Sandra Dodd

Sorry to start a new topic, but I couldn't find the right spot to put
this. It's about the idea of "starting late." I've put a new page
and a new index page (with just a few links so far) here:

The assumption of most unschooling discussions is that it's something
parents do when they decide to pull a child or a family of children
out of school. I know I'm an exception, having started before "school
age" with many of the principles that became common in "radical
unschooling." There's so much online now that someone can come by and
think "OH, I can do better than that..." and declare herself
retroactively to have been unschooling for four years, because her
child is four and still not in school.

Any person who takes ANY advice has a responsibility to be careful
who's giving it and why.

The vast majority of unschoolers whose kids are now teens started at
some point after the child was five or six. So the questions will be
about the family's ability to change course, and to adapt to new
ideas. One parent cannot decide that unilaterally. It needs to be
carefully considered. Then the balancing problem becomes how quickly
and how much time for gradual change?

There isn't a formula, past the deschooling formula which existed when
I came around years ago, at one month per year of schooling (or
schoolishness, the unschoolers added later, because if people go from
school to school at home, that's not the kind of deschooling that
unschooling needs).

Some people seem to think unschooling is something the kids will do on
their own if they're brought home, and the parents continue to live
their own lives, and the kids are expected to "direct their own
education." I've never liked that term. It sends people in the wrong
direction. It is "getting cold," to think of "child led" whatever,
or of children "being in charge" of their own learning.

If parents are unwilling to attempt to become expert enough in how
unschooling works to get it to work WELL at their own home, then they
should really leave their kids in school. Bringing kids out of school
doesn't magically create an unschooling environment. By "expert
enough" I don't mean enough to charge other people money to advise
them. I mean expert in the sense that one can be a good unschooling
parent even if awakened in the middle of the night, or on a day when
the mom is sick, or the car doesn't run and you're low on groceries.

When the parents get to the point that they ARE unschooling parents,
that they know how to make decisions that will help unschooling
thrive, then they can start to see the benefits. As long as they're
asking other people "now what?" they need to keep working on reading
and asking and trying little bits and seeing what makes things
better. At some point, though, they should be able to do it without
much hand-holding.

This list exists to help people get to the point that they have
confidence in their ability to make those kinds of little choices in
the smallest of moments.