Don't let unschooling ruin your marriage

Peace, divorce, yachts, motorcycles...

I had warned against the danger of divorce if a mom tells a child she can eat whatever she wants and watch TV all day if the husband (by her own account) is saying it's wrong and bad and he doesn't want it and he thinks it's making the child unhappy.

I have been criticized by other unschooling advocates in the past for warning people that divorce is bad. Some of them think it's just a downer on a frolicking pro-unschooling rally. Some are divorced themselves, and don't want any reminders that it affects children for life. I understand both of those, but they're irresponsible.

When divorce comes to a family, all frolicking stops for a while, or longer.

So if a parent wants peace for her family, bringing unschooling in against the will of her husband is not the way to get peace. A peaceful divorce can end up with kids in school, sometimes not even next to where the mom lives. A hostile divorce can end up with a court order for the kids to be in school until an expensive appeal is filed someday. Any divorce opens life up for two new step parents, who have legal rights.

If two can't agree, four won't.

Yachts and motorcycles are fair analogies. Unschooling is a BIG deal, a big thing. Just as one parent can't go buy a yacht without the other's approval (without risking divorce, or bankruptcy), one shouldn't make an educational decision so big that it affects future income and the course of the next twelve years and more without the agreement of the other parent.

One parent would not take a child out of public school and put her in an expensive private school without the other parent's knowledge or agreement.

Some of these examples are relative to income, but say Marty, right now, childless, five years into a relationship, living with his girlfriend. They're being careful with their money, putting funding into retirement funds and savings (even though they're in their mid-20's—cool!). They're pooling some of their expenses. The lines are blurred. If Marty were to go out and buy THE most expensive motorcycle in town and bring it home, with the helmet and all the leather gear, and his girlfriend thought it was a horrible idea and they couldn't even nearly afford it, and it's dangerous, and she had no idea he was going to do that, might it not affect their relationship?

Now to that pretend scene, what if they were married?
Now add two children.

Some things seem obviously too big and dangerous (one way or another) to even THINK about doing unilaterally.

Unschooling should be one of them.


Photos are links.



Those photos are by Gail Higgins, Chrissy Florence, and Sandra Dodd

Those and other Just Add Light and Stir posts that mention marriage


Someone who has been married over half her life is in a different situation than someone who hasn't been married very long. That matters.

But no matter how long the relationship, people underestimate the changes that come when a baby is born. The mother is likely to change at a physical, at a biochemical, cellular level, if things go well. Some dads change a lot, too, if they're lucky.

The effect of adding a child to a relationship is nothing like a nice new car or all new furniture. Biologically, logistically, socially, philosophically, things are going to change.

The next biggest change in a family's life can be to decide to unschool. If a mom makes that decision on her own and the dad doesn't know what's happening, quite, the mom might be going too fast too far. That is a danger to the success of unschooling.

Because people come here to learn more about unschooling, I don't compromise on the idea that destroying a family in order to unschool is NOT the way to unschool well and longterm. Because it has happened that a mom's attachment to the idea of unschooling can affect her clarity and reason, any advice that could take moms off into dangerous territory will be questioned, in this group.

Unschooling might not look like a big deal when people are thinking "School? Curriculum? Unschooling?"

School or a curriculum can be picked up or put down. Unschooling, to succeed, needs to be lived, as a family.
original, July 2018, on Radical Unschooling Info


Partners Divorce (avoidance of) Peace of all kinds