Sometimes other homeschoolers will say unschooling is the easy way out, the lazy thing to do. One day Pam Sorooshian responded:
Unschooling is really impossible to confuse with being lazy. It takes a
lot of time and energy and thought on the part of the parent. Now, for
some people, it is SO fun that it seems easy—just like anything
else, when you're loving what you're doing, it doesn't seem like work.
But it really does take a lot of time and devotion and focus. The
parent needs to really think about the child. A LOT. The parent needs to
bring interesting things and ideas and experiences to the child and this
means being always on the lookout for what the child might enjoy. It
means becoming super aware of your child—not only getting a good sense
of what might interest him or her, but how does h/she express that
interest and what is the best way for you to offer new and potentially
interesting ideas, experiences, and things. The parent needs to consider
when and how to support the child in further pursuing a current interest
and when the child might be more interested in moving on to something
else. The parent needs to be aware of when the child needs someone to
talk to and be with and interact with and when the child needs more
solitary time to think and pursue an interest on his/her own. The parent
needs to get a sense of when the kid needs a more active social life and
when he needs to meet some new people or when he needs help in staying
connected with old friends.
The parent needs to be so aware of the child that the parent
automatically thinks of him/her and partially sees the world through
This is all a tall order. Overly self-centered people can't do it
because it requires a lot of empathy. People with too many personal
problems that they haven't addressed in their own lives probably can't
do it because they are too distracted by those. People who are too
negative or cynical can't do it because they tend to crush interest and
joy, not build it up. People who lack curiosity and a certain amount of
gusto for life can't really do it.
On the other hand, we grow into it. Turns out that we parents learn, too. So—when we are making moves, taking steps, in the direction of
unschooling, turns out the trail starts to open up in front of us and we
get more and more sure-footed as we travel the unschooling path.
My suggestion is that you ask yourself really honestly, is there
something more I could be doing for my child that would enhance my
child's life? If the answer is yes, then make the choice to do it. Then
ask this question of yourself again and again and, each time, make the
life-enriching choice. Apply this to small things and to big momentous
decisions. Small things—could I make something for dinner that would be special and interesting? Did I see a cool rock on the ground outside—could I bring it in and wash it and set it on the table for others to notice. Big things—would my child enjoy traveling? Can we take a family vacation that involves exploring things my child would find interesting?
In unschooling, "lazy" means not thinking about enriching and enhancing
your child's life. You change this by doing it—one choice at a time.