expectations expectations expectations assumptions expectations expectations expectations expectations



Expectations can get in the way of seeing what is really happening.

—Robyn Coburn



Someone asked in public:
Is there a time when a parent thinks, "This isn't working"? What is the marker of success or failure in unschooling?
Robyn Coburn responded:

If something is "going wrong" at my home, it is never because of Unschooling. It's usually because I'm doing something unhelpful—I'm caught up in wanting to be in control, I'm caught up in regretful thinking, I'm distracted by something, I've got PMS. Jayn is a really good marker of my emotional state.

Things that are problems at my home aren't about learning or academics. They are always in the broad arena of Jayn's behavior towards us. At no time do I ever think that schooling would be the solution. The solution is always contained in a box marked "More focused attention from Mum and Dad".

I suspect that any time a parent new to unschooling starts thinking "This isn't working" it is because they are holding on to an expectation.

Expectations can get in the way of seeing what is really happening.

When Jayn was newborn, James and I would do what I suspect many parents do, and wake up in the night to check that she was still breathing. She was so tiny and breathed so quietly that even sleeping next to her we couldn't always hear her, so we would put a hand on her to feel the movement as gently as possible to not disturb her. Eventually she grew bigger and older and we were able to let go of our anxiety and trust that she was breathing and get on with just appreciating how beautiful she was.

Coming to Unschooling is a bit like that. At first you may feel the need to check that your child is learning, so try to do it without disturbing her. Eventually—or probably quickly—it will become abundantly clear that she is learning and you can let go of that checking, and just appreciate her wonder.

I started saying something about long term investments paying off, but James called me on that idea, saying that looking at it in terms of payoffs isn't helpful. James says, if you must have a payoff, the payoff is that your child is allowed and enabled to become a passionate human being, happy in their life, happy with their freedom to choose and engage in their passion today.


Learning to See Differently Priorities Stages of Unschooling

Mindfulness in Unschooling Parenting Peacefully Unforeseen Benefits of Unschooling

Robyn Coburn, on dealing with children in bad moments

Choices rather than "Have To" Principles, not Rules Parenting Issues