Sandra Dodd

Pam posted this on the facebook group Radical Unschooling Info. It's too important to be frittered away there (no matter that the page has over 1000 members...)

I made a point like this the other day on one of my talks here at Life is Good. Parents need to connect with their families first and their friends second. Unschoolers should bond with their families. If other families like them, great, but choosing behaviors to impress other adults regardless of what the kids think about it isn't going to lead away from good partnerships rather than away from.

I think each family should come to understand unschooling well enough to do it in the absence of any other families. Some families are in isolation and end up doing that by default, but even those in the midst of other families should look at their own family as the primary unit.

Pam Sorooshian 11:21am May 26
I like the way you're thinking about this, Aimee. I especially like the idea of thinking of unschooling more as something we do rather than who we are. I'd add that many people seem to think about it as being a member of a group (tribe/community) and I think that often causes problems, too. For example, people get focused on trying to be part of the group, to fit it, to do what the other members of the group are doing, and so they are looking at the group rather than at their own particular and distinct family members.

I think of unschooling in three steps:

First, we start out with underlying thoughts and feelings - these are both intellectual and emotional and are the foundational ideas and beliefs we hold about the world, about the nature of humans, and about the purpose of life. Most of us keep working on this level for our entire lifetime, but at any one time we operate from whatever foundation we have in place right then.

Second, basic principles of learning are derived from or distilled from those foundational ideas and beliefs. Some really great minds have worked on this and sometimes (quite often, really) people adopt the principles worked out by someone else and treat them like rules (or even commandments). Instead, other people's principles can inspire and inform us as we come up with our own.

Third, we base our choices about how to behave and how to relate to each other on our basic principles.

I think of unschooling mostly as being the result of step 2 - the set of principles. We might get to that set from various different foundational ideas and beliefs and the principles can play out quite differently in step 3 in our individual families.

This is way too much to write about in a facebook message and I don't have time today to expand on it - but this discussion got me thinking in this direction and I have more to say about it - I think I'll be talking about this a whole lot more at the HSC Conference in August.

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