What does radical unschooling look like? Without rules is it complete anarchy?
In all aspects of parenting, there is a scale, unschooling is no different. Kim Constable, of The Sculpted Vegan, is a radical unschooler. This post is just a snippet of the amazing conversation we had about unschooling, plant-based living, big families, and online entrepreneurship. For the full interview, listen to the podcast here.
What does it look like to radically unschool? To allow your children to have free range and have no hard and fast rules?
- No Rules?
Without any hard fast rules, you treat your children more like you would treat a roommate. Instead of mandating rules you can have a conversation. You can express that you don’t like something and see if there is a way to work that works for everyone. How does this look in real life? Instead of saying, you must be home by 8pm you allow your children to come home late but ask them not to make too much noise as others may be sleeping and sleep is important.
“My kids get treated more like adults than the average child does because they learn cause and effect consequences very quickly because I treat them like I would treat you if we roomed together or like my husband, and so they learn very quickly how to navigate and negotiate because they’re not operating under a set of rules.”
- The Hardest Part About Unschooling
“The hardest part about un-schooling is truly coming to accept your child for who they are and not who you want them to be.” When your children come to understand that you’re not trying to control them, they resist your requests and advice less. They in turn, listen to you and trust what you have to say because they know it’s coming from a place of love instead of a place of control. This is the key shift to make when taking on radical unschooling or even a peaceful parenting approach instead of an authoritarian one.
- How to Handle Your Triggers
Kim found that once she learned how damaging yelling and punishments were she stopped. “When you understand in your body how damaging something is, you won’t choose it anymore.” So when it comes to the inevitable mess that will occur Kim reframes the situation. Instead of seeing it as a mess she chooses to see what is actually happening. Her child is getting her hands dirty, mixing, experimenting, all of which are aspects of learning.
- What do You do Without Restrictions?
When you restrict children they cannot learn to self-regulate. Kim’s approach is to try not to place any restrictions on her kids at all. Instead, she has a conversation with them. For example, at dinner time, the food was prepared and cooked but no one ate it. Instead of putting a restriction on eating Kim gathered her children and had a discussion about it. She explained that she was paying for the food and that it was a waste of food. Her children agreed that they would not have any big snacks after a certain point in time to ensure they would be hungry enough at dinner time to eat dinner. So while there aren’t any firm restrictions there are guidelines and boundaries but they are ones that make sense and that everyone has agreed to.
- Get Comfortable with “I Don’t Know”
Realizing you don’t have all the answers nor do you need to is one of the greatest freedoms you’ll find. When people ask Kim questions regarding her children’s futures she simply says “I don’t know” AND feels comfortable doing so. There’s an illusion in our culture that makes us believe that if we follow the paved path then we will know exactly how things will turn out for them. The reality is we don’t know, no one knows, there are no guarantees no matter which path you choose.
While Kim and I don’t agree on everything I loved this open and honest conversation we had (to hear the full interview which covers many more topics including getting help, listen here). Let’s keep these conversations going. We don’t have to agree on everything to have a heart to heart conversation. In fact, it’s these types of conversations in which we can validate each other and challenge each other to think differently as we open our minds to these alternative and conscious approaches to parenting.
I’d love to hear from you! Are you currently unschooling or homeschooling? Do you plan to? Why or why not? Please leave your comments below or over in our (free & awesome) FB community Love Parenting with Avital.
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