Originally Posted by queenjane
Personally i have a hard time grasping how someone is "academically" an unschooler but rejects "radical"/whole life unschooling. If i had to choose between formal curriculum but keeping the rest of the unschooling stuff (yknow bedtime/chores/tv/food etc), or vice versa, i would rather be academically a school at homer and have RU in the rest of our lives, then be an academic unschooler and be strict/parent led/coercive/whatever in other day to day areas.
We have been "unschoolers" (although I have always resisted labeling our homeschooling) up until just a little bit ago, when I started introducing math and handwriting practice to my 7.5yo for specific reasons. We may be unschoolers again in the future. But, we have never been, nor will we ever be, radical unschoolers with regards to our parenting.
We have a loving, mutually respectful, trust based relationship with our children. They are given a lot of choices, a lot of freedom, and are incredibly happy. However, I firmly believe that we are the adults in the relationship, and we have the responsibility to guide them simply because we have had more life experience. They are brushing their teeth, every night, end of story. We know that they need to get a certain amount of sleep in order to function, and we will make sure they go to sleep before they start running into walls (which is literally what will happen otherwise). If they throw toys all over the living room floor, they will pick them up. They may not hit us, or speak to us rudely. We will get angry if they do that, and we will likely tell them they need to go their room to calm down. We certainly won't feel like taking them to mini golf after they have screamed at us.
These are all just small examples, but basically what I'm trying to say is that dh and I have no problem being the "authority" figures of the family, and it has nothing to do with our "control baggage." Just like unschooling, radical unschooling means a lot of different things to different people, and unfortunately most of the families I've known IRL who call themselves radical unschoolers tolerate horrible behavior, and don't step in when their children are mean and violent towards others. Years ago we stopped attending park days and field trips associated with two different unschooling groups because of the behavior from the radically unschooled children. Some other unschooling families also stopped going because of the behavior.
Are they all like this? Of course not, and I would never presume to make such sweeping generalizations. But that's been our experience. And just as the mother lion gives her cub a bonk upside the head when he does something wrong, so do we step in as the parental authority when our children are doing something we don't think is acceptable. We don't hit, we don't shame, we try not to threaten or bribe (although some things can be interpreted that way), but we absolutely do discipline (even though most mainstream parents don't think we do).
So the concept of unschooling academically but not in parenting makes perfect sense to me. Academics as we know it is an artificial concept made up by school boards and textbook manufacturers. We don't feel that we need to make sure our children abide by those artificial rules. But generally acceptable behavior, safety, health and hygiene are real issues for which I believe children need guidance and yes, sometimes discipline (or whatever you want to call it).