I'm a Virgo. I love labels
I call myself an academic unschooler.
I'm not radical and sometimes I feel bad about it. All the RU moms I know IRL (I admit there aren't many) are really nice, friendly, interesting people to hang out with plus their kids are great too. I tend to get along better with people who are relaxed and laid back and so far, the RU moms I've met IRL fit that bill. I certainly haven't run into anyone who looks down on me because I'm not a perfect unschooler. I've mostly seen that sort of thing online (I can think of a few homeschoolers IRL who I feel looked down on by but for the record, they weren't unschoolers and they didn't even know I was so that wasn't an issue).
I don't believe in "because I said so". And I have way fewer rules than most parents I've run into. We have a few though.
We have bedtimes. I didn't for years. I finally put on a bedtime after my 9 year old kept being destructive when I wasn't awake. Not destructive on purpose - it was mostly art projects gone awry, but the last one involved a lot of glue purposely dripped in patterns all over the (hardwood thank goodness) floor which I thankfully found before it completely dried. I flipped out and instituted a bedtime that very night.
Bridget was Not Happy at first but I said tough luck, no choice. When I calmed down I almost re-thought it but I'm so glad I didn't. Bedtimes have been AWESOME. I'm getting more rest because when she stayed up I kept waking up - I sleep more soundly when I know she's in bed. She's getting more rest too and it shows. Plus we actually see her more instead of her staying up hours later and then sleeping in half the day. Oh, and getting her to things she actually wants to do (like ice skating in the morning) is MUCH easier on both of us. I think that might be the #1 reason she's ok with the bedtime now. This past week for some reason she's wanted to sleep in my room so she's going to bed when Owen does (an hour earlier than usual). Because of that she's getting up earlier too. It's been really nice. But yeah, it was something I imposed on her with no choice. Definitely not RU.
I also have to keep on my daughter about food. She has meltdowns if she doesn't eat enough which yes, I know, all kids have the potential to do but you have to see her. Seriously. I try to involve her in this as much as possible and we often talk about how she thinks it's working, what she wants to eat, how she can help herself remember, etc. But when it comes down to it, I will and have carried her screaming to the car to leave someplace when she's melting down. If we can avoid this by simply making sure she eats something every 2 hours or so, I'd much rather do that. We also have to avoid soy for her and make sure she has enough protein and fiber (they digest slower). Again, I get her input as much as possible on all that, but I still have to step in sometimes.
We also have chores but not only do I get my kid's input on what they want to do, my daughter actually whines when we forget them,
Both kids were fighting over who "got" to clear the table the other week so now we have a schedule for that. So that's not something imposed on them I guess. I do insist on them though, on the rare occasion Bridget doesn't want to (Owen always does - their personalities are very different). The whole thing about the family helping out as needed just didn't work for us
(um, Bridget) and I was feeling really martyred for awhile there. But she loves lists and responds much better when something is written down and done the same way every time (instead of the vague "gee, what needs doing today?" - doesn't work for me either). I also made an effort to find chores she'd like to do, so she gets to have fun AND check off boxes. That works for us
Honestly though, at times I've been worried about me and Bridget and our relationship. I'm sort of quirky and she's just like me. We were just fighting too much and I finally decided I need to do what I can to improve our relationship. And that includes bedtimes for us all, making sure we eat (because I have the same food/cranky thing she does - I'm just not as loud) and, yes, having chores. I am a bit scatterbrained and need help focusing and I find that lists and schedules help me. I think it's the same for Bridget. I do wish I could be more radical. I don't know if it's me or Bridget or both of us but I don't think we can ever be all the way there. I'm willing to accept that I can't do it because of me though. I just made the decision that I'd rather impose some rules and have a better relationship (ie: not yell at my kid). So that's where we are.
Other than that . . . the kids do what they want. They watch all the tv they want, play all the computer games they want, read whatever they want (we love "twaddle"
). We eat junk food when we feel like it, they jump on beds, they get dirty. Life is pretty good