I used to think that too!!
And I still act like I think it. For many people it's true, and those are my target audience, and honored guests.
It turns out some are there because they're superstitious. Some are emotionally needy (not a crime). Some are mean and want to cause trouble for fun.
The superstitious ones think there is magic in touching a statue or a medal, or in "joining" an unschooling group. It's like touching holy water and thinking that's the same as being a good Catholic; like buying a prayer shawl, and thinking it's the same as praying and studying; like owning a statue of Buddha and thinking that makes them a Buddhist nun.
I'm not religious. The analogies don't mean this is a religion. It means there is a depth of understanding, and a practice of many years, that make unschooling work well. Joining a group, or subscribing to a magazine, or going to a conference (or a dozen conferences) isn't what it's about. Unschooling lives (is alive; breathes; functions) where the learning is happening. The learning is supported and fed by the relationships between the parents and children.
If I have a big woodpile, I don't have a fire. Even if I have a fireplace and matches and bellows and kindling and firestarters and a fire extinguisher and the chimney was just cleaned and inspected and I have a paper saying "good to go," I don't have a fire. Would wrought-iron fire tools on a cool rack help? What about a stained-glass fireplace screen, so no sparks can get out on the floor? I could subscribe to magazines for fireplace owners. I could join a yahoo group and a facebook page to talk about fires. I could be receiving catalogs with all kinds of fancy flameproof rugs and indoor wood racks and really cool slings for carrying wood in, and Ooh! What about a beautiful mantle?
Still no fire.
Meanwhile, the neighbors might have build a real, operating fire, in a little hole they dug and lined with scrap bricks or rocks, with wood they found in a vacant lot, and kindled it with old receipts and fast-food wrappers they found blown into the alley. Their fire has heat, their fire has light; if they're sitting around it talking and laughing, they have the benefit of the fire.
Some people want to look like they're interested and that they intend to hone their skills, but they don't actually want to do it, if it's going to involve any real combustion or change in them.
First of nine comments, at Always Learning, then
The tiniest bonfire (a link)
Memories of a campfire
Stories of changing in good ways
(seeing what really is, and expressing it directly)
—deeper understandings, discovered and described
Becoming an Unschooler
How unschooling is like recovery