"I adore the fact that the comments on this list are so geekishly brainy while still being full of enthusiasm for the joys of living with children, but not everyone will see that. It's okay, it's a big internet." —Meredith

notes on the
Always Learning List

For New Members of the Always Learning List

About posting to the list

This was the description from the list's inception in November 2001 to mid-July 2008.
Discussion for homeschooling fans of John Holt, whose books Learning All the Time, Never Too Late, and Teach your Own have made unschooling a sweet and viable option for thousands of families.

This is a moderated group, with trapdoors for the uncooperative. (Not moderated in the advance-approval way, but in the be-nice-to-play way.) It's an idea group and is intended to lean more toward pure unschooling than neutral, general homeschooling discussion—there are hundreds of general homeschooling discussions for newcomers. It's to focus more toward how people learn no matter where in the world they are, rather than on what's legal in any particular country or jurisdiction.

The reason I'm preserving it is that others in the past have changed list descriptions and then denied it was ever any other way. For me it seems the description is a kind of contract with the readers, and it shouldn't be changed easily.

Following a discussion on the list July 17th and 18th the intro was changed to:

How and why does unschooling work? What kind of parents and parenting does it take? What will help, and what will hinder?

This is a list for the examination of the philosophy of unschooling and attentive parenting and a place for sharing examined lives based on the principles underlying unschooling.

Always Learning will focus on how people learn no matter where in the world they are, rather than on what's legal in any particular country or jurisdiction.

This is a moderated group, with trapdoors for the uncooperative. (Not moderated in the advance-approval way, but in the be-nice-to-play way. New members' posts are moderated, and it's good to read several dozen posts before jumping in.)

If you've never read any John Holt, please do! Here's a bit: John Holt
His thoughts and writing are behind unschooling.

"I can honestly say that I've grown more as a person, parent and unschooler due to the discussions on this list than on any other list I've been on."
This and other feedback can be read here.

More on this list, and how it can and should work (for those interested in such technicalities)

And some feedback from 2014:

Our family of six is fairly new to unschooling and I want to say thank you for the amazing words of wisdom and experience that this group provides.

We have made many positive changes in our parenting style gradually over the past year thanks to 'reading,trying, waiting and watching'. Every time I read a posting I say "I would have never thought of that on my own". You all bring eye opening thoughts to every discussion and I appreciate it immensely! It helps me to question myself when I have a very silly 'rule' stuck in my head of how something 'should' be. It's funny how different the world can look, when you're not so restricted in your thoughts.

First of all, our kids (ages 3,6,9,10) are so much happier as unschoolers vs. when we tried 'homeschooling'. I love that my kids don't feel pressured anymore to learn curriculum that has to be 'learned by a certain time or else'. It is so freeing to sit with our kids laughing and watching their favorite t.v. shows, playing their favorite games online while skyping with friends while they talk to us about their interests, baking in the kitchen together, taking special moments to grab binoculars and look at birds or animals passing through our yard, taking car rides to a nearby train station so our youngest can smile when he watches trains pass by (he doesn't want to try a ride on a train just yet), and doing what we can to follow their interests. Our kids also like having choices for meals and are so happy and creative in their suggestions of what we should make and happy that we actually do make what they are suggesting!! They feel open and free to offer suggestions, which is something I adore. Our parents are amazed at how quickly and openly our kids offer amazing views or solutions to any situation. They are not afraid to become part of adult conversations. They are all happy, giggly, comical, and have an amazing sense of humor, I believe, because they feel free to do so!

The advice on this group to 'treat your children as if they were your guests' is just one example of how your words have planted such a life changing seed. 'Kindness and giving generously' to our children really does feel good-you're right! When I first started reading about unschooling, I did think 'wouldn't giving so much spoil a child?'. Now I totally see how that thought (among many other previous thoughts of mine) was so wrong. Our kids are so happy to give of themselves as well. They are happy, sweet kids. If they are frustrated about something, they openly communicate about it. All of these characteristics (happy, open, creative, humorous) are possible because they feel free and I never would have known about helping my kids to live freely if it weren't for this website, awesome contributors, and the Big Book of Unschooling :)

I still have plenty of areas to improve on. I love that I am moving forward and can do my best to make small changes. I have scrap pieces of paper with quotes and sayings from your website taped to my refrigerator. They are great reminders of where I want my mind to be. I'm going to buy Sandra's magnets...they are beautiful. Thank you for helping our family enjoy a closeness that is so sweet and priceless.

To Sandra and all other contributors, the amount of time that you spend helping others is so appreciated.


Click to read a bit about when yahoogroups announced that archives would be deleted
and we weren't sure the group could survive. History!