unschooling: the honest truth


I started writing Unschooling: The Honest Truth from kind of a low place. I felt like much of what I’d set out to do as an unschooler had flopped, failed. I realized I had three choices: 1.) stop writing about unschooling, 2.) make up some lies, or 3.) tell the truth.

Option #1 was tempting. Just don’t bring up unschooling any more. Maybe people will forget all about it.

Option #2 was even more tempting. Embellish the truth. The world is full of people doing big, great things in fabulous, beautiful ways and sharing (bragging) about it far and wide via the big wide twitterfied instagrammed internet. I do my share of it too. It’s way too easy.

But I made the honorable (dumb) decision to go with option #3. To tell people that most of the time we kind of suck. That most of the time I’m convinced I’ve ruined my kids’ lives.

That most of the time I feel like they haven’t learned a damn thing, and it’s all my fault.

I decided to write a series of essays—the good, the bad, and the humiliating—from our past few years of unschooling. Things we planned—and things we didn’t. Things we learned—and things we wish we hadn’t.

Lessons learned in unexpected places—like Hogwarts and Camp Half-Blood.

Things that surprised us. Ways we failed. Things that are hard. Things that are harder than hard. (And things even harder than that.)

I hoped to make some sense of our journey and this huge weight of emotional confusion.

But what I reeeeeallly hoped for was some kind of miracle where everything would be all better by the end. Where all our circumstances improved, life got easier, and I became Unschooling Mom of the Universe.

That was “true success” for me, and I just had to get over some obstacles, and my miracle would be waiting for me.

Except it wasn’t.


No, I didn’t stop second-guessing my decision to unschool. And, no, unschooling didn’t get easier. And no, I didn’t un-ruin my children’s lives. And, no, there are no puppies or unicorns or rainbow-laced epiphanies.

BUT. I did gain some perspective, seeing it all in writing.

It’s the most scary, most vulnerable book I’ve ever written. And I’d love for you to read it.


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