After investigating the difference between homeschooling and unschooling, I was curious about the definition of radical unschooling. To get one educator’s take, I read Radical Unschooling: A Revolution Has Begun, by Dayna Martin. Here’s Martin’s definition:
Radical unschooling, which expands unschooling philosophy to parenting, means you extend that same trust to other areas of your child’s life, like foods, media, television, video games–allowing them to eat, play, or watch whatever they want when they want.
This method requires the parent to trust that a child who is allowed to pursue his or her own passions (and, in many cases, his or her own schedule) will naturally focus on activities that have educational value. The educational value of an activity may not be immediately obvious, but the idea is that children innately know what they need, so bouts of television viewing or video game playing that might trouble a non-unschooler are instead looked on as beneficial and natural.
There were some parts of Martin’s book that made me hesitate–she’s a proponent of the Law of Attraction–but others appealed to me. Namely, Martin’s description of a good unschooler was remarkably similar to my vision of a good parent-tutor:
My job is to expose them to as much of the world as possible from as many resources as possible, so they can realize and pursue their interests.
Martin then provides a list of resources, all of which would also be used by a creative parent-tutor: “internet, television, books, video games, day trips, vacations, community resources, and apprenticeships.”
Does tutoring differ from unschooling? I suppose it does in that a parent-tutor may be providing support for a school subject that a child does not particularly want to study. But both the parent-tutor and unschooling parent are striving to help their children learn how to learn. More than that, they’re helping their children how to LOVE learning how to learn.