Thank you Tigeresse and others for sharing your struggles on this thread. I am friends with a former unschooler IRL who has also struggled and is now doing things differently with her younger children. I do agree that unschooling does get promoted by a vocal some as the self-actualized way of homeschooling and that we should always be trying to get ourselves there. (I can aslo see how it could work out in some families so this post is not to say it is never a good choice).
My oldest is only 7 and I thought we would unschool but we have settled into a moderate daily rountine that works well for us. Yes, there is resistance at times, but he sure feels good about being able to write and read with the schooled children he goes to other activities with. We are still very gentle parents even though we require a certain amount of school work everyday, along with brushing his teeth, bedtimes ect. I guess what I have learned this year since having my 3rd child is that something does not have to be at the extreme end of the spectrum to be good and well. I can breastfeed for 2 years instead of child-led wean, cook many things from scratch instead of everything, we can do a moderate amount of homeschool work with plenty of time to pursue interests instead of unschooling or public schooling.
The fact is that most of the nation is being formally schooled and there is a level of knowledge that is expected to do certain things at certain times in your life in this complex society. Even my dh who did not need a university degree still needed to study a lot and a pass test to get into his profession. I am looking for the balance to have children who have a good amount of freedom but are not hindered by choices they made as children and could not see the future consequences of. (I am really glad my parents did not let me do what I thought was best growing up.) I don't see why I can't have daily school work requirements for my children and have a deeply loving relationship with them at the same time.
Try not to beat yourself up too much Tigeresse.