During the early months of unschooling, I read as many books, articles, and blogs about unschooling and learning as I could find. Although I knew from first discovery via John Holt’s writings that unschooling made sense for my family, I knew only one family who embraced the philosophy. I sought guidance and a sense of belonging from the personal stories of others.
After ten years of my own experience with the unschooling lifestyle, I continue to read considerably more than I write about unschooling and natural learning. This steady stream of insights and experiences shared by other unschooling families has proven uplifting and inspirational along this unconventional journey. Below are some of my favorite posts and essays about the relationship between unschooling and wholeness.
Unschooling for Wholeness & Happiness
In one of my own blog posts about my deeper reasons for unschooling, I said: Unschooling is just a convenient way of saying I care about, respect, and truly acknowledge that my child is her own person. In other words, unschooling is about much more than how I might help my kids get an education. It’s about providing the relationship and environment to protect and support their wholeness and safety.
That’s why Eli Gerzon’s essay, “On the Importance of Whole Soul Safety or the Real Reason to Rise-Out of School,” is one of my favorites. He wrote about his experience of putting up shields before entering school, and the importance of protecting oneself from this harmful experience for the good of others and the world.
Gerzon said that school “draws out your life-force.” In other words, the school system provides a systematic assault teaching children to deny their own needs. According to Jean Liefloff, author of The Continuum Concept, this denial of basic instinctual needs begins much earlier. Richard Adrian Reese at What is Sustainable wrote a good review of The Continuum Concept.
I read The Continuum Concept during my first pregnancy and it was powerfully in my mind during the early parenting years. It brings to mind the post, “To the Woman at the Shops with the Weeping Babe,” by Janet Fraser. If you agree that unschooling is about wholeness, you’ll understand why I include writings on love, respect, and compassion for everyone. Fraser’s “industrialised parenting” and “the slow whittling away of your instincts” applies to other impersonal systems in this culture (medicalized birth, methodical child-rearing, schooling).
Unschooling for Practicality
To bring the topic back to unschooling on a practical level, “Unschooling Skills in the Adult World,” by Kate at Skipping School, who wrote: “as unschoolers, the skills we acquired weren’t just different from the ones kids in school earned, they were completely practical.”
I’ve continued to follow the unschooling path because I love my life too much to give it to someone else. Likewise, my children’s lives are their own. This is wholeness and happiness.