Originally Posted by mckittre
But I don't live in a city. I live in a vibrant, wonderful, isolated community of a few hundred people. Community offerings are abundant, but necessarily eclectic.
Yeah, me too. We've unschooled since the get-go, and my eldest is 18 now. Village of 600, hours away from a mall or an airport. Unschooling is a product of people and place. Our unschooling will be different, but no more limited, than that in the city.
I recall hearing an anecdote about two prospective unschooling dads chatting at an unschooling conference, after been encouraged to attend alongside their spouses and kids. I don't know whether it's just a made-up story, but I really like it. They sit down for a coffee and once they realize they're at the same conference, they start chatting.
"Yeah, I really like the whole philosophy," said Dad 1. "I'm just not sure it's going to work for us without goats."
"Goats?" answered Dad 2. "What have goats got to do with unschooling?"
"Well, it's just that so many of these unschoolers who are giving talks seem to keep goats. You know, their kids help raise animals, they're outside a lot, they're really close to nature, they see the cycle of life first-hand, they do real work. I see how unschooling can work in that sort of a situation, where the kids can be part of the world around them, and roam freely outside, participate in family life, in food production, in day-to-day work on a farm, and all that. My family, though, we live in duplex in the city. We can't keep goats. I'm in IT. My work is all tech stuff, in my head, on the computer."
"You've got to be kidding," exclaimed Dad 2, "because I was just thinking: this unschooling thing sounds great, but I don't see how it could work for us, because of the computer thing. You see, a lot of the workshops are about using the internet, and computer gaming as an educational path, and how technology is a great educational equalizer, putting the learner in the driver's seat. But we live way out in the boonies. We have a small homestead, and we're still on dial-up, so we don't really do computer stuff at all. And all this great stuff I was hearing about unschooled kids doing on their computers... well, I was thinking, that's not going to work for us, we're too busy milking the goats."
We have a tendency to get hung up on the things we're missing. As parents we want our kids to have everything: that's natural. Instead of focusing on what's missing from our lives, we need to delve into what we have. Whenever I start worrying about the city opportunities my kids don't have, I play a little mind-game with myself: I imagine we're hosting a family of unschoolers from London, or Amsterdam, or Minneapolis. What would they be thrilled to see and do where we live? Then I turn my focus with gratitude to those things.