We're radical unschoolers...the "radical" part, since my son was born (i was also raised without arbitrary limits on tv, food, bedtimes etc so it came very naturally to me)...he left school at age 7 (he'll be 11 in Oct)...
I have to say, after spending so much time for the past few years on unschooling forums (specifically unschooling.com and then unschooling.info), it was a little shocking to come to these forums and read the constant posts against tv, computers, certain toys, etc. Those kinds of posts make me so sad....yknow how sometimes people will post that they saw a small child disrespected in the grocery store, or a new baby being ignored with a bottle propped, or that a child was smacked in a restaurant and they were so horrified? I feel like that when i read posts where otherwise "loving" and "respectful" parents talk about "regulating screentime" and kids being "addicted" (to sugar, to computers, to tv, etc), when parents talk about their child's interests as useless "crap" or their child's toys as "junk"...it just really bums me out. I honestly don't get it. Mothers who honestly in their heart of hearts think that a twinkie is more damaging to their child then feeding organic food w/ shaming or force attached. (NOT saying that its either/or and NOT saying that all mothers here do that, just to be clear.)
I really enjoy the passion my son shows for his interests, no matter if its shooting pixels on a screen or watching a certain tv show or eating something made with sugar. For me, happiness, joy, mindfullness, relationships...thats where its at. All that other stuff, all that control control control that some mothers feel they have to maintain....it feels so bizarre and foreign to me now.
Someone mentioned all this theory on unschooling sites and how sometimes you just want to hear its ok to tell the kids to go to bed...the thing is, while i know that unschooling moms have their bad moments, and that we're all human, i dont think its ok to say "oh well, you did your best, no big deal"...would that be acceptable here, in say, the sleep or breastfeeding forums? I doubt it...if someone posted "Well, i was so tired, i just let him cry it out"...yes of course you comfort the mother, reassure her that her child isnt forever damaged and that what she did was better than some alternatives...HOWEVER...don't you also offer a way to do it better next time? Because when we post stuff on the internet, its not just for that one mother, its for the countless mothers that come later and read that post, too. I think its a little annoying when a parent posts and basically wants validation for something that she could have done better...it doesnt help her at all for the next time (and there will be a next time....i know there always is for me!) to hear that its fine to not do the best you can in that moment.
What i hear over and over in unschooling forums, is to make the next moment better. Not that you have to be perfect, but to make this moment more mindful than the last. To take out the more harmful tools from your toolbox (spanking, say, or yelling)and work on the rest in time. I've read lots of "real stories" from experienced unschooling parents, talking about their less-than-stellar parenting moments (when they might have spanked, or shamed, or yelled), and how they moved past it. I dont see too much of "well, if you can't be perfect and always do the most noncoercive thing possible then you are a terrible parent and shouldnt call yourself an unschooler"...not at all...at the same time, i wouldnt expect someone to give bad advice, or "there there you did the best you could" advice. That doesnt help anyone, not the parent not the kid.