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Jon Gold 2 

The Cult of Unschooling 1 

There is a field beyond all notions of right and wrong. Come, meet me there 3 . 

— Rumi, poet and mystic (1 207-1 273) 

Give your children free reign to rule their lives as they see fit. No rules. No control. No formal les- 
sons. No chores. No bedtimes. Support your children’s interests, whatever they are. Treat your 
children as equals. There are no mistakes, there are only experiences. All limits are self-imposed. 
Listen to your children. Trust your children. Respect your children. These concepts are the very 
heart of unschooling and they violate everything ingrained in us by the world at large. 

When some people are first introduced to unschooling they come away with the feeling that they 
have been visited by (choose one) Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Amway salesmen, Scientolo- 
gists, fundamentalists of any stripe, or aliens 4 . 

It’s easy to see why outsiders and newbies 5 are sometimes frightened by what they hear from enthu- 
siastic unschoolers. We talk about the Journey. We wax about the joy. We are just as likely to quote 
Lao Tzu as John Holt. We extol the virtues of the Path. We invoke Buddha. We speak reverently of 
Zen simplicity. And we are sometimes (okay, often) rigidly dogmatic about our dogma-less dogma 6 . 
We tend to iterate over our touch words listentrustrespect in a manner that to the uninitiated sounds 
like a mantra which is little different than the way Ooooooommmmmm sounds to most Western ears. 
To the observer, unschooling can seem overtly mystical as if it’s been cooked up by new age hip- 
sters from the left coast who didn’t get the memo that the Sixties are over. 

After getting over their initial cognitive dissonance, some people ask the question, “OK, maybe 
some of this unschooling stuff makes sense to me, but do I really have to drink the Kool-Aid?” 

Yes, yes you do. But it’s not Jim Jones’ Kool-Aid, it’s Ken Kesey’s. 

* * * 

1 Wherein your questions may be answered, footnotes will be abused, and I will attempt to map a route from 
the sublime to the here and now. Ambitious? Oh yes. Possible? Maybe. Dangerous? Yah, sure, you betcha; but 
any worthwhile venture carries some risk. But you also have to consider, what’s the risk of not trying? 

2 Jon Gold is an uneducated fool. He stayed in high school just long enough to meet his future spouse, Mary. 
After dropping out of high school he went on to drop out of college. He hopes to someday drop out of grad 
school just for the sake of continuity. He survived his traditional upbringing to become an autodidact typo- 
grapher, programmer, cafe owner, and raconteur. He and Mary have two unschooled children, Conor and Qa- 
cei. They tend the garden of their hearts in Corvallis, Oregon, the unschooling center of the universe. 

3 Don't you hate it when some article begins with an obscure quote that seemingly has nothing to do with the 
subject at hand? Then you get to the end of the article and the quote still doesn't make any sense? You suspect 
that the quote was used only to show how erudite the author thinks himself. I won't do that to you. When the 
time comes, I will point out exactly why I used this quote. Or double your money back. BTW, the word ‘eru- 
dite’ is also often used just to show how erudite the author thinks himself. 

4 I am not discounting that all of those could actually be the same thing. 

5 1 mean no disrespect by either term, they are just convenient shorthand. 

6 see The Gateless Gate, by Mu-mon 


Jon Gold 

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. — Albert Einstein 
There is no spoon. — The Matrix 

...the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad 
attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth. — Umberto Eco 

If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you 
doubt, as far as possible, all things. — Rene Descartes 

To avoid the danger of putting Descartes before de horse 7 , a little exposition is required. About 
2,400 years ago, a Greek gentleman named Plato wrote a book called, The Republic of Plato. The- 
matically, the Republic is an attempt to deconstruct society’s institutions and show how they could 
be better structured to serve humankind 8 . Here was a guy saying, “Hey, I know that civilization is 
only a few thousand years old, but dude, I think we are getting off course 9 .” In the middle of the Re- 
public there is a short chapter entitled, The Allegory of the Cave. In these 8 or so pages, Plato gives 
us a gift: the first written instance of a man questioning the very construct of the world. The world, 
Plato shows us through his allegory, is an illusion, an artifice, a mere construct of shadow puppets 
on the wall of a cave so large that we cannot even perceive that we are in a cave. More importantly, 
he shows us that should we be seekers of truth, the illusion can be removed with a single realization. 
Plato bids us to come step into the light and be freed of all artificial constraints. 

There is no religion in any of this. One need not be good of heart 10 , pure of spirit 11 , noble of intent 12 
or up-to-date on their tithes 13 to enter into a state of grace in the here and now. 

* * * 

For monkeys to speak of truth is hubris of the highest degree. Where is it writ large that 
talking-monkeys should be able to model the cosmos? If a sea urchin or a raccoon were to 
propose to you that it had a viable truth about the universe, the absurdity of that assertion 
would be self-evident, but in our case we make an exception. — Terence McKenna 

During my contentious adolescence my father, in trying to understand my battles with school, au- 
thority, and the world in general, would mock me by saying, “Everyone’s out of step but Jonny.” 
And he was right, that was exactly the way 1 felt, but I could not explain at the time why I felt that 
way 14 . 1 had been rendered emotionally mute 13 by the assault of a world gone mad and at 16 had on- 
ly books like Catch-22 and Slaughterhouse-Five to justify my feelings. While I knew my father had 
read them both because he was an aficionado of war stories, I also knew their allegorical intent to be 

7 1 apologize. 

8 Still a radical idea. 

9 It is widely recorded that Plato made liberal use of the word ‘dude.’ In fact, the original title of his eponym- 
ous tome was. The Republic of Dude, but early scribes did not know how to translate the word from the origi- 
nal Greek until surfing was invented. 

10 Still, a good thing to be. 

11 1 don’t even know what that means 

12 We know what they say about good intentions. . . 

13 If you are tithing to any organization, other than charitable, then you may have drunk the wrong Kool-Aid. 

14 “You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but 
it's there, like a splinter in your mind.” — Morpheus to Neo, The Matrix 

15 “Bent out of shape by society’s pliers.” — Bob Dylan 


The Cult of Unschooling 

Jon Gold 

beyond his ken. Though I could take comfort from Bob Dylan’s It’s Alright Mci, (I’m Only Bleed- 

A question in your nerves is lit 
Yet you know there is no answer fit 
To satisfy, insure you not to quit 
To keep it in your mind and not forget 
That it is not he or she or them or it 
That you belong to 

it gave me no adequate vernacular to express myself to those who tided to control my life. 

Even though my father meant it sarcastically, I saw truth in his mockery, everyone was out of step 
but me. I saw a world afire and I thought that no one else could see it; because if they could, they 
would be just as upset about it as I was. Perhaps they might even try to do something about it. But 
instead everyone else just went blithely about their business as if the abysmal state of human af- 
fairs 16 was normal or even acceptable. 

Had I known about the Cave at the time I would have thrust it into my father’ s hands as a way to 
show him the fount of my malcontent. The Cave has served me well as an adult because it has 
helped me articulate that, which as a teen, I knew only as feelings of anger and profound sadness. 

The treasure we find in Plato’s cave is that there is only one Truth about all of humanity: We live in 
a fantasy world of invented narrative. Everyone sees the world as they wish to and creates a story of 
events which they refer to as 'truth' which coincides with how they perceive the world. Anyone can 
invent a plausible narrative and label it as truth to justify any situation or behavior 17 , but the only 
truth is to recognize all narratives as man-made. 

Which narratives am I speaking of? Political systems, economic systems, geo-political boundaries, 
religion , commerce, social organizations, education , legal" . A11 of those systems are just stories 
that are man-made, they are but shadow puppets on the walls of our cave. They were not here on the 
planet when we humans found the place and they will not be here when we are gone from it. 

This, my unschooling friends, is the Ken Kesey Kool-Aid elixir. 

* * * 

We are all of us in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars 21 . — Oscar Wilde 

Why Jon, why? Why must I partake of this liquid? It looks bitter. And what the hell are you talking 
about, here, exactly? What does Plato’s Cave have to do with unschooling? 

If you are to undertake this unschooling journey it is imperative that you understand not only the 
destination 22 but the stops along the way 23 . One cannot climb the tallest snowcapped peaks without 

16 It’s as if we set out to build a perfect dystopia and succeeded with perpetual warfare, famine, injustice, rac- 
ism, want in the midst of over consumption, et cetera, ad nauseum. 

17 see The Crusades, the Inquisition, slavery, al-Qaida, fascism, Nazism, the current Iraq war, etc. 

ls “We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his 
theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.” — H.L. Mencken 

19 “They know enough who know how to learn.” — Henry Adams 

20 “Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the 
laws.” — Plato, aka Dude 

21 also: “Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet. ” — Roger Miller 


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Jon Gold 

also packing for the tropics’ 4 . On your lifelong unschooling field trip one must be prepared for every 
possible climate. And Plato provides that preparation. 

Most unschoolers speak of unschooling as a journey. I’ve already done so skeighty-eight times in 
the past dozen paragraphs. I don’t remember who said it, it might have been Steinbeck, “we don’t 
take a journey, a journey takes us.” What he meant is that a journey is supposed to be transforma- 
tive. Undertaken properly it should alter our long-standing perspectives, it should shake us out of 
our assumptions, it should change our Weltanschauung 25 . 

The metaphor of the journey to describe unschooling works so well because unschooling is not 
something you do for your children like taking them for regular dental exams, it is something you do 
with your children. It is a path you travel together. And if you are not prepared take that journey 
with them, to challenge yourself, to confront the moldering assumptions and dusty beliefs you grew 
up with 26 ; if you are not willing to grow and change along with your children then you are not un- 
schooling in the same manner that the rest of us are when we speak of unschooling 27 . 

The result will be that both you and your children will not experience the richness, the beauty, the 
fulfillment, the connections, the boundless joy that unschooling can bring into your lives; the risk is 
that you might miss seeing the stars. 

* * * 

I perceive the world as a set of narratives. I approve of all narratives. The narratives are 
unimportant. My experience of the narratives is what I value. — Astro Teller 28 , Exegesis 

I’m sorry, Jon. You’re giving me sidereal light and I still don’t know why you think I must adopt this 
seemingly crazy worldview, this Weltanschauung you speak of (I don’t like saying that word aloud, it 
hurts my mouth. And frankly, I’m a little suspicious of Germans). 

Imagine you and your children as slaves in a Russian Gulag, shackled inside a bam for months after 
your arrival. Would it be acceptable if your owner said that he was going to remove your chains so 
you could work the internet credit card scam operation? Sure, you and the kids might be a little bet- 
ter off. Certainly you are free of the barn, but you still aren’t free, not when torture and/or death 
await you just beyond the gulag’s gate. 

Freedom is binary, you either have it or you don’t. There is no such thing as half-free. Getting out of 
the barn (the schools) is only part of the job at hand; getting off the gulag altogether must be your 
goal if you harbor any desire to live a self-directed life. 

If our unschooling objective is to raise children who are truly free, who grow to adulthood with their 
spirits and sense of wonder and sense of selves intact then we must bring them to a place where that 
can happen, off the gulag, outside of Plato’s cave. This is the place that is safe for your children to 

22 Death. 

23 The stops are actually more important than the final destination, i.e. the journey is the destination. 

24 “To live for some future goal is shallow. It's the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top.” — Ro- 
bert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance 

“ 3 noun, German, a comprehensive conception or image of the universe and of humanity's relation to it. 
Damn! Those Germans have some great words. Glockenspiel is another. So is zwischenraum. 

26 “I can't understand why people are frightened by new ideas. I'm frightened of old ones.” — John Cage 

27 This is not to assert that someone is not an “unschooler” because they have a different approach. 

~ s A great name but his real name is Eric Teller, grandson of Edward Teller, aka, “the father of the hydrogen 


The Cult of Unschooling 

Jon Gold 

become who they are, unbound, unshackled from the world of invented narratives that conspire to 
limit us. 

The artificial narratives we’ve created diminish our humanity by creating layers between us. If I am 
a Tory and you are a Whig, that creates a layer between us that hides our humanity from each other. 

I no longer see you as a fellow human, I now see you as dirty stinkin’ Whig. If you are socialist and 
I am a free-marketer, that is another layer. If I am a Jainist and you are a Rastafarian, if you are 
Norwegian and I am Croatian, if I am a gun owner and you want gun control, if I smoke pot and you 
are opposed to drugs 29 . 

As a group we humans tend to define ourselves by our beliefs, in fact we often become our beliefs: I 
believe that my country is better than yours , I believe that my religion^ is the one true religion I 
believe that my theory of economics is better than yours, I believe that my political system is better 
than yours, I believe that my school is better than yours, I believe that my Weltanschauung is better 
than yours. 

By extension, if my beliefs are better than yours, then I am better than you. And if I am better than 
you then at some point it becomes okay for me to cheat you, oppress you, demean you, steal from 
you, attack you, hate you, enslave you, control you, generally do whatever I want to do to you, espe- 
cially if I am bigger and more powerful than you. This, in summary, is the history of mammkind and 
u/7 civilization ' ; neighbor against neighbor, country against country, religion against religion . 

This world of invented narratives becomes a microcosm in our household when we apply it to our 
family. I am older than you, I am smarter than you, I am bigger than you, I am better than you. I’m 
right and you’re wrong and that means I can (and will) control you. This paradigm 37 is exactly how 
the system of schooling is set up, teachers versus students; and it depicts the power structure in most 
traditional households, parents versus children. 

If we can see how narratives hurt us, what happens when we strip them away? My country is better 
than yours? Countries are just lines drawn on a map; the lines often representing the place where 
some ancient armies finally stopped killing each other. There is no such thing as a country. My eco- 
nomic system is better than yours? All economic systems are just a way of formalizing baiter. Reli- 
gion? Religions are merely formalized superstitions and rituals meant to honor God 38 . Most people 
don’t even realize that they are atheists. You are. And so is the person sitting next to you and every- 
one you know. You are selective atheists. You don’t believe in Zeus, Baal, Thor, Shakti, Isis, Ra, 

29 I think that makes me a pot-smoking, gun toting, capitalist, Croatian Tory; but that’s better than being a 
Norwegian Rastafarian Whig against marijuana. 

30 “Patriotism is often the arbitrary veneration of real estate above principles.” — George Jean Nathan 

31 “The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself.” — 
Richard Francis Burton, explorer 

32 To date there have been approximately 8,342 ‘one true’ religions. 

33 When asked what he thought of Western civilization, Gandhi cheekily replied, “I think it would be a good 

34 “I know I am among civilized men because they are fighting so savagely.” — Voltaire 

35 “We have just enough religion to make us hate but not enough to make us love one another.” — Jonathan 

36 “Almost everyone who has read history . . . knows that when the great figure of God appears in a controver- 
sy, the shooting cannot be far off.” — Stewart H. Holbrook 

37 Most paradigms are worth about 4 nickels. 

38 Send your religious hate mail I will reprint the most malevolent ones online. 

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Jon Gold 

Ymir the frost giant, Assa Yaa, Glooscap, Vishnu, Mulungu, and about ten thousand other Gods and 
Goddesses that came before the current crop of popular Gods. The Gods that we have today are 
merely the Gods that survived human fickleness until writing was invented 39 . Once they’re immorta- 
lized in writing it’s harder to force them into retirement at the Old Gods Home. But you earlier 
Gods? So sorry, you didn’t make the cut, your 15 minutes are over 40 . And finally, educational sys- 
tems. We already know about them; they’ve only been around since the industrial revolution. Before 
then, most everyone unschooled. 

So let’s strip away all the layers, no country, no political system, no political party, no religion, no 
school, no social constructs. All of a sudden I see only you, a person, a fellow human being and we 
happen to be occupying this plane of existence at the same time. There is nothing between us that 
separates us; all the artificial labels are gone. Don’t look now, but your humanity is showing. I don’t 
see a Whig, 1 don’t see a worshipper of Baal, 1 don’t see a Norwegian 41 , 1 see only you and it’s real- 
ly nice to see you like this. I’m a person and you’re a person and we are here, together, now; and by 
seeing each other like this we have achieved 100% commonality 42 . I’m glad to meet you 43 . How are 
you? I am excellent, thanks for asking. 

When you finally look at a person without the baggage of narratives, you will see that person as they 
were meant to be seen, as they were the moment before their birth, before any arbitrary labels were 
applied to them, before the lunatic baggage of (^civilization is permanently affixed to their psyches. 

Now, recognizing the lunatic baggage for what it is, wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could preserve 
that pristine state in your children? What if they never had to go through the torture of discovering 
that they’ve been born into an insane cave of shadow puppets that they must crawl out of in order to 
save their sanity? Wouldn’t that be an incredible gift to give your children? 

But isn’t that part of life? Shouldn’t they have to craw! out on their own? Isn’t that the trial of tran- 
scendence, of overcoming adversity? That’s one way of looking at it. But so many people become 
permanently damaged by the trip. Some are so mesmerized by the shadow puppets that they never 
bother looking up their whole lives. Some get the feeling that there might be a cave, but they are 
never sure of what they are experiencing, they are just always suspicious that something is terribly 
wrong and they have no control over it 44 . Others only recognize that something is wrong and try to 
obliterate it with drugs and alcohol or else become afflicted by severe psychological problems. 

What if those two boys at Columbine had been shown Plato’s cave? We’ll never know for sure, but I 
suspect that they would have merely laughed in the faces of their tormentors instead of slaughtering 

39 see the essay. The Graveyard of the Dead Gods, by H.L. Mencken 

40 Can’t you picture Simon Cowell telling some pathetic glockenspiel-playing God to get off the stage on 
America 's Next Top Deity ? 

41 1 don’t know why but the word Norwegian is inherently amusing to me. Like trousers. Or glockenspiel. The 
funniest phrase on the planet at this moment might very well be Norwegian glockenspiel trousers. Say it with 

42 This is it! This is the bit that ties in to that first obscure quote. When you take away the narratives what’s left 
are just people. There is nothing from which to make a judgment of right or wrong. This is Rumi’s field, right 
and wrong don’t even exist in this place. It took 42 footnotes to get here, but we did it. I feel better, don’t you? 
Coincidentally, 42 is the answer to life, the universe, and everything. Hmmm, sometimes the universe aligns in 
mysterious ways. 

43 “If you don't find God in the next person you meet, it is a waste of time looking any further.” — Mahatma 

44 Which usually leads to a lifetime of therapy or an addiction to self-help books. 


The Cult of Unschooling 

Jon Gold 

all those people; because once you’ve seen your way out of the cave, most things that the other hu- 
mans say or do will be ridiculous to you. 

Having knowledge of the cave gives you complete control over your life. Again, isn’t that a wonder- 
ful gift to give your children? Letting them know that they are welcomed to humanity without hav- 
ing to be anything else, that they are valued just as they are, and that anything they want to do or 
become is within their control? 

1 know this seems hard but anything worthwhile requires effort and carries risks. One of the risks is 
that if you are heavily invested in the narratives this concept may cause your head to explode 45 . If 
your sense of self is derived from external narratives then this can be a painful transition; what you 
must remember is that everything you think you have found in the narratives is really something that 
can be found within yourself 46 . When we find something good in the world, it is something that was 
already inside of us just waiting to be uncovered. When you see the beauty of a flower or you fall in 
love, it is only because you have unchained your self-imposed limits. The flower was always there, 
the person was always there; what changed was your willingness to appreciate them. 

Giving your children this ultimate freedom is absolutely insane. It defies conventional wisdom. It is 
contrary to the beliefs of 99.999999% of the rest of the planet. In some countries it can get your 
children taken from you. In yet other countries it can get you jailed as a heretic 47 or put to death 48 as 


a provocateur . 

Here is the payoff for you: When you undertake this difficult unschooling journey with your child- 
ren it is also a journey of self-discovery. You will uncover within yourself vast hidden stores of love 
and energy and compassion and creativity that you did not know you had. You will develop deep 
connections to your children and others around you that you did not know were possible. You will 
understand in your bones what it means to be a parent , a spouse , a friend. You will, eventually, 
come face-to-face with what it truly means to be a human being, to be connected all at once to all 
that was, all that is, and all that will ever be. 

* * * 

45 I’m not cleaning that up. 

46 Dorothy always had the power to go home, she only needed good witch Glinda to point the way out of the 

47 “There is no heresy or philosophy which is so abhorrent to the church as a human being.” — James Joyce 

48 “Every society honors its live conformists and its dead troublemakers.” — Mignon McLaughlin 

49 I’ve always wanted to be a provocateur. Like most French words if you say it right, it sounds dirty. 

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Jon Gold 

There! Right there! That last section. What the crap?! That’s that touchy-feely new-agey spirituality 
vibe that I detect when I’m talking to unschoolers. It’s just that no one ever came out and said it like 
that before .What’s up with that? I mean, you talk about God but you do it so flippantly that you 
seem like some kinda atheist 50 commie weirdo. What’s your deal? 

Each of us has our own notion of the Divine 51 . Frank Lloyd Wright said, “I believe in God, only 1 
spell it Nature 52 .” I am deeply spiritual, as are most unschoolers I’ve met, but I do not believe in any 
traditional conception of God 53 . 1 do not have any religious practices 54 yet there is not a day I have 
on this planet that I do not: 

• give thanks for the people and material comforts in my life 

• contemplate my relationship to the cosmos 55 

• acknowledge that someday, maybe today, I will merge with the Infinite 56 . 

All I know for certain 57 is that today is one more day that 1 have the opportunity to try to be the best 
person I can be; to approach every task with joy, to respond to all situations with kindness and com- 
passion, to always help others when it is in my power to do so 58 . 

* * * 

Wait a minute now. You’re talking about Enlightenment, aren’t you? How is that possible? You just 
up-chucked it all onto the page here. I mean, don’t people spend years studying, yoga-ing, meditat- 
ing, visiting the Far East, consulting gurus, ingesting weird substances, attending seminars, hiring 
silly life coaches, and sitting uncomfortably on the floor for long periods of time before they achieve 

Yes, yes they do. I’ve given it to you wrapped up in a 15 minute essay. Of course, this only de- 
scribes my enlightenment; your enlightenment may be entirely different. You should also consider 

50 “If it turns out that there is a God. ..the worst that you can say about him is that basically he's an undera- 
chiever.” — Woody Allen 

51 “For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can't readily 
accept the God formula, the big answers don't remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discove- 
ries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command or faith a dictum. I am my own God. We are here to unlearn 
the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill 
war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.” — Charles 

52 also. I’m a Tree Hugging Dirt Worshipper — bumper sticker 

53 “God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.” — Voltaire 

54 “To practice a religion can be beautiful, to believe in one can be dangerous.” — Tom Robbins, Fierce Inva- 
lids Home From Hot Climates 

55 roughly equivalent to an amoeba’s relationship to the sun, not our sun mind you but maybe Alpha Centauri 
some 25.8 trillion miles away. There are 100 billion solar systems in this galaxy. There could be as many as 
125 billion galaxies in the universe. Anyone who thinks we are alone in this universe or that earthlings are 
God’s “special people” is living so deeply in the cave that they may never get out. 

56 j s pj easan t Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.” — Isaac Asimov 

57 “We are here and it is now. Further than that all human knowledge is moonshine.” — H. L. Mencken 

58 That is not to claim that I have achieved these goals, I aspire to these goals. Maybe someday with enough 
practice I will get there. Of course, knowing that the Universe has an ironic sense of humor, the day that I ac- 
tually do accomplish those goals will likely be the day I that go home. 

The Cult of Unschooling 

Jon Gold 

that you may have just spent the past 15 minutes reading the psychotic babblings of an utter fool 59 . 
There really is no way to know for sure 60 . 

* * * 

So there you have it. the cult-less cult of unschooling. I’ve laid it bare as best I can. So when you 
hear unschoolers speak of their dogma-less dogma: 

Give your children free reign to live their lives as they see fit. No rules. No control. No for- 
mal lessons. No chores. No bedtimes. Support your children’s interests, whatever they are. 
Treat your children as equals. There are no mistakes, there are only experiences. All limits 
are self-imposed. Listen to your children. Trust your children. Respect your children 61 . 

know too that they are also speaking of sacrifice and doubts and tears and personal transformation 
that now yield untold riches of the heart. 

I know that many people will disagree with some of the things I’ve said here 62 but I can’t show you 
any better than I have. I cannot make you drink the elixir 63 anymore than I can prove the veracity of 
my words. I can only tell you about the cave, you will have to decide for yourself whether to stand 
up and walk out. 

~ Fin 64 - 

59 “Too much sanity may be madness. And maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be!” — Miguel 
de Cervantes 

60 “it is much more comfortable to be mad and know it, than to be sane and have one's doubts.” — G.B. Bur- 

61 There are caveats, there is minutiae, there are details, there are nuts and bolts. There are endless discussions 
on the forums and boards online; go there for your questions, but always remember: Listen, trust, respect. 

62 Many folks seek out writings and advice and self-help information not because they actually want advice or 
help or to read of someone else’s experiences, but because they want validation for what they are already 
doing in their lives. Upon reading something that fails to provide such reassurance many people are inclined to 
defend their choices by tearing down that which does not support them. 

Before you fire off your vitriol in my general direction, I would like for you to think about this for a moment: 
If you are reacting angrily to something which you have read that has absolutely no bearing on your life what- 
soever, then what are you getting mad about? If something does not affect you or apply to you, why would 
you invite anger into your life over it? Certainly it’s not fun or enjoyable to be angry (parenthetically, (I’m 
using a parenthetical aside because this software program won’t allow me to add a footnote to a footnote. So 
this set of parenthesis right here is a footnote to a footnote to a footnote — oh boy we’re having fun now!) my 
favorite t-shirt prior to figuring out all this stuff read, “Anger Is A Gift”). 

On the other hand, could it be possible that your anger is a result of you not feeling entirely comfortable with 
the choices you’ve made; and that instead of objectively examining your choices in the cool light of reason, 
it’s easier to lash out in the heat of an emotional response? Give that some thought before you unload your 
enmity and self-doubt on a total stranger whose opinion, you’ve already decided, means nothing to you. jon- 
nyoro@ yahoo .com 

63 “You can lead a horse to water, but if you can get him to float on his back, you’ve really got something.” — 
Woody Allen, Without Feathers 

64 Um, really sorry about all the footnotes. They’re quite annoying, aren’t they? This is what’s in my head all 
day long, a running commentary of absolute — often juvenile — nonsense that I can’t turn off; e.g. which is 
funnier: Carpe carp or carpe quesol If ever I meet the Divine, that will be the first thing I ask. Oh well, thanks 
for all the opportunities to use the word glockenspiel. Enjoy your day. 


The Cult of Unschooling