Wherever the misconception came from, the fact remains that it is quite common. And it is just so far from the truth! I think that people get so caught up in the perceived technicalities, the what an unschooler *does* and *doesn't*, *can* and *can't*, do, that the core of the philosophy and lifestyle, that of parents and children living and learning in freedom together, seems to be forgotten.
Because that is really what unschooling is all about, and what unschooling looks like: a family that actually likes each other exploring the world together. Emphasis on *together*. When I think of unschooling in my own family, I think of my mom finding an awesome book at a local used book sale, and saying "Idzie, I saw this book and thought you might be interested. It looks fascinating!". I think of an impromptu trip to the library because I asked my mom if we had any books on Medieval weapons, and it turns out (for some reason) that we didn't. I think of my mom calling me from the other end of the house, voice filled with both fascination and horror, because she wanted to read an article about GMOs to me. I also think of countless times when I searched her out to tell her about the intriguing characters and plot of whatever novel I was reading, or to bounce an idea off of her for an article I wanted to write, or to share a song I thought she'd like, or to read her an excerpt from a book on green anarchy or unschooling. Point being, learning in my family is a very involved thing (I used as examples things just between my mother and I, but I enthusiastically tell my dad interesting stuff as well, and my mum, sister, and I have the most fascinating conversations all the time!).
I'm not saying that *everything* is shared, because it isn't. For instance, Emi writes a ton of fiction, but she usually only lets her online role playing (not the RPG type role playing, but the writing back and forth, collaborative story writing type role-playing) buddies read it, and both my mom and I respect that as her choice, and don't try to bug her to let us read it. Even that though, is involved in that my mother cares about her writing, and happily listens to Emi telling her about the finer points of writing, her own writing journey, what she's discovering about English grammar as she learns a second language, etc. She just doesn't try and push my sister to do something she doesn't want to.
"Hands off" to me means ignoring kids. Saying "oh, they'll learn for themselves", then just going about your *adult lives* without making your kids a part of it at all, or very little. I see true unschooling, on the other hand, as a collaborative living process, where each family member shares interests, suggests activities (which the other family members can choose to participate in or not), shares cool articles and facts and internet links, and lets the appropriate person know when they come across something they might like (my mom has brought Emi home numerous books on Japanese history, language, poetry, etc., for her perusing pleasure).
Unschooling is nothing more complicated than living, and thus learning, with respect and freedom, together as a family. And although this often isn't *easy* (I know that my family has
These are just a few rambling thoughts, so please excuse the general, well, rambly-ness of it all! ;-)