The Unschooling Rule Book

The following is quoted from a response that Maisha Khalfani gave when a new unschooler asked for a definition of the conceptt:

Can I offer another perspective on what you are looking for?

Many of us come to unschooling wanting to “do it right”. We have been conditioned to find the right answer – in part from years of schooling. I don’t know you, but I can tell by the passion in your posts that you want so much to do better for your children than what was done for you. And you just don’t want to screw it up! I hear ya! So you need to know exactly what radical unschooling is so you will know exactly what to do and exactly what not to do so you don’t mess up the little ones who depend on you so much. Just for wanting that, you’re such a great mom.

You know, I started off the same way. I wanted the “rule” book because I didn’t really have a clue how to go about it all. And some days I still don’t. And that makes me feel very uncomfortable and frightened. Then I would come to this group and others and start comparing myself to the other moms and just see how much I needed to know how to “do” radical unschooling. I’m not saying you feel exactly this way, just sharing my perspective.

The truth is: there is no rule book for radical unschooling. It is about principles: respect, love, trust; the abstract stuff that we can’t define so much as feel. For someone like me who lives in my head, getting into my feelings has not (because I’m still on that road) been easy, and so understanding how the principles felt hasn’t always been easy.

I guess what I’m trying to say is: you’re going to get “it” wrong some days. None of us here is perfect. Radical unschooling is as much about you learning to respect, love, and trust yourself as it is you doing it for your kids.

Okay – for the ‘definition’ stuff: radical unschooling looks like that day (pick one from your memory) when you felt at ease and care free. When you were relaxed and you just had this inner knowing that all was well. It looks like that day when your child had a “moment” and you responded with love and compassion, and it felt good. Radical unschooling looks like you saying ‘yes’ more to your child. Not because you ‘have to’ do it, but because you want to do it. It feels like the first day of spring, Christmas Eve, or a birthday. It feels like the first time your child smiled at you, or curled their finger around yours.

Well…this is all just my perspective of what it looks/feels like. For you, it might be different.

Maisha Khalfani

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