What is the role of the unschooling parent?
[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'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
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
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
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
complete curriculum. But it's far more rewarding.
- Show respect for all of a child's interests equally.
- Keep the child in mind as I go through life, so that I notice things
that might be of interest to that child.
- Find ways to include the child in my own daily life - live a more"open-book' life
than the norm.
- 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."
- Live a family life that is rich with experiences of a variety of kinds
both at home and outside the home.
- Have resources around the home that are interesting and stimulating
- things that will encourage exploration of ideas.
- Discuss things - spend time in conversation. This is probably overall
the most important parental"action' involved in unschooling.
- 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.
- Be self-aware of your own thinking and behavior. Purposely stretch your
imagination - question your own assumptions, check your own automatic
- 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
Get to know your child's own special favored ways of learning
- Wholeheartedly support a child's passions EVEN if, to you, they don't
look like "education."