For those who consciously choose to Unschool:
How did you learn about Unschooling?
What led you to it?
As always feel free to expand on the topic
DS: Logan 6/14/10
I wouldn't have consciously chosen unschooling if I hadn't been led to it by a series of circumstances. I had a stubborn but incredibly bright first-born and thus somewhat intuitively adopted a non-authoritarian parenting style -- I could just feel that any authority I might try to exert was going to have to be extremely brutal to overcome her will and wits. My parenting style was something that caught the attention of a music friend who at one point when dd was about 4 and I said something about preschool responded with "Oh, I just assumed you wouldn't be sending her to school: you seem like a dyed-in-the-wool unschooler to me." And I, who had been vaguely considering homeschooling but assumed it was school at home and didn't know what unschooling really meant, asked her to explain what made it so different and so wonderful. She had an unschooled daughter, then about 12 and blossoming into a really neat kid. A week later my friend brought me "Dumbing Us Down," "Better Than School," "How Children Learn" and about 10 years worth of back-issues of "Growing Without Schooling." My wool got thoroughly dyed.
Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up
Now I'm trying to think where "unschooling" came into it for me. I had been reading about homeschooling for a long time. I often picked up nannying jobs in the 1990's, and I found that Home Education magazine helped me immensely. I know that is where I decided that I would homeschool my future kids, and I'm sure that's where I learned about unschooling, I just don't know the progression. I know I hadn't heard of radical unschooling until well into the next decade.
Anyway, not sure the origins of my knowledge of unschooling. For years, though, just before dd1 was born, I became enamored of Waldorf, and read some great books on Waldorf and especially Waldorf kindergarten that were very child-led and beautiful (Waldorf education really is beautiful, isn't it?) I had 3 Aikido students who attended the local Waldorf school, and I loved all the stories and crafts. Anyhow, when I was still pregnant with dd2 (oldest was 18 months) I was looking to become a Waldorf teacher. I visited our local school's kindergarten and it was beautiful and it was....school. It hit me like a ton of bricks, and I went home that day, thoroughly convinced that I was going to be an unschooler. The fire was relit and I never looked back.
Now I'm curious where unschooling came into it though.
"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."
For me, I'm sure it came into play when I was in high school and asking to be homeschooled. I really just assumed that homeschooling was self-led learning, because I knew I was really good at learning things on my own and following my interests. I felt like school was distracting me from learning!
Anyway, I wasn't allowed to home school but I did some literacy training in high school and I also took care of children in high school and college, and studied literacy again in college.
After college I was nannying and really got more into literacy and natural parenting. There I somehow stumbled into the movement that is unschooling and I thought, well that's totally natural and what I always assumed homeschooling was anyway.
I'm not sure if I took care of any unschoolers until after my first daughter was born, but I think I was already an unschooler in philosophy. I had been in the company of and influenced by other unschoolers and had been in the homeschool community for a couple of years before I had my first.
Deschooling though, was something else altogether. Feeling a natural affinity to unschooling long before having my first, didn't really make me a natural at the actual "process", if you could call it that.