I'm not really sure whether my perspective is as a radical unschooler or a not-quite-unschooler. We have always had child-led bedtimes, no assigned chores, no top-down parental rule-setting. So in that sense we are a radical unschooling family. But in other ways we look more like not-quite-unschoolers: my kids have often chosen to do regular academic book-work, they take music lessons and practice every day, we are pretty much a TV-free family, for example.
Anyway, for what it's worth, here's my story. When my eldest was about 9 I felt I was reaching a crisis point in terms of chaos and my kids seemed aimless and difficult to live with. I decided to spend my parenting energy not on reining in the chaos or controlling their aimlessness with a schedule and parental expectations, but working on our family dynamics. I was pretty sure that we were not necessarily following our bliss as much as we were aimlessly following a rut we were stuck in. The kids flitted all day from mess to mess. I was wrapped up in trying to contain the mess and help everyone get along. Were we really all doing what made us happiest? I didn't think so, so I resolved to provide some leadership within the family so that we could become happier, so that we could figure out "how to make our family work better." I framed it for myself as a year-long project. I would put relationships first and hope that the rest (the mess, the aimlessness) would fall into place as a result.
The crux of it for us was family meetings. I would serve hot chocolate and muffins and announce "Hey, family meeting time!" and they came willingly. And at least once a week for that whole year we talked about how to make our family and home a better, easier, happier place. Not "how to make mommy pleased" or "how to tidy up better." Those topics would have been all about my demands and my needs. Instead we gradually identified the values that we all felt were important. A certain degree of tidiness emerged as a value everyone shared. For instance, once I got the kitchen sparkling clean and tidy, and everyone remarked at Family Meeting how awesome it was to be able to see the counter and find clean places for food prep and have clean cutlery and know where everything was. So through natural learning the kids discovered they enjoyed order in the kitchen. Over subsequent meetings we gradually identified a bunch of different strategies for creating and maintaining that order. For a week we would try one approach at their suggestion. If that worked, great! If it didn't work, or wasn't sufficient, we'd look at other strategies and change something up the next week. The suggestions most often came from the kids. And surprisingly, if they were involved in the discussion as equals, they were incredibly reasonable.
Within two or three months we had developed a set of themes of family harmony and balance that became our standing agenda for meetings, things we'd touch on every week to see how we were doing and discuss improvements if necessary. For us these were things like balance of active and sedentary pursuits, reasonable housekeeping of common areas, balanced nutrition, balance of social and solitary time, sleep-wake balance, balance of in-home and out-of-home time and so on.
The real magic in these meetings was in realizing that we were really all on the same side. We all wanted a happy, smoothly-functioning family and home. We were all working towards that end. It was no longer a case of parents seeing kids as uncaring and self-absorbed people living only in the moment, and kids seeing parents as intrusive task-masters always trying to interrupt the fun. We saw each other as all struggling towards the same common values, each with our own challenges.
We have never really solved all our problems. We still have family meetings and we still need to work away at elements of chaos and imbalance in our household. Sometimes it all gets away from us and we struggle from a pit of chaos and ill-will to get back on track. Sometimes it seems like as soon as we get a handle on one thing another slips away. It's always a work in progress.
But I really think it's been the right approach for us. We see each other as human beings, we see the difficulties we share through each others' eyes, and we are constantly engaged in working towards mutually agreeable solutions. It's the best life-learning of all.