There is a really, REALLY common worry about unschooling – “My kid only likes one thing, and he won’t do anything but that if I don’t push him to do other things”. Usually it’s video games, TV or Yu-Gi-Oh. But sometimes it’s skateboarding or reading or drawing…..
Among unschoolers/life learners/whatever, there are many answers to this. My answer is this – then push him! Jeez. Pushing kids to do things doesn’t mean we’re forcing them to learn, or expect them to perform for us or even expecting them to like it. There’s a cool movie, or an art festival or a interesting class, or whatever… there’s nothing wrong or un-unschooly with trying to convince a child to go.
Unschoolers don’t just sit back and go, “whatever”. We are engaged, fully, completely and wholly engaged with our kids. All kinds of homeschoolers are. But unschooling gets this rap for being “hands off” when it’s very much the opposite.
Communication is the key to learning as a family. Communication is how we know if what we are doing is working. Kids can communicate surprisingly well what they need if we are willing to sit down with them and listen to what they have to say.
Homeschooling and parenting are not about parents deciding what happens and kids follow. At, they shouldn’t be in my opinion. They are co-operative efforts. Even unschooling parents have needs, and are allowed to speak up about those needs. For example, we could say, “These are the needs I have as a parent – I need to be with you and spend time with you doing things. I like to see you learning new things and I like seeing you stretch your brain. Do you like these things too? How can we do this? How can we make our days so that you get the computer time you want, but I also get the family time I crave and I get to see you do other things?”