Free Rein (not "free reign")

Sometimes unschoolers write about giving their children "free reign." There are two problems with that. It's not a good idea, and using the wrong phrase means they don't understand the meaning of what they're trying to say.

Instead of making that point every time, I figured I would make a page so I could leave a link, in future. I've probably explained it half a dozen times. (If I find the older ones I might bring them, too).

March 2015:
"Free reign" is not correct. "Free rein" is the phrase. It does make a difference.

Reining a horse is guiding, directing. Letting a horse have "free rein" is usually done just when home is near and the horse is already going to go where you wanted him to go anyway. So even then, it's not a great analogy. It's not "reign." It's not about being the king of everything.

February 2015:
-=-free reign and choice-=-
Options. You want to give them options.

The term is "free rein." It has to do with letting a horse have his head, letting the horse decide which way to go. There's still a rider, but the rider isn't reining the horse this way or that.

If you think it's "reign" (as in the tenure of a king), you can't think as clearly about what you're saying, or what you're thinking (or what you're repeating without really understanding it).

Children don't need free anything. "Freedom" is a problematic concept, for unschoolers.

Children need choices and options.

from Always Learning
I didn't correct it this time, just commented:
September 28, 2009
-=- even when I allow them 'free reign' the older ones will not usually 'take turns?' -=-
If "free rein" isn't the norm, then a horse will likely take off to places he's never been able to see or go. If he's been able to explore and sniff and taste and find his own shade, "free rein" won't be so extreme.
from Always Learning

Thinking about choices Clarity Phrases

Why "freedom" isn't the best goal for unschoolers