PS – Sarah, I was RIGHT where you are three years ago as I was reading all of the unschooling literature. We tend to fall into the radical unschooling category, so for us giving to our children is all about being generous with them with our time and our money. We give our kids spending money, not money earned, just money to save up to spend or to spend right away on something they need. So, granted, it is not just the getting stuff but the overall changes that have affected our boys so possitively. This entry was posted in Life learning, Life Learning Magazine, Unschooling and tagged authority, autonomy, expert on April 1, 2013 by Wendy.
Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. When my older two were younger I was just waiting for them to bring me something not realising just how involved you should be as a parent!
Unschooling is about a relationship dynamic more than it is about just giving into our kids.

So, for us, it was definitely not about giving our children every single thing they wanted. In its simplest definition unschooling is simply learning as life brings you opportunities, and without a forced schedule or curriculum.
They did not care and did not give and did not communicate respectfully because I did not demonstrate those things on so many levels. I do tend to get the children what I can, when I can, and sometimes worry that I’m not teaching them the value of things but actually I like your explanation!
That concerns me for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that I think it’s a poor example to our unschooling children if we want them to be autonomous learners.
Radical-ish unschooling and grace-based discipline are for me indistinguishable in the outworking.
When you get into radical unschooling, that’s when you begin to carry the philosophy over into other aspects of parenting. One was the officials who wrote and enforced the laws that affected homeschooling and unschooling (and those – like the truant officers and local school principals who didn’t have a clue about what the law actually said); they thought their authority gave them the right to frighten and control families.

And I believe it’s important that those in such roles use our power responsibly and respectfully – whether we’re parenting our own children or assisting other unschooling families. As parents, and when we share our knowledge of unschooling with others, let’s keep in mind the wonderful potential that the writer and activist Starhawk calls “power-with-others,” which she points out we can use to accomplish good things and to effect change through working together. Instead, it was a partnership with me (the more experienced partner) being as prepared as possible for what might happen, and the child being given both autonomy and a good opportunity to learn on her own (without being forced) that mom sometimes knows what she’s talking about.
I was able to apologize for past wrongs and talk gently with him and also explain how we just don’t always have the money to get him what he is wanting.

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