Join our family of rabid unschoolers (frothing at the mouth) as we quit our day jobs, skip the country, and live, love and learn in the "real world"! Mom, Dad, two teens and a toddler traverse Thailand.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Live in Freedom, Live in Love

My kids live in freedom.  They learn what, and when, and how they want.  I don’t decide what “needs” to be learned, now, by a certain age, or by adulthood.  I respect my children’s autonomy the same way I respect my husband’s, or that or my friends.  My children don’t have bedtimes, or limits on television or video games, and they can eat whatever they want, whenever they want, in whatever amounts they want.  My teenagers don’t have curfews. I don’t know how to spell it out any more plainly--I am not in control of my children.  

This is one aspect of radical unschooling--complete freedom, both over one’s education AND over one’s own body and life choices.  But that can look awfully cold, if that is the only side of unschooling you see.  Freedom?  You mean you just abandon your kids?

So, on the flip side, my children also live in love.  Their passions and interests are supported wholly and enthusiastically by myself, my husband, and their father. I find articles, and classes, and books and programs and trips that I think would interest them, and I joyfully give them the information, without any expectations on my part as to whether it will be used.  They are accepted for who they are at any moment in their lives, exactly as they are.  My kids sleep with us until they are ready to move on, nurse as long as they wish to, and are able to choose the foods they want at every meal.  I help my kids when they need help, and they, in turn, help me when they see I need help.  I enjoy sharing books, or movies, or games, or tv shows with my kids--watching, discussing, imagining alternate scenarios--even into their adulthoods.  We laugh and cuddle and chat and discuss....I listen and handhold and support and love.

I do not control my children.  I love my children.


  1. You bring up an important observation here; the difference between love and control. I think so many people are scared of not being in control, but they don't realize that fear speaks through in all of their interactions with their kids. It's impossible to love someone unconditionally and still try to control their behavior.

  2. I love your last line, Lisa :) I think I'll steal it :)

  3. Dana,

    I think when people first hear of what your doing, they are taken back. Especially if they come from more conservative countries. But many countries apply this attitude as part of the culture. In japan, beer is sold in vending machines and not abused as in the US.

    As a parent and a person who has worked with teens his whole adult life, I agree with much of what you say. There is freedom, empowerment and love in letting your kids find their way. I have seen that in many urban, American children I have worked with. The most important thing to do is to love your children and lead by example, not by force.

    All the best to you and your family and enjoy Thailand!! We are a bit jealous, but someday soon!