Etiquette for Unschoolers
There isn't different etiquette for unschoolers, but there might be different ways and reasons for learning etiquette.
From a January 2013 discussion in which someone asked
"Is there more information available somewhere on introducing etiquette/manners?"
Step back from the idea of "introducing" and think about the ways and times you use different forms of courtesy. How does day-to-day courtesy differ from grocery-store courtesy? Party courtesy? Guest courtesy? Host(ess) courtesy? Your kids are learning about those things as they happen, and learning about them the way kids learn - playfully and immersively. They won't catch all the details right away, and that's okay - you can clue them in from time to time. If they've experienced plenty of courtesy, then giving them information they need will be part of their experience of courtesy - the friend who won't let you out of the ladies room with your skirt ruched up, that kind of courtesy.
Look for chances for your kids to experience different kinds of etiquette - not as lessons, but as a way for their worlds to be bigger and richer. Movies, games, books and comics can be rich sources - even if they're pure fantasy. I vividly recall watching Star Trek as a child and being fascinated by the fact that one needed a different kind of manners among Romulans or Klingons.
Don't look for rules. Look for principles. You want your children to fit in politely in situations they're about to find themselves in. There's no reason to coach them about how to act at a wedding unless they're about to go to one. Then there are LOTS of things they might need to know, depending on their age.
There are some ideas here:
An older discussion here:
I can't do a book, but I can do a chat.
This request came in last week, and such a topic was already on the
brain-stormed list of possible topics. 2014 update: I didn't save the name of the prerson who wrote the request below.
Would you now please take the time to write a book about why
unschoolers do not need to have their kids jumping on coffee tables in
other peoples' houses?! :) I actually think a whole book could be
written on why good manners and unschooling actually *do* go together
and what in the world are people thinking?!
So there was a chat on May 17, 2010, on etiquette. If a transcript was kept, I don't know where it is.
So I'm going to do another one January 15, 2014. Etiquette, Manners and Courtesy
I think kids with bad
manners have done some potential damage to the unschooling community.
I always see that you don't stand for "whatever the kids want to do is
lovely regardless of all manners or common sense," but when people
post that their kids were doing this or that bad mannered thing on
various lists and are then shocked that anyone said anything, as if
the kids are entitled to run around doing anything they want whether
appropriate to the situation or not, then I can sort of understand how
some people not used to any freedom on any level would imagine that
unschoolers *would* "mistreat animals, burn down the house playing with
matches..." :) In your book Holly says she can't imagine it, but I
think it's because you actually gave her useful information throughout
her life. She can't imagine it, because she wouldn't behave that
way. I can't imagine anything crazy happening with my kids either,
but honestly, I can imagine some crazy stuff in a couple cases I have
seen of people calling themselves unschoolers. That's sad, I think,
and it bugs me.
I do think sometimes that people don't realize that
having social graces and respect for other people and their things
goes just fine with having freedom and is not necessarily a bad
thing. Don't people say to their kids, "look, when we go places we
want to act so that people are happy to have us back again"?!! I
would truthfully be mortified if my kids went to someone's house and
jumped all over their stuff uninvited. Thinking it would have to be
me saying "get off the coffee table" rather than the homeowner,
otherwise I'd be
doubly, triply mortified :)
My thoughts for topics within that topic are:
Coaching and how to help kids learn etiquette and courtesies
Respect, growing and flowing
Etiquette Chat Transcript
- What's the difference in "etiquette," "manners" and "courtesy"?
- What principles are at play?
- What "manners" are important?
- Time and place—what's changeable and how can we consider that?