I would like to say thanks for this thread, and OP,
I never seriously considered unschooling because, well, I like school.
However, there was always this draw... what if a child could learn everything without pressure? Waiting to pee during math? Experiencing that first "C" or "F"?
What this has convinced me, because it's been so in-depth, is that "unschooling" is actually just another way of schooling. There's less pressure, but you do provide experiences and you do expect some progress.
For example, there are a lot of cases on her of eight and nine year olds not reading being debated, but I don't think anyone is suggesting that illiterate eleven and twelve year olds will eventually "just get it" because we know that most children at that age should be developmentally ready. Their brains are developed enough, so if they aren't reading, it's a question of motivation or (more likely) a learning disability.
Likewise, everyone seems to expect "un"schoolers to take their children to museums, field trips, discuss math daily with them. Which is awesome. Don't get me wrong.
But to me, that's really just experiential learning. Learning standing up.
If you have specific milestones, it doesn't matter how relaxed they may be. Suppose you're taking the latest age for reading, the latest age any country introduces math, etc. etc. Or perhaps you're going from a psych textbook that outlines when most children can physically understand these concepts (brain matter finally arrived
). They are still standards.
If you are actively providing exercises (however "real life" they may be, the fact is, you can just go out and buy a muffin... check out a book on tape... sign a scribble... people get through life without basic math or reading all the time, though not easily or happily, so really, these exercises are still exercises)--then you are educating that child, "schooling" them, so to speak.
Perhaps what the OP and others are misled by is the whole "un" thing. To me, that means "not" and that means,
|schooling |ˈskoōli ng | |ˈskulɪŋ| |ˈskuːlɪŋ|
education or training received, esp. at school : his parents paid for his schooling.
No education or training received. Unschooling. No education. Anyway that's what turned me off.
But it may also turn some people ON to it.
Don't let me re-name your movement, though.
I just think it's fascinating how the most successful, happy, confident unschoolers actually do a lot of... what I would call schooling. But for a specific type of child, that likes hands-on learning.
I do think the off-hours thing for museums is a huge plus. But then, there's always Sunday mornings and Friday nights.