I think there is a sense of synergy involved in unschooling/homeschooling.
Stephen Covey, of the Seven Habits fame, describes synergy as follows -
"Synergy...is the magic that happens when one plus one equals three - or more. And it happens because the relationship between the parts is a part itself. It has such catalytic, dynamic power that it affects how the parts interact with one another. ...
So, synergy deals with the part between the parts. In the family, this part is the quality and nature of the relationship betweebn people. ...
You might even think of this as a third person. The feeling of 'we' in a marriage becomes more than two people; it's the relationship between the two people that creates this 'third person'. And the same is true with parents and children. The other 'person' created by the relationship is the essence of the family culture with its deeply established purpose and principle-centred value system.
In synergy, then, you have not only mutual vulnerability and the creation of shared vision and values, new solutions, and better alternatives, but you also have a sense of mutual accountability to the norms and values built into those creations."
There is a synergy in unschooling that means that we are not just each individual, following our own interests. We are an entity - my current passion will be shared with a child; another child's interest will encourage strewing and this will rub off onto a sibling; the time spent tidying together is also a time for asking questions and thinking about answer.
Duties are not required but are worked out, within the family culture.
The influence of parents is huge.
But so is the influence of other siblings.
I think of the game of Kings that my boys played for years. It started when the older three were aged seven, eight and ten. It was played with another family. Rules and constitutions were written. Societies and governments forged. And active wars were fought!
As younger siblings in both famies were born and then grew, they were added into the game of Kings. The synergy of shared interests and culture. And Kings , in itself, became a separate entity.
All this reflection comes after a depressing farewell to our older sons. They had to return interstate for jobs and university, after a two week holiday with us.
The younger two sobbed . We all felt torn - a part of us is taken.
This happens in families, I know. But what is not often addressed is the effect of older children leaving home, on the lives of the younger children.
There is a hole.
On New Years Eve, we watched the children's movie "Because of Winn Dixie'. Jonathon and I had read the book earlier this year.
And the pathos in the movie spoke volumes to me and gave me the words to share with the younger four children, about the departure of their three older brothers.
"Its like Gloria says, in Because of Winn Dixie. She tells Opal that you can't hold onto those things or people that you love. You have to love them while you have them."
The same applies to family, siblings, children leaving home, the empty nest and the synergy of unschooling.
Love it while you have it. And give it all to God.