In between neglect and control
I was asked a question by a new unschooler with another connection to me, and here's my last response:
** There's a group of moms [in that part of the world] who do a kind of splinter sect (as it were... "sect" is a bad word for it...) of unschooling, and they use the terms "consensual" a lot, and "autonomy." I bet their kids are fine, but the terms are problematical for the way I (and many who hang out with me) discuss it. So it's a philosophical difference. If you meet up with that group, please consider looking further afield for other information too, because I think part of what they're doing is defending some of the parenting practices that I have seen cause unschooling to fail in other families.
** Here's a piece of humor for you to consider. As with much humor, it's also dead-on for real.
** One phrase from that page is "Neglect disguised as freedom" and kind of in response to that occasional condition, that group. . .seems (to me, sometimes) to practice "Control disguised as consent."**
For people on this list who are new to those ideas, another link is
I think finding that balance is probably the hardest thing. It's easy to make an extreme charicature of "being an unschooler" rather than finding a way to live unschooling. Someone recently assured us she was "doing it," but having someone else say "that's it, you're balanced on that bicycle" is worthless if the bicycle falls over. There's doing, and there's being, and there's "it," and the reason this list exists and thrives is that those ideas (doing, being, "it") live in the realm of philosophy, of the examination of ideas, of the weeding out of error and fallacy.
Half of me says "bummer" and half of me says "cool!" and so at the balance point of those two, we continue to discuss unschooling.