What is the role of the unschooling parent?

Maisha Khalifani (earthspirit393)

[Unschooling is] not about letting my children run wild and do what they want. It's not about shirking my responsibility, but it's about embracing it. It's about spending actual time with my children, about getting to know them like I would a friend or someone I was dating. Unschooling is about being present with my children, and seeing them for who they are. Not who I wish they would be, or who I want them to be.

All of this is MUCH MORE DIFFICULT than people realize. They think unschooling is easy. They think it's about letting your kids just "go". NO, unschooling is about being the most active parent you can possibly be. It's about putting away the workbook that you would have your child do, and spending that time with them doing and being. It's about playing a game and just laughing with your child -- not playing a game "to learn something". It's about spending time with your child like you would spend with your best friend, or your partner - just enjoying their company. And that's far harder to do than sending them to public school, private school, or even buying a complete curriculum. But it's far more rewarding.

Pam Sorooshian

  1. Show respect for all of a child's interests equally.
  2. Keep the child in mind as I go through life, so that I notice things that might be of interest to that child.
  3. Find ways to include the child in my own daily life - live a more"open-book' life than the norm.
  4. Follow up on things the child is interested in - and do this in a wide variety of ways, not only by "getting him a book on it."
  5. Live a family life that is rich with experiences of a variety of kinds both at home and outside the home.
  6. Have resources around the home that are interesting and stimulating - things that will encourage exploration of ideas.
  7. Discuss things - spend time in conversation. This is probably overall the most important parental"action' involved in unschooling.
  8. Have a"playful' attitude - play together, have fun, appreciate the amazing world around you. Don't be cynical, be able to be amazed and find the world a fascinating place. THIS is the most important"attitude' for an unschooling parent.
  9. Be self-aware of your own thinking and behavior. Purposely stretch your imagination - question your own assumptions, check your own automatic impulses.
  10. Be very observant of what your child is really doing - don't view him/her in a shallow superficial way. Recognize that there is a reason for a child's actions, that a child is"born to learn' and is always learning. Get to know your child's own special favored ways of learning
  11. Wholeheartedly support a child's passions EVEN if, to you, they don't look like "education."
 
 
 
Last updated: April 2009