lively discussion about being different. Is my 14-year-old daughter happy to be the way she is? I hope you’ll listen to this week’s episode to find out.
So I’ll be back tomorrow with my latest podcast: episode 48. Another podcast means lots of resources to tell you about. Some I haven’t tested, but they sound interesting. Others are perfect. One or two are not-quite-perfect. It’s quite okay for me to share everything with you because I’ll add a disclaimer!

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  1. Hello Sue, I appreciate how generously you share resources here and in your podcasts. You've made such a contribution to us over the years. I know exactly what you mean about the fear of being judged. I am about the most liberal parent I know and I have a very mature 11 year old. I'm sure many people would be horrified by some of the things I let her watch or read. (Although we almost always watch or read together, which gives me real-time feedback on her reactions and level of understanding, and a chance to talk through any issues.)

    I really acknowledge you for overcoming your fear of being judged and sharing anyway – you are my heroine! I've been fantasising for years about starting a separate blog in which I – with a big fat disclaimer! and consideration for my children's privacy – share every unschooling thing we do, no holding back. It might not be interesting to everyone, but perhaps a few people would enjoy some of the resources we use. (One day…!)

    1. Reply


      We all know the needs of our own children better than anyone else although others might like to have their say and judge us! I watch and read the more adult stuff with my girls too. It's a good chance to talk about things. Some things can't be avoided forever.

      I think I wouldn't be in such a tricky situation if I limited my recommendations to the usual resources designed with children in mind. But we like to use more 'real life' stuff like documentaries made for the general public Much more interesting!

      It's easy to share and not worry about being judged when I am sharing with kind friends like you. Your heroine? Oh my! Now I feel I should hunt out my cape and tights. Thank you for making me smile!

      A new blog? Oh do create one and share more about your unschooling. I would enjoy reading it very much! I always love discussing ideas with you and hearing about resources. I'm going to watch out just in case 'one day' happens soon!!

  2. Reply

    I always love your sharings :-). Looking forward to podcast 48!

    San x

    1. Reply


      Thank you! I posted podcast 48. I hope you enjoy it! xxx

  3. Reply

    Sue, you know how much I value your resource sharing! That doesn't mean that everything is to our taste, but that is natural – we all enjoy different things. You've certainly enriched our learning experiences by giving me links to look into and these often lead to other links as well.

    1. Reply


      Oh yes, you are so right: We all have different tastes! Despite this, I always think it's worth sharing a resource just in case someone else likes it or it fulfils a certain need.

      Don't you just love how one link can lead to another? I always feel like I'm on an exciting trail picking up treasure along the way! I can't remember what I was looking at on Youtube when I spied some art videos in the side-bar. Those links have lead to others and we're having a great time at the moment exploring the art world.

      Thank you so much for stopping by to reassure me about the value of sharing resources!

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