Though it cannot be guaranteed, one unexpected benefit of unschooling and of parenting peacefully seems to be that children get along better with siblings. Here are some stories of

Peaceful Sibling Relations

My name is Mary Beth and I have been a silent member of the group, but so enjoy all the nurturing family life stories. My four kids are ages 10-21 and get along very well together. They have common interests, such as Japanese anime, video games, and drawing and often spend time together. They share spaces and resources without a problem.

My oldest son saw my daughters listening to an iPod, each with one earplug, and went out and bought them a splitter so they could each have a full pair. He also provided them with a lot of music. And, he is teaching my daughter how to make a website. My two sons, 18 and 21, share friends and often go places together or make purchases of electronics together. I really love it when my 18yo son, 16yo daughter, and 10yo daughter retreat to the girls' rooms to listen to music and draw for the evening. Sometimes, my 10yo daughter will play videogames with her 18yo brother and they have a great time. My 16yo daughter and 10yo daughter share interest in ballet and will often talk ballet together or watch ballet videos or even practice together.

Sometimes, my husband and I will hear them all chatting and laughing together and my husband will laughingly say, "This has got to stop!" We have had strangers at restaurants tell us that they enjoy seeing how our kids get along together.

Just wanted to say that I attribute this all to being homeschooled as they have grown together instead of apart.

Mary Beth


Regarding the connection between home/unschooling and "sibling harmony" (as opposed to "rivalry")...

I just spent six weeks in Florida with my three boys (7, 9, 11). We stayed in relatively close quarters with my mother (83) and her 90 year-old partner, who is fairly conservative. Needless to say, I was a bit apprehensive about how all of this would go down (they'd never really seen our "unschooling life" up close).

Anyway, it was all fine. BUT they were absolutely blown away by (and kept commenting on) my boys' ability to get along, the fact that all three played together for hours, the relative absence of bickering, etc.

Then, we spent several days with friends in Orlando (more boys, more unschoolers) and again, the five kids just played so beautifully together and were consistently respectful of each other.

It seems to me that so much of what they're learning as unschoolers is the "true grit" of living: communication, interaction, observation, exploration, etc...and it shows!

Like you all were saying in the thread about hiring: "Gimme an unschooler any day!"


Chris in IA

I see this with my two who are 6-1/2 years apart in age.  Zach 15 and  Zoe 8 spend lots of time together most days. Zach reads long books  and entire series to Zoe, they play video-games together, peruse  Homestarrunner.com and even play imaginative role-playing games  together.  Sometimes, when sibling-friends come over, all four or  more of them will play elaborate imaginative games outdoors or video- games with lots of uproarious laughter for hours on end.   Occasionally, the younger kids will "put on  a play" for the  entertainment of the older ones.  Everyone is usually patient and  kind and generous.  It is so heartwarming.  I never imagined that my  kids would be such good friends but keeping their bond strong was one  of my motivations for homeschooling.

If I'd sent Zach to school, he would have started two months before  Zoe was born and they probably would never have grown to know and  care for each other like they do.

Chris in IA (Iowa; there was a link to a yahoogroup...)

Gail Higgins

I've been thinking lately about the camaraderie between  Brenna (16) and Logan (13).  We're in a new house and I can hear them  easier at night now when I've gone to bed.  They stay up later than I do  watching TV or playing games or just hanging out together. Many nights I wake up  not because the TV is too loud but because of the sound of their laughter. It's a comforting happy sound and a nice way to go to sleep.

Logan planned his 13th birthday party last week and the first person on his guest list was Brenna.  I didn't expect them to be such good friends when they were teens.  It's very cool.



Yesterday, Josh built a voice modulator from a kit, and he and Emily were playing with it. Rachel got frustrated because she really really thought it was cool and wanted a turn. She started off with whining and begging, and we kind of talked about how we liked to be asked for our stuff. So, she walked up and said "Josh, do you mind if I have a turn?" and he said sure. He handed it over and watched them and laughed a little about how funny they are (she was singing Domo Aragoto, mr roboto, while Emily did the robot dance). I bumped up against him and said, thanks bro, you're cool. He just kind of shrugged it off and said, I'll have plenty of time to play with it another day.

Today, Dan and I were playing with a shape-o ball, and and Sam kept racing to pick up the pieces. Dan got really upset, and was screaming. I reminded Dan to use words to tell people how we feel, and got Sam's attention (he's a little, hm, how to say? a little boy) and Dan said "It makes me mad when you play with those right now!". Sam said sorry, and handed the shapes over to Dan. Within minutes, they were both playing a game with the shapes, and played together without fighting for about 20 minutes, at which point Sam decided to go play video games with Emily. Then Dan handed the shapes over to Avari to play with while he plays sea creatures. Now I'm a shark and need to get offline ;-)

Mom to Josh (11), Breanna (8), Emily (7), Rachel (6), Sam (4), Dan (2), and Avari Rose

Parenting Peacefully Mindfulness

Sharing Other Sibling Issues

From outside the unschooling realm, consider this:
Siblings Without Rivalry, by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.