As a Parent & Teacher Educator, I try to stay informed about the latest research, methods, and movements affecting the culture. So, I picked up a book recently at Half Price books about "Radical Unschooling". It's an easy read and I was able to read it cover to cover in about a day and a half thanks to shelter-in-place orders providing a bit more down time for us all.
The "unschooling" movement isn't new. In fact, its been around nearly fifty years now, but it has morphed and changed like a sentence in a game of telephone and there's not really a one-size-fits-all approach, but rather a collection of beliefs parents could take or leave based on what works for their family. I found myself cringing quite a bit during the read and this tends to be common for me when someone with ZERO background in child development, psychology, or education deems themself worthy of educating the masses on what's right for children and society. I feel the same about Rachel Hollis (insert puke emoji), most pop culture "psychologists", and definitely the "Moms on Call" movement because there's no research to back up their theories and claims and...there are children involved, people! LOL
"If you invite me to an anti-war rally, I will not attend, but invite me to a peace rally and I will" -Mother Teresa
In the spirit of focusing on the positive though, I'll share what I support, rather than what I'm against (to start, lol).
1. Connection and Acceptance
In all my workshops I teach "connection before correction". Validate your child's feelings, ackbowledge what their goal or unmet need was, and then kindly, lovingly redirect towards a more appropriate choice.
2. Following your child's passions
Learning should be child led, child directed. A child who loves soldiers, guns, handcuffs isn't necessarily going to grow up to be a murderer, but perhaps finds joy in being a leader, standing up for others, and finds strength in righting wrongs. Their passions are intrinsically motovated and a part of who they are naturally. Grant in fantasy what you can't grant in reality and allow safe, loving, exploration of ALL sides of self.
3. Trusting your childs abilities
Just like you trusted your child to crawl, walk, speak, and feed self, trust they will learn as they are developmentally ready. Information should never be forced on a child, but we should aim to expose them to things and provide rich sensory experiences so that the brain can grow and take in concepts as it is prepared to do so.
4. Consult, don't control your children
Old ways of parenting reinforced the idea we must control our children, but radical unschooling is similar in its approach to No Drama Discipline, Love and Logic, and Conscious Parenting, in that we are meant to be loving, guiding consultants, not drill sargeants or demand certain words and behaviors. Modeling how to be a good human and trusting they will follow suit naturally, but redirecting them towards appropriate behaviors and choices with love is the best way to help them maintain dignity, self-esteem, independence, and grow into trusting, well adjusted, secure adults.
What I can not buy into though is letting kids have as much screen time and video game time as they want, letting thme choose their own foods and eating habits, or letting them decide bed time. It's not developmentally appropriate to allow a child to choose things that can negatively affect brain development and physical health. Kids need structure and boundaries to learn what is good for thm and what is not and to know the caregivers in their lives have their best interests at heart.
Read up on it, check out the websites and blogs and give me your thoughts! I always love to hear what y'all think about these things and what worked, or didn't work, for your family.
Parenting expert, blogger, inventor, single mom to twins, barefoot nomad, adventure seeker, boho spirit, advocate of play