What Gives Me the Right to Write about Unschooling?

My Unschooling Book Series (4)

I have doubts.

What gives me the right to write an unschooling book?

Because my family is a perfect example of unschooling? It’s obvious, isn’t it? You’ve seen the beautiful photos and heard all the amazing stories. Do as I do and you can’t go wrong.

But what if I haven’t told you the whole story? What would you think if I did (which I can’t)? And what about the future? What if my kids decide to do things that don’t fit in with your idea of a perfect unschooling family?

Would you say, “What gives her the right to write about unschooling? She hasn’t got it all worked out.”

And you’d be right. Things aren’t perfect. I haven’t got things all worked out. Why should I think I can write an unschooling book?

Or perhaps we’re unschooling okay. We’re not the problem. Maybe it’s unschooling which is all wrong. Why should I urge you to follow this way of life? Could I be leading you astray?

Regardless of the problems, I have come to the conclusion that we have no choice. We have to unschool because it’s the right thing to do. Everyone deserves to be loved unconditionally and treated with respect. We can’t control other people. Not even when we get scared and start to worry about what other people might think.

Other people. Perhaps a lot of our parenting has to do with us and not our kids. What do people think of us? Do they think that we are good parents? How do they decide? They look at our kids.

But kids have free will. They can choose to go their own way. And this is painful and (rather inconvenient) for parents.

Regardless of what our children do, we have to continue to love and accept them. Maybe their choices will turn out to be okay. It could be that we just need to adjust our thinking. Look at our kids differently. Put aside our own ideas of who they should be. Perhaps we’ll need to ignore other people’s opinions too.

Or if our children have truly gone down the wrong pathway, perhaps the power of love will draw them back.

Love and trust.

I believe all this. I have no doubt that unschooling is what we should be doing. But writing about it? Sharing my family in public? Encouraging others to unschool too? Today, I have my doubts.

Today, I feel like deleting my blog. I want to forget about the book.

Do you understand?

Image: I took this photo during the filming of the music video Wunderkind. The girls are fixing Imogen’s hair between takes. It kept escaping from the bobby pins!

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    • Alison
    • November 4, 2017

    There is such a pressure to follow “the norm” and other people’s expectations but we need to do what’s right and best for ourselves and our families (under God’s leading). We can all learn from each other, imperfect and completely out of control of others as we are.

    I have been on such a journey of self-discovery and discovering my unique children through learning about unschooling. It is a rich but challenging journey, and I am keen to continue hearing and learning from your experiences, Sue. 🙂

    I have made a poster which is displayed in our dining room – Trust, Respect and Love Unconditionally. I want everyone to think about what our core beliefs are – about who we are and how we relate to each other.

    I am so thankful for all that you write and share. 🙂

    1. Reply


      A journey of self-discovery? Oh yes! Unschooling is just as much about us as our kids, isn’t it? None of us is perfect and that’s okay. You are right: we can learn from each other despite our imperfections. Maybe loving and accepting and encouraging each other is better than following a perfect example.

      I love the sound of your poster. I’m really touched that you have my words displayed in your dining room. Thank you for telling me. That’s very encouraging. I’ve been wondering if it’s possible to put those words on mugs and other items maybe using the Redbubble website. What do you think? I’m not artistic but perhaps it could be done. An idea (another one!) to think about.

      Thank you so much for stopping by to encourage me. Your words were just what I needed.

    • Nancy Saffield
    • November 4, 2017

    I would hope that when all is said and done that we all could be parents who unschooled our children with unconditional love and respect. They may not always make the decisions we think they should or even turn out the way we think they should. But I believe they will always know that we had a predominant influence in their lives for the good. And hopefully that will be enough. Nancy

    1. Reply


      Yes, we have to love and respect our kids and then hope that’s enough. Even if they go off-track for a time, why shouldn’t they return to the place where they have been unconditionally loved and accepted? That love might draw them back. Thoughts I’ve been pondering.

      It’s good to chat. I do appreciate your comment which has helped ME get back on track with my book. Thank you!

  1. Reply

    Yes, I do understand. Today I got a notice in the mail from the speech therapist that said,”______is still behind in her social communication compared to her same age peers.” It made me sad. I felt frustrated. But I know that most people take a brief glance at our lives and make their judgements and you’ve got to do what you know is right. You are inspirational to me!

    1. Reply


      “… most people take a brief glance at our lives and make their judgements…” I’ve been thinking about these words. Yes, we have to do what is right and ignore other people’s opinions. Yes, it can be upsetting, but we can’t let them influence us.

      Despite being imperfect, we can still share and learn from each other. Thank you for your kind words!

  2. Reply

    Now I’ve had (or almost had) all my children through the school system in Denmark – which is supposed to be one of the best in the world – If I could start over, I’d tell myself, please un- or homeschool. You’re the one that love and know your children.
    The “what would other people think” pressure is a tough opponent. But we have to carry on down our own path and plug our ears to the siren song of normalcy (which is an abstraction, that I’m not sure even exists).
    The failures are all part of the learning process and we *can* learn from the failures of other people.
    I’m longing to learn more from you. Every story you’ve told so far has given me some little piece of wisdom, or laughter, which is a brother of wisdom.

    1. Reply


      Even though your children go to school, I consider you unschoolers. You do know and love your kids unconditionally. You’re always learning together. Maybe unschooling is for everyone. I know that we are fortunate because we have the freedom to be at home together all the time. But perhaps unschooling principles can be incorporated into any life.

      “But we have to carry on down our own path and plug our ears to the siren song of normalcy…” Oh yes!

      Thank you for always being such an encouraging friend to me. I love learning and laughing together. I appreciate your kind words very much!

  3. Reply

    As you know, I appreciate your honesty and your love for your children. It shines forth so bright. I hope you can find the courage to put your thoughts out into the world. Just ignore that little niggly judge that tries to take away your joy. I think we need to “trust, respect and love OURSELVES unconditionally” too!
    Xo Jazzy Jack

  4. Reply


    You are so encouraging and kind. And you understand completely. Yes, there is a niggly judge that tries to take away my joy. I shall try and squash it. Actually, because of everyone’s kind comments, I am feeling much more positive. Maybe I needed to work through these feelings. Now I can get on with some good work. Thank you for helping me get to this stage!

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