What if Unschooling is Wrong?

My Unschooling Book Series (22)

Today, I’m sharing an incomplete thought. Some thoughts are like that. They sit at the edge of our minds, refusing to enter completely. We could dismiss them, but they might hold something of value. If only we could grasp them properly and put them into the right words.


Do you ever wonder: “What if unschooling is wrong?”

We could be quite happy, and then one day, out of the blue, doubt descends. Our trust begins to waver. We think: “What if the critics are right? What if my kids don’t learn all they need to know? What if we’re jeopardising their futures? What if… ?”

So what do we do? Do we jump ship quickly while we still have the chance? There’s time to try something else.

Or do we think about what unschooling is really all about?

Now some people might think unschooling is just about kids having the freedom to learn what they like when they like. Nice and simple. But that’s not the most important part of the story.

Unschooling is about connecting with our kids so we can guide and encourage them as they grow into the people they are meant to be. We do this by loving unconditionally.

The question is this: Can it be wrong to love our kids unconditionally?

But let’s imagine that unschooling is wrong. Then something else must be right. What is that something else? What would we do if we weren’t unschooling? Would our alternative to unschooling have to involve such things as unconditional love, respect, trust, self-sacrifice, forgiveness, and kindness? Can we live differently and still incorporate all these unschooling essentials into the foundations of our lives?

Or should we stay with unschooling? Perhaps unschooling is indeed the way we are meant to live?


The other thought I want to ponder: “Is unkindness ever justified? If we have to battle with our kids to get them to do what we like and we wind up being unkind, is that okay? Surely we have to do what it takes? Is it our duty? Or is there a better way?


Can you see what I’m trying to say in my very muddled way? Maybe I’m having trouble because I don’t want to offend anyone who might think I’m claiming, as an unschooler, exclusive ownership of such things as unconditional love, trust and respect. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Comments

  1. Reply

    I understand! Tonight my husband and teenage daughter were out buying a cell phone. It had been a long day. The baby didn’t want to go to sleep. At one point she threw all of her bedding out of her crib. I told her sharply to lay down many times. Two hours later she was finally asleep. I didn’t want to speak to her harshly but I needed some rest and space. I needed some time to be with my older kids.

    I have a teen daughter who can be stubborn. There was a time when she seemed especially hard to reach and I have spoken harshly to her at times when I needed her to wake up and take notice when she was content to stay stuck. It seems like there has been some positive change surrounding these intense talks.

    These are the two examples of times when I have gone outside of what seems unschooly. Part of me thinks that is the case. The other part says that it was ok.

    1. Reply

      Venisa,

      Parenting can be tough at times, can’t it? Yes, we get tired and just need some space but our children still need us. I can remember years ago when I just wanted my little ones to go to sleep because I’d had enough for one day, but they just wouldn’t settle. In the end, I gave up putting them to bed. I decided it wasn’t worth all the stress and time involved. Instead, my babies and toddlers were happy to curl up on my lap or on the sofa next to me. Usually they went to sleep quickly. Later, I’d take them to bed with me.

      As you know, I’m no longer in that intensive phase of motherhood. Unlike you, I don’t have to see to the needs of lots of young children all at the same time. I have it much easier than you. Sending you a hug. I hope you get a chance to rest over the weekend.

  2. Reply

    If I were not an unschooler then love, trust, and respect still need to be paramount. We need to be on our kids side always! It would be harder with regular school however because it feels like school encourages power struggles.

    1. Reply

      Venisa,

      I wonder if you were thinking about the times when kids need to be made to do their homework etc. It would be hard to stand back and not push them to do the expected things. And then we’d get into battles and it would be hard to trust and respect… But what if we didn’t interfere?

      I remember an article I read some time ago about this topic which is interesting. I’ll add a link!

      How to Unschool a Kid and Send Him to School:

      http://education.penelopetrunk.com/2014/02/11/how-to-unschool-a-struggling-student/

  3. Reply

    Sue,
    Thank you for the link. Yes, power struggles could be about assignments. I guess I was thinking about situations where the teacher is in conflict with the student and the parents feel pressure to side with the teacher over their child. As an example when I was in high school the instructor of my religious class was a difficult person to deal with. Our class had a (not unusual) problem with chatter that would start as an occasional whisper and could grow to quite a bit of whispering. So one day the teacher kicked us all out into the hall for doing this. He wouldn’t let us back in until we apologized. I hadn’t been talking and didn’t make quite the apology he wanted and, as I recall, spoke to him about how the situation was unfair. As a result I was not allowed back in until my parents and I met with him and I apologized. My parents knew that he was a jerk who was using his power as an adult and a teacher a little vindictively but they didn’t want me kicked out of the class so I had to apologize.

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