It's probably difficult to understand TCS in the context of something like school, which is usually a pretty coercive place. Nearly all of the unschoolers I've known have been unschoolers - non-coercive schooling kind of goes with non-coercive parenting. I do know a girl who decided to go to school in 4th or 5th grade, first a private Waldorf and then she would up applying for admission to a fairly conservative Catholic high school and going there, and thriving...but she's the exception. And really, it was up to her. If she wanted to go to school, her parents were willing to drive her, and they'd try to help her get her needs met with the school, but they also gave her lots of information about the school's expectations and how things worked. She thrived...
But since school is an artificial environment and most TCS kids don't choose to particpate, especially young kids, it's probably not the best example. My daughter, though, has done things like play on soccer teams and act in lots of theatrical productions. Both were activities she chose to do, and her attendance at both has always been exemplary. Actually, her attendance at everything she commits to doing is excellent... and while she hasn't always enjoyed every part of the activity, she has enjoyed the activity on the whole. I think part of it was that she could see how her attendance has an impact on her goals - her time is being spent meaningfully, even if it's not always pleasant, and she is doing something she wants to do.
I think learning about the potential results of your decisions is an essential part of TCS - that's the "sharing theories" bit, in which a parent gives the child information that he or she thinks might be relevant to the child's decision. TCS kids don't have to agree with the parents, but they generally listen critically and evalute the information.
|I guess you let them live with their decision, but isn't THAT kind of like "letting them learn the hard way?"
Well, if possible, you try to lessen the effects of the decision - like, if it was school, you offer to write a note saying the absence was excused. And you also look at other solutions, like finding schools with a difference philosophy on attendance, or finding a way for the child to get the parts of the activity he enjoys without the parts he dislikes.