"It Depends"—thoughts on choice making
Someone wrote:
I have had so many doubts, or moments where I just don't know what to do. I've felt at times like I should be able to find mutually happy-making solutions to conflicts, but I can't always.
I/Sandra responded:
If you've adopted a set of principles and priorities, it will make decisionmaking easier. And I don't mean to choose your five and write them down. I mean to consider what's important in a situation when you're making a decision. And those things can vary.

If it's 11:00 at night and a child wants to do something that's outside the house or noisy, the idea of quiet time and consideration for others who are sleeping should take precedence, for sure.

All other things being equal, for me I decided in favor of something new and different, over something same-old, when there was a draw about which thing to do or which way to go. I decided to take the "more learning" path, if some kids wanted that and some wanted to just do nothing. (Of course the first option might be to only take the kids who want to do the cool new thing, if there's a place to leave the other one(s) but that isn't always the best option anyway.)

It depends.

It's hard to explain unschooling, partly because the best answers are "it depends," followed by questions for the parents to consider while they're making their decisions.

It depends on time available, time of day, safety, resources, the effect on other people, need for food or rest, and other factors I can't think of right now. :-)

Some days a certain request would be just perfectly WONDERful to do/pursue, and the same request on another day might be a total flat-out "no" (Or a "maybe later, but not during a funeral," or whatever it is).

Getting unschooling is a process. There will be more to get once you're comfortable with the new understandings and behaviors.


from a discussion at Always Learning called I think I've got it!", in November 2010

Don't make a rule for yourself. Sometimes maybe you could say "just a little bit." Sometimes (depending on what the symptoms are and what you're about to go an do) say "it's not a good time, because we're about to get in the car," or "It's not a good time, because we all really need to go to sleep quietly now" (because you're in someone else's house that night with early-morning plans).

All decisions should be made that way, with the particulars of the moment in mind. Who else will be inconvenienced? Maybe nobody. Maybe lots. How much "recovery time" do you have? Maybe lots. Maybe you're home with nothing planned on a calm day and it would be a fine time to see whether the problem is worse than before or maybe has gone away. Kids do grow out of such things sometimes (and older people can grow into them :-) )


from" a discussion at Radical Unschooling info, on food options in April 2013.

Choices Principles Misconceptions