Like others I seem to have a very different definition of the word "lifestyle" than you do. I don't think it pertains exclusively to one's "leisure time", nor do I see any clear distinction between work and leisure in my own family life. I'm going to add my voice to the chorus here, because I think you've inadvertently, in the midst of this discussion about semantics, hit on the very crux of unschooling: its first premise is doing away with the distinction between leisure and work.
Dh grew up on a dairy farm where milking, haying, gardening, and calving were just a part of life for his mom and dad and their kids. Was washing dishes for after feeding the hired help work or leisure? What about bottle-feeding the littlest calf? Harvesting potatoes? I grew up the daughter of a philosophy professor who brought doctoral students to our family cottage so they could work together on theses and while fishing and building a new dock, and of a violin teacher who coached and performed and taught sometimes for pay and sometimes exclusively for pleasure and we all often forgot which. Right now dh is a small-town GP who volunteers on the Search and Rescue squad and on the Health Action Group, and often does bits of handy-man work and furniture-moving for his elderly house-bound patients when he makes house calls. Yesterday he re-wired a bathroom fixture for someone, last week he moved a bed into a living room. I am a physician and violin teacher who usually ends up with no taxable income at the end of the year, since I do much of my "work" for free or at a loss. I conduct the community orchestra because I want my daughter to have one to play in. They pay me $50 a year. Work or leisure? My entire life-experience has defied this distinction.
I know we're probably not typical, though in pre-industrial cultures we would have been. But the compartmentalism of human experience into "work" (i.e. learning) and "leisure" (i.e. life) is exactly the one I'm trying to prevent my kids from internalizing. Its the crux of unschooling for me. This is really what I mean when I say that unschooling is a lifestyle: that this work/leisure or learning/life distinction doesn't apply to us. It's all one big ball of wax.
You suggested that "lifestyle" implied limiting your kids' education to your "values" and those of your family and suggested that would severely limit their ability to pursue ideas for themselves. I guess, again, it depends on your values and on your definitions. Turning to dictionary.com again, I think the definition of "value" that most suits your use is "a principle, standard, or quality considered worthwhile or desirable." I happen to value creativity, freedom, tolerance, persistence, and respect. I don't see how these are going to be severely limiting.
I happen to value music, but I wouldn't call music one of my "values" in the preceding sense. So perhaps you are concerned that "what one finds worthwhile and pursues in one's leisure time" will affect one's child's education. I wonder if that's why you're concerned about the use of the word "lifestyle" to describe unschooling... perhaps you think it implies that I drag my kids around as I pursue my own self-centred agenda of leisure-time activities, and that their world is limited by that. (Note: I'm not saying this is what you really think
unschoolers do; just that you're concerned that a description which uses the word "lifestyle" implies that this is what we do.) If so, I think it's important to look again at the root of the description of unschooling: it is child-led. To be sure, I include my children in my life, but only as much as they wish to be. But if their interests lead them to a fascination with medieval weaponry (I'm a pacifist), so be it; that's where we go. If they choose (as they have this week, for the first time in three years) not to do any music whatsoever, so be it. Unschooling isn't about including them in my
lifestyle, it's about creating a new unschooling lifestyle driven by their interests and needs, taking mine into account or perhaps using them as occasional sources of inspiration, and it's about doing away with the distinction between work and leisure.
I'm reminded of the section in the newspaper entitled "Lifestyle", the one that's about interior decorating and the latest Jaguar model and designer blazers for $699
and guessing that this is the definition you're objecting to. I'd object to that too, but I hardly think that's the definition most of us think of when we hear unschooling defined as "a lifestyle driven by impassioned child-led learning". We're not talking about asking our children to follow
our lifestyle, we're talking working with our children to create
a lifestyle governed by the principle that inspired learning is a seamless part of a lives fully lived.
About the word "radical"... I think unschooling is indeed a radical philosophy. It may not be radical in its execution (that is, after all, up to our children, not us), but it is radical in its basic premise that "children leading rich lives will learn what they want and need to learn when they're best able to learn it, with no need for prodding coercion from well-meaning adults." My daughter is these days working steadily away at Singapore Math and that is most certainly not radical. What is
radical is that I never suggested she ought to work away at math bookwork, and if she were to choose not to touch formal math again for the next few months or years, I would (I hope!) just let her be, trusting that she'd learn what she needed when she needed it.