Saturday, February 7, 2009

An Unschooling Manifesto

Sometimes when I talk to people about my writing life I refer to Crooked Mile as an unschooling blog, even though I don't seem to write all that much here about unschooling, per se. I certainly don't offer much "how to unschool" advice, given that my own inclination toward kids is something akin to that of D.H. Lawrence, who suggested we "give them their dinners and leave them alone."

What I mean when I call this an unschooling blog is that I write as an unschooler. I write from a perspective outside the culture of modern schooling, a culture I see as a first step in the formal indoctrination of our kids into the destructive and dysfunctional worldview that author Daniel Quinn calls the culture of maximum harm, and author Derrick Jensen calls the culture of make believe.

I write because the process of unschooling, as well as my experiences in living easily enough near the margins of this culture, lead me to believe we can extract ourselves from the worst of what we as a civilization have wrought and begin to create pockets of rejuvenation right where we are, even as things seem everywhere to fall apart.

And I write because I think we can learn how to be free in part by raising free kids, and letting them teach us.

In that sense, then, everything in these pages is connected to unschooling.

For those of you who would like something a little more specific to the subject, I have news. This past week I uploaded the contents of my Big Writing Project to Lulu and am awaiting a review copy of my brand-spanking-new book to arrive in my mailbox. Since this is my first foray into Lulu-style self-publishing (I've always used the copy shop and -- in another lifetime -- a ditto machine), I don't know how long this final part of the process will take, but sometime within the next several weeks the book should be available for sale at Lulu and Amazon and from my new website, which is still under construction because I'm taking a turn at being lazy, as we're supposed to be this time of year.

The book is an unschooling manifesto, slim and succinct (the "Big" in Big Writing Project being a matter of perspective, not to mention a mental hurdle of disproportionate magnitude). I'll have more to share soon.

Meantime, to anyone looking for an unschooling blog that does give "how to unschool" advice -- and excellent advice, at that -- may I suggest a visit to Joyce Fetteroll at Joyfully Rejoycing. Pour a cup of coffee. Be prepared to stay for hours. It's that good.


  1. Your words are a balm to my soul. I didn't even know there were people out there with this kind of insights. It's so great to learn that there are - it brings tears into my eyes.

  2. Peggy: I had never heard of unschooling until I read your post. I checked out some of the links. What an interesting concept to apply to almost anything, not just children. I find myself saying "yes" to my grandchildren so much more than I ever did to my kids. But I guess that's reasonable, isn't it? It's certainly easier with grandkids. My time with them is so precious; I wish I had known that my time with my kids was just as precious.

  3. Thank you for your sweet email. I love these connections that have become possible amonh unschoolers in cyper-space. I've enjoyed your blog very much as well and hope to get to know you a bit more as well.

  4. @Anonymous: unschoolers are a small but fierce tribe. Thanks for commenting.

    @Mary: it's a great concept, isn't it -- to learn what one wants and needs to learn without force or coercion. I'm glad you're saying "yes" to your grandkids!

    @Becky: a kindred unschooling soul! Thanks for coming by.

  5. Wow, this is the first post on your blog that I've read, but I have a feeling I'm really going to like your blog! I'm an 18 year old long time unschooler, as well as a green anarchist who absolutely LOVES Jensen, and is currently reading Ishmael. When I saw unschooling and Derrick Jensen mentioned in the same post, I got pretty excited! :-P

  6. Idzie! I've read your blog (well, one of them!) So glad you found Crooked Mile. Yeah, Derrick and Daniel are the two great suns in my binary star system -- via negativa & via positiva, yin & yang... thanks for wandering over.


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