Peaceful Support Groups
and some reasons for their failure to become either
Description of a group that had seven members the first time I looked, and six the next day:
Welcoming Unschoolers is a social facebook group designed to create a warm and inviting space to discuss unschooling and the journey towards unschooling. Here, there are no experts, just opinions. Please share your experiences and ask questions. We treat each post with respect, kindness, and good manners - even if you totally disagree. There will be no arrogance, self-righteousness, or snark here. Please read this article to know how we define unschooling. http://www.johnholtgws.com/pat-farengas-blog/2013/3/19/the-legacy-of-john-holt
It seems snarky to me. And some of the posts I saw before it was made a closed group the next day were complaining that more experienced unschoolers were advising someone whose children weren't yet school-aged about reading some standard, peaceful unschooling webpages. They were supposed to just say "good job, you'll get there" or something. Here's how I know that. The exchange that led me to that group (name removed, and I already don't remember it):
Someone, in a message to me July 17, 2015:
Hey Sandra! I have recently become a moderator of a group that I'd love to promote. We feel it will provide something for your members that will be separate from what you provide, and therefore will not steal your membership. We are looking to create a group that is more about support. A "you've got this" kind of page and less about the technicalities of unschooling. I was wondering if you'd mind if I shared a bit of information about my group on your Radical Unschooling Info page? Thanks!
Me, writing from the bed, so not very well (I cleared up the typos for this page, after I forgot who had written to me):
That someone's response:
If someone doesn't have it and you cheer them on, it's a disservice
Over the years several people have started a group like that and they've all become a problem, before the person who founded it closed it
Well, just because others have failed doesn't mean you shouldn't try. You can cheer people on for baby steps, while making it clear they're not quite unschooling. Regardless, knowing your opinion of it, I will not share on your page. Thanks for your time
When I looked, she was not a moderator of the group (description above) but she was the next day and the group was closed (more private).
There was an implication that I don't cheer people on. I'm sure this website and Just Add Light and Stir and other things I have done for over twenty years have cheered some people on.
The premise that the 6,000+ people on Radical Unschooling Info needed to join a nicer group (with seven members, that already was failing to be nice) was a little irritating, but I'm glad she asked first.
Years ago there was a group formed on yahoogroups specifically to try to get people who were trying to join a group Joyce Fetteroll owned (and Pam Sorooshian and I were the other moderators). Our group was UnschoolingDiscussion. They (I don't remember who it was anymore) created one called UnschoolingDiscussions, and part of the description was
Click the text to see the rest, in an image file.
Courteous forum for open intellectual discusion of unschooled home education: definition, principles and practicies. ...
Pajama'd emperors won't be parading here, and we'll be hoping to gently sort items into what "is" or "is not" a component of unschooling (home school = home education).
If, due to your faith or questioning of unschool authorities and/or resident unschooling experts, you have been bleeped off "that other list" (whichever list that may have been), welcome!...
The group was busy for a little over a year, 2004 and 2005, but much of the discussion was vitriolic complaints about the Unschooling Discussion group.
There have been other people who created groups thinking there wasn't much to giving the same kinds of information as Always Learning, Unschooling Discussion, or Radical Unschooling Info, but just always being sweet, and nice, and "supportive." The groups don't last, though. It's not easy, and "support" falls into chaos and frustration and the owners of the group don't want to keep the groups up.
Some commentary from the very supportive Just Add Light and Stir
Helping other people understand unschooling isn't easy. It can take months or years for people to get it. For natural learning to flourish with themthey need to change the way they act and even the way they see learning and education. In discussions and on message boards and at conferences, people's thinking can seem to have been criticized, and some object. They want the speakers or writers to soften up, ease up, "support them." There's a difference between supporting changing in order to better understand unschooling, and the vanilla "support" that women can become accustomed to. Nice noise and soothing words of praise are what many people think of as "support."
photo by Sandra Dodd
Today I'm quoting Joyce Fetteroll:
If a parent has found something that works for their family without understanding why it worked and how much personality played in it, then for others it's little better than rolling dice and picking some technique at random.
On the other hand, those who are living examined lives. thinking about and discussing why something works in the context of growing relationships, that's way better than dice! And no one should swallow what's said uncritically. They should take it in, turn it over, ask questions and examine it for themselves.
Critical examination is better for reaching clear goals than pretty sentiments of "following the heart" and "mom knows best."
photo by Sandra Dodd
A collection of bad ideas: "Support"
A collection of good ideas: my Joyce page
A nebulous, crawling support group:|
A supportive chain letter:
I Nominate you for the Most loving and prettiest Mom Award. You must send to 12 moms and make their day. I'm also waiting![ Sometimes u just need to hear it ... You're a beautiful mom,doing a great job and you're so loved!
Hit 12 moms who put their kids first am going to bop you!!!! I start with you. ....Dear God, the sweet woman reading this is kind, beautiful and amazing. Please help her live life to the fullest and bless her in all she does!
Now, you're on the clock⌚️⏰?. In 9 minutes something will make you happy. Please share this with 15 girls you love. Remember,only for ladies. If I don't get this back I'm obviously not a close friend.
Once you read this, you have to send it to 15. . It's not that hard. Whoever sent this to you must care about you.
Don't know how to send it? Lol. Just hold your finger on it and it should say forward you!
Received by messenger, on facebook, March 3, 2015. It was all one paragraph. I didn't send it on, but brought it here, as an example of meaningless "support."
The problem with "support"
What support from strangers looks like
Lots of real help and support to learn and change