I started getting enthusiastic about the idea of unschooling when I was 16 or 17, and I actually met other unschoolers in real life for the first time when I was 17 and went to Not Back to School Camp. I think I expected everything to change instantly: that I’d magically become more outgoing and make a ton of new friends in one fell swoop, and I was a bit disappointed when that didn’t happen. But I did really like the atmosphere of camp, and I did make some new, tentative friendships. And as I continued to make my way into the unschooling community by going to a couple of conferences with my mother and sister, and going to Not Back to School Camp again the next year, I started realizing that, slowly but surely, I was making quite a few friends. I found myself keeping in touch with those friends, even though they lived far away, and gaining a hell of a lot of confidence along the way.
I learned that maybe I was someone worth being friends with, after all, and I learned that there were a lot of unschoolers I very much wanted to get to know better.
Now, the unschooling community isn’t the only one I feel I need in my life: I was rather surprised when I first started going to unschooling events by how non-radical many unschoolers are. I guess I’d assumed that because questioning the schooling system lead me to questioning so much else, that that would be the experience of others, as well. And it is! Just not as many others as maybe I’d first thought. This isn’t meant in any way as a criticism, just an honest reflection of my thoughts. Regardless, the people I choose to surround myself with now are unschoolers, anarchists, radicals, queers, hippies, pagans, and other odd folk. And I’m using “odd” here in the most complementary sense possible!
Everyone will feel pulled to find different communities, but all of us do need community.
It’s the finding of it that can be difficult.Read more at The Unschooler Experiment.