Found this on one of my many yahoo group message boards… Resonates with me deeply… something I strive for each day of our lives together.
Danielle Conger wrote:
I think this is a common misconception, especially for those new to RU–even the name “radical” unschoolers seems to point to the idea that we’re so radical because we not only let our kids do what ever they want with regard to education but that we’ve also thrown out all rules and limits and let them do whatever they want to do in all areas of life.I think the problem with that, besides the fact that no one gets to do whatever they want to do, is that it creates real potential for failure in family life, especially if it comes after strict control like a pendulum swing. Then, with the ensuing chaos and lack of consideration, parents throw up their hands and blame the crazy radical unschooling.Personally, the terms I find more closely allied with what we do in our family are autonomy and organic learning. We’re really not”radical” people–well, yeah we are in some ways, but we’re probably more flaky than anything else. *bwg* Both of those terms–autonomy and organic learning–seem to more accurately reflect the gentleness and free-form nature of how we interact. While we don’t do rules, we do have personal limits and boundaries and preferences- -*all* of us,including the kids–and those are constantly being articulated,negotiated and renegotiated during our lives with each other. As one of our limits bumps up against another’s desire, we have the opportunity for learning and growing–learning about each other,ourselves, communicating, stretching, thinking, problem-solving. That,to me, is one of the biggest differences between living a life with rules and living a life that respects each individual’s autonomy.Sometimes, when one person bumps up against another’s personal boundaries really hard, then the reaction can be just as dramatic.Certainly that’s no one’s goal, but it occasionally happens, just as it occasionally happens with a spouse or roommate or someone else with whom we live in close proximity. Even these moments, however, are opportunities to learn and grow. Maybe the person really crossed a line and the intensity of the reaction gives them opportunity to reflect and consider in a safe space; maybe the person who reacted was reacting to more than the immediate situation–past situations or issues perhaps bubbled to the surface, giving that person opportunity to dig back and process old issues. Communication, learning, growing, problem-solving, consideration,respect, autonomy, flexibility, trust…these are the words that describe our process, not “whatever.”