Unschooling and Sudbury Schools
I have always been an unschooler but I helped found the Maui Sudbury School which, I think you will agree, is basically unschooling in a group setting. Here is the list of beliefs about education that we came up with over 20 years ago. I think they stand the test of time pretty darned well.
0. That people and Life are basically good, that the universe is guided by an all-pervading Love and Intelligence.
1. That children can be trusted to make their own decisions about such things as how to spend their time and with whom to associate.
2. That the right time for a child to learn something is when s/he initiates it, even if this is much earlier or much later than most children learn that thing.
3. That character traits such as integrity, love, compassion, kindness, friendliness, humility, sense of humor, appreciation of beauty, and cooperation are at least as important to education, if not more important than intellectual skills such as reading, writing and math.
4. That play and joy are two of the characteristics of learning, even if we are unable to see for ourselves what is being learned.
5. That there are no failures, there are only unexpected and perhaps previously unwanted outcomes from which we can learn, and that children should not be protected from these learning opportunities.
6. That each child is unique and has his/her own purpose in life and that our greatest gift to that child is to allow him/her to discover his/her inner guides and goals.
7. That no purpose or path of life is any better than any other, so long as it comes from the Higher Self within. Thus my child may be a “butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker” or anything else and I will support and love him/her unconditionally.
8. That there is no hierarchy among individuals and their gifts — each is precious and appreciated and is his/her own authority.
9. That some of my most cherished beliefs may turn out to be untrue.
10. That Truth is more important than who is right; and that others can help me to see beyond my own view of things.
11. That my family will carry its own weight and then some in making school thrive.
(Our son and I participated as unschoolers — showing up when we wanted and leaving when we wanted. The school eventually closed because it was difficult to find parents here who could or would pay for a “school” where kids did whatever they wanted to do.)