One of the factors that drew me to homeschooling rather than public schooling was that I thought learning should be fun. But only the unschoolers were focusing on fun and having positive relationships with their kids. Much of the other forums were devoted to how to make kids do their work, what products were best, what to do with younger kids while older ones did their work.
This got me thinking, Joyce. Because I found unschooling the same way, just looking for homeschooling information and discovered that the message boards where the unschoolers were talking were the ones that got my heart racing because they were so alive and sparkly with ideas and energy and fun and love of their children.
Some of my favorite memories from those times were when someone who was careful to identify with the structured side of town, as it were, would come over to the unschooling board with a really off-the-wall and interesting question of obscure nature. Each time, the person said something like, "I figured if anyone knew this it would be one of you." And the questions would be about history, usually, or a request for how something might be connected to something else, or how a child might be hooked up with an interesting mentor.
From unsolicited feedback in 2011 (click below there to read the whole letter, with the author's permission):
I started reading unschooling lists when my oldest son was a toddler. That guy will be 10 next month. It's all come true...the kindness, the respect, the sparkle. He's played on a baseball team this year for the first time (all of them public school kids--most of them extraordinarily delightful). One of the moms helps in the dug out, and told me the other day, "Sam is the most polite child! He's the kind of boy I want (my son) to hang around."
Choice vs. "Have To" Principles vs. Rules "Products" of Education