Why I chose unschooling
So, back to the question? What brought you down this path?
I had a good childhood. I think my parents did the best they could with the knowledge they had. And did better, I think, than common parenting wisdom of the 50's would have had them do. They were pretty hands off in many areas. I watched lots of TV. Learned lots of things just by doing. It probably helped that I was a "good" kid so they probably had the sense that they shouldn't tamper with what was working ;-) I was grumpy as a teen but that's about the extent of my teen "rebellion" as far as I can recall.
I liked having learning all spread out for me at school so I could just absorb it without having to work too hard at it ;-) But I suspected that it didn't have to be so boringly presented. There had to be a way package up what was inherently interesting and present it to kids to learn from.
And being an introvert, and being able to now see what my life could have been like without the forced socialization everyday, I can see what a bad fit school was socially and emotionally. But I didn't question it. It's what everyone had to put up with. I just bucked up and did what I was supposed to do.
Being an engineer I'm attracted to very structured, goal oriented ways of learning. I'd love to have Calvert ;-) Everything you need to know in one box, spaced out over 12 intervals (or 9 intervals? Do Calvert users get summers off?) with a brand new fresh box each year. You could have a physical sense of having completed something and a sense of how much you had done.
So having that sense that there had to be better, more interesting ways to learn about a world that was interesting outside of school drew me to homeschooling. Fortunately I found AOL's old homeschooling boards where all homeschooling styles were represented. There was also a Christian forum. And Home Education Magazine too.) I read everything.
I started out with Calvert and other structured curriculums being my primary direction but I wanted to know about everything. The problem was that most of the curriculum and structured schooling posts dealt with what curriculum was best and how to get kids to do their work and what to do if they didn't want to. I didn't get much of a sense of joy.
I tried out Konos unit studies. Those posts dealt with the huge amount of prep-work involved, how to do it with more than one grade, and so on and so on. I even went so far as to buy it and as much as I love research and gathering stuff, I'm not much on follow through and actually implementing it and getting Kathryn excited enough about it to do it wasn't going to work for me. I'm not much of a salesperson so I just expected the material to be exciting enough that she'd want to do it. That wasn't happening and I knew I'd resent it if I spent a lot of time preparing and she said she'd rather do something else.
Eclectic sounded better but the huge volume of choices to make was overwhelming and again, when you're worried about getting a particular set of knowledge in, there's always going to be that element of coercion, with the object being to find the least painful (which might be enjoyable) way to get it in.
The only ones who seemed to be having fun with the primary goal of enjoying learning -- and life! -- were the unschoolers. I didn't understand unschooling. It was totally unsatisfying for someone so educational goal oriented as I was. (Still am.) But they were a lot more fun and more stimulating to be around. And eventually I got it.