By Leo Babauta
One of the beautiful things about unschooling is that the parents learn alongside their children.
This is truly amazing.
Consider this: in school, kids learn stuff, and the parents don't know anything about it for the most part (apart from a summary from the kid or teacher). The kid also just learns the material, not so much how to learn. And parents don't really learn how their kid learns either.
But with unschooling, it's a huge learning experiment that the kid and parent are doing together. There's no one to say, "This is what you need to learn, and this is how you'll do it." So as a result, the kid and parent have to figure these things out together.
It's a huge challenge. No one knows what you should learn, how much to learn, or the best methods for learning. No one. Not even the experts. Because this is something we're still learning about as humans, but it's also something that is highly individual.
And even if there was a "best way", is it better to learn that "best way" through a book, or through exploring and experimenting and figuring out on your own? I submit that you learn way, way more by figuring it out on your own.
That means you try things out and fail. It means you're never really sure you're doing the right thing. It means you'll do it a few ways that are just "OK" for awhile. And then, maybe, things start to click. And then you know a ton more than you would have if someone just gave you The Way.
Kids also learn by watching you learn, so as you learn about learning, they're learning about learning from your learning. And you're also learning, not just about learning, but about the things they're learning about. And you're learning about them. As they learn about you.
Crazy, right? There's a lot of learning going on, just from learning together.
Here's another thing: learning together, side by side, is way more fun than learning alone. It's a richer experience. You're learning to socialize too. You're spending time together and bonding. That's unbeatable.
There's really no other method that gives parents and kids this kind of benefit. If you're a parent with a kid who's in school (or who's not in school yet), you can experiment with it by doing it a little at a time. You can learn together, and from each other, and see if you love the Unschooling Way as much as I do.