#60 - What about the social life of an unschooler | Sam KingDavis asks us anything

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🗓️ Recorded January 27th, 2024. 📍Playa Dorada, Lengüeta Arenosa, Baja California, Mexico

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About this Episode 

In this special Ask Us Anything episode, we welcome back Sam KingDavis, the renowned street artist from Prague whom we interviewed for episode #17. 

Sam had many questions about unschooling, so we invited him to ask us anything for this episode. 

Together with Sam, we embark on a detailed exploration of how unschooling impacts socialization, family dynamics, and child development. This discussion delves into the unique social experiences of unschooled children compared to those in traditional settings, emphasizing the importance of cultivating a supportive social network and the enriched interactions that come with learning outside conventional classrooms.

We share insights into the joys and challenges of guiding our children through their learning journeys without the confines of traditional education. This includes navigating legal requirements and emphasizing life skills such as financial literacy and emotional intelligence. The episode also highlights the profound family bonds that grow stronger without daily separations and the personal sacrifices involved in committing to an unschooling path.

Closing with a reflection on the transformative power of unschooling, we discuss its ability to foster autonomy and self-driven learning, moving away from the dependency on external validation that often comes with conventional schooling. Inspired by Sam's curiosity and our experiences, this conversation offers a compelling look at the potential of unschooling to reshape education and family life.

 Join us for this insightful exploration into unschooling, guided by Sam's engaging questions and our shared journey toward a more personalized and fulfilling approach to learning.

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With love


Jesper Conrad 


00:00 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
Welcome to Self-Directed. We are your hosts, cecilia and Jesper Conrad, and now it's time to welcome this week's guest. All right, today we are together with Sam King Davis and if you haven't heard of him, you should go and check out the podcast interview we did with Sam. We met him on the bridge in Prague where he was sitting and making wonderful caricature drawings of people, and I remember walking away after chatting a little with him and was like ah, I want to know more about how is, what kind of job is that? How do you work with the crowd and what is going through your mind when you are working as a street artist like that? And Sam was so kind to share his sports with us and it's a wonderful episode and we will link to it in the show notes.

But then I actually got an email from Sam where he was like oh, but I also feel I have a lot of questions to you guys. Can we do a reverse podcast where I get to get the chance to ask you guys a lot of questions? So here we are and first of all, after a long introduction, welcome, sam. It's good to see you again, my man. Thank you. Thank you, you too.

01:16 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
Yes, hi.

01:18 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
And then I don't know where to start. Maybe you have the ball, yeah.

01:23 - Samuel KingDavis (Guest)
Yeah, yeah, I just I have like a whole bunch of questions. I think the first thing that always comes up because you guys inspired me. I had an idea that I might want to do some alternative education for our kids and stuff, but you guys inspired me to. I had never even heard the term unschooling. I've heard of homeschooling, of course, but when I bring it up to people, it's always this is. It always happens like this. I say it and then there's this, and then the next, the first question is well then, how are you going to socialize them? Yeah and so and that was actually one of one of Kate's questions too so I think it's. I think maybe we can just start there, because I'm sure that, based on my experience that you guys are getting that question a lot, oh, yeah, yeah, it's one of two main questions Will they ever learn to read, and how do you socialize them?

Really, that's an honest question.

02:18 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
The other one is I mean, okay, so the social life of unschooled children looks very different from the social life of school children, obviously, as the baseline is not that we take them and leave them with some complete strangers in a confined group of something between 20 and 30 are the kids that they have not chosen to spend all day with but they will have to spend all day with. That is, that is the baseline of the school child and you can have an opinion on that if you want. An unschooled child does not have that baseline. And of course, the reality is that a lot of the other kids are in there in the school. So if you go to the park on a Tuesday at 11 in the morning, there are not many kids around and it could for the first house.

When you first look at it, it could look pretty hard to find a social life for an unschooled child. And really what happens is that the social life is so much more complex than the artificial way we do it with schools. A real social life for a real child in the real world has always been growing up around things that happens in the real life People getting older around, parents working around younger siblings, cousins, neighbors. It has never in the history of humankind been normal to for a child to grow up around 20 people their own age all day, and I think we have to take a step back from that. Remember this is not a necessary baseline that they have this group of so-called peers that they grow up with and more or less the same group. It's actually just something we came up with a few hundred years ago and if you look at it, it's not a pretty picture. A successful school has less than 20% kids getting mocked every day. What's that? That's one in five feeling like shit. It's not. I don't see it as a. I mean, the social life in the schools is a very complicated thing as well, and very often it fails. Very often it makes the kids feel horrible.

So I mean we're not taking them away from paradise. When we take them out, we're removing them from something that might go well and might go not so well, and then we remove them into a reality where, in your case in Prague and in our case in Copenhagen, it's a reality, with not many other homeschooled children. That's what it is. I mean, if you go to California, you almost fall over them in the street. But if you're in Europe, it's different, and what I usually also say is well then, that's the job, then that's what you work for, so you don't have to get up every morning, make sure they're ready at eight o'clock with a packed lunch and a backpack and you know somewhat clean clothes and the homework done. What you do instead is sometimes you spend two hours commuting to hang out with some friends, because it's more scarce, but of course they are there.

It's not like there are no other homeschooled children in Prague. There's actually quite a few, as far as I know, and it's also, I mean, that's just what you do. And one of my favorite stories is a friend of mine who called me back when we lived in the bus in Spain and she said can we come over next Tuesday and to hang out for a bit? And I said, yeah, sure, that would be lovely. She's my friend and her kids are friends with my kids and that would be lovely. It's just you know where are you, because I'm in Barcelona and I happen to know that she lives in Normandy, france, which is 1,500 kilometers away.

And she said I'm home and I was like, oh so you're driving 1,500 kilometers for a play date. That's actually what you're proposing. And she said, yeah, kinda, that happens. And we invited her to take her. Get a pilot license just fly there.

06:55 - Samuel KingDavis (Guest)
Get a pilot license and just fly there.

06:57 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
Well, this is the extreme, and I'm sure you'll find friends much closer. There's more to that story. It's not complete nonsense.

07:06 - Samuel KingDavis (Guest)
Do you feel like that? Maybe the question what, how am I gonna socialize the kids? Is kind of a moral cover up for the question what the hell am I gonna do with my kids all day long Could be.

Could be I think, because when I think about it I know the first objection from Kate was like I don't wanna be, it's already too much, like the time that we have, cause we have her in kindergarten like half days, monday through Friday, like an international kindergarten. But even that little bit of time I think that Kate wouldn't couldn't. It's a lot, yeah.

07:47 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
I can answer dad and Cecilia.

I know she can probably explain it better than I can but the child you get home from an institution we have tried it, we have had our kids in kindergarten but the child you get home from a school and kindergarten is not the same kind of child that you wake up with every day. And what I mean by this is if you are four years old and you are together with 25 other people and have you tried working in a kindergarten I have the amount of sound going on just is stressful. All the people running around is stressful and all the activities going on, and you're only four years old and you need to navigate this system. So when you come home, you are drained and you probably have some reactions inside of you, and the people that you have to take those reactions out on is in some sort of dialogue with your parents, and it is a really stressed child. You get home when they have been away Sometimes, Sometimes, yeah yeah, yeah, the gardens are really nice, of course but I'm just saying that if you take, it's also the same with the social life.

If you take and take the word apart and just like, okay, you say socialize, let's look at what's actually going on, Then my favorite question to ask is so, Sam, how would you like it to hang out with 27 other people your age which you haven't chosen to be together with for eight hours?

09:26 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
Every day for 10 years.

09:27 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
You are not allowed to go to the toilet, you cannot eat when you want to, and stuff like that. That is the confinement.

09:34 - Samuel KingDavis (Guest)
And you have to do half of the homework that you don't want to do. Yeah.

09:38 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
So but just think about, this is what we have called social life. But if we try to unpack it and say, but what kind of social life is it actually?

09:51 - Samuel KingDavis (Guest)
It is. It's really like a water cooler, like social life, like in an office. You know it is. It's like you get an hour break. That's your recess. You get an hour break at work, a lunch break.

10:03 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
Yeah, you got to come back and work and I had great water breaks with friends where we have stand and take a cup of tea or something and people who ended up becoming friends. But I've also had workplaces where I was sitting at lunch and just needed to get the time going and I don't do sports at all, interest in sports or politics. So sitting at lunch trying to communicate with people was really sometimes horrible for me Because I wanted to talk about other stuff and they were not there, you know. So it's the same with the kindergarten.

That is not also social life, and I think we sometimes come to think about social life as, oh, I see my child displaying that means they have a social life. But what else should you do if you are put in a place you need to be for seven or eight hours until you are picked up. Why not get the best out of it? But, as I tried to say before, often you have used a lot of time and energy and the parent who have been out working has the same. So when you come home, the child needs to reconfirm its connection with its parents. Yeah, you have a bit of a serious way better at explaining this.

11:20 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
Talking about different things. One thing is how will it look for the parent? Do they need the break? Can they take the task on? Another thing is the socialization, which we have to break up in different things. So it becomes very quickly very complicated, because socialization is a big thing. Actually. It's about how do we manage being in the world, how do we handle our near and close relations, how do we handle being polite and nice when we are at the library? Let's say there's so much going on there.

So let me start with the other one and that's where Jesper sort of talked himself to is the attachment. So children are supposed to be attached to their parents. That's how it works, and if they are not, all kinds of things can go wrong. So a baseline for the healthy psychology is that you have a healthy attachment to your parents. Usually it's more the mother than the father, but that doesn't really, in my opinion, matter. What happens when we leave our child at kindergarten? The younger they are, the more hardcore it is. But we break that attachment every morning or we hurt it. At least the child is safe and secure with you, they know you've got their back and then you leave them and that's actually not a natural thing for a mammal to do. And then we come back and pick them up and we have to repair that little damage we made in the morning. I'm not saying we're driving our kids insane. I'm just saying we're doing something that's actually not normal and it needs some repair work.

And on the child's side that looks like being very possessive or reacting a lot or just being needy. Or they're like show me, you've got my back. You just took it away from me. Now I need it back, and that's a very healthy reaction in whatever way it looks. For the parent it can feel very draining. It's not nice. You just have to put in a lot of emotional work and information and maybe you don't know that that's what's going on, so you're just annoyed. You can tie your shoes yourself. Why do you ask me for the water? I'm not sitting down watching that stupid show. I have other things to do. You can watch that show alone. All those reactions are from the frustrated parent feeling you're pushing me too much. But actually it's just the child asking for that attachment to be stabilized and harmonic again. That work is hard work and if you don't leave your child in the morning, that work disappears. Makes sense, so some of that?

can I do that? Do I have the energy for it? Well, it's a different task if you have your child all the time, If you stop giving them away to strangers in the morning.

14:09 - Samuel KingDavis (Guest)
Yeah, you don't drain that emotional gas tank.

14:12 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
You don't have to fill that back up again when my kids were small, I actually sometimes was like, can we do something together? I'm sort of bored doing the dishes and reading my email all the time. I would hang out, but they were absorbed in their own stuff. But it takes some time before that changes. This is my main point about this question that you write. The other thing is that, well, it is a big job to be a parent. If you don't have anyone to look after your kids for you, you're going to have to do it yourself, and that's a 24-7 job for about 20 years. Her child. So, yes, that is a big task. Sometimes I want to say something down the line of suck it up and do it. It's your child, you have that job. It's your job.

And maybe in some phases of life there will not be a lot of space for showers and yoga and whatever, because the children are so need you so much, especially when they are small, obviously, when you breastfeed and you don't sleep at night and all these things. It is what it is. But life is long and in my experience, that feeling of just not having a moment for yourself and not having a moment for the work processes that you want to do or personal development education. It calms down after a while. You just have to get used to it and the kids have to get used to it and they have to start doing their processes and you have to be able to see navigate that field. Oh, now they're starting that. Whatever legal and I know I'll have about two and a half hours if I just show up with a sandwich on the half mark and then you know that and you can do the shower and the yoga and the emails. But sometimes you don't have that.

I mean, sometimes there will be weeks where you just want to pull your hair out. Yeah, yeah, I know the feeling.

16:23 - Samuel KingDavis (Guest)
Kate had a lot of really good questions. I'm just going to go through hers because they're kind of the same as mine. I guess I think some of these will probably be pretty easy. Like how do you ensure that the child achieves the educational requirements of your country? So that would be my question. Like our addition to that would be basically like how do you make sure that they have the requirements if they decide they want to go to college? Because I guess you would just have to pass certain tests and make sure that they're up to speed.

16:58 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
Yeah, I knew you had to pass tests. So at the end of the day, that problem is a problem you have when the child is about 15 years old. Maybe you just talk to the child at that point. Yeah.

And if the motivation is to go to college, then I mean a 15-year-old can sit down and do whatever study, do some entry exams and be ready for it. What I've seen in the unschooling world is that's what they do If they want to go to college. They sit down to the work and then they go to college. But you don't have to push them for 10 years before that.

17:32 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
And also, if I can answer a little about that, about how people learn then I presume you know from yourself that if you are inspired to learn something new, then you wouldn't function very well if you only got 45 minutes to emerge yourself into it and if you were lucky one and a half hour. So this is one of the challenges that the school system has today, which is that they have spread out the hours of learning in this way where, when you are really passionate about something, you can go all in, and you can go all in for days and weeks. We see it right now with one of our children who is like hey, I really want to understand all this math. So he is learning everything and it's like seeing him take 10 years of schooling in just a couple of months and his brain is happy and he's focused. But the main reason he can do this is he has the interest, he's passionate about it.

And there comes then how easy is it to learn if you are forced to learn, compared to how easy is it to learn when you want to learn? That said, then I personally see the school system as a placeholder for children for many years and then a lot of the learning that is actually needed if you want to go to a college level. You can do from your 12 to your 15. All the years before is more or less just hanging out making sure that they are somewhere while mom and dad wants to go to work. Yeah, exactly Because it doesn't take that long time to obtain the knowledge when you are passionate about it.

19:29 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
It's just, don't have to be passionate necessarily, but just if it's voluntary. If the child decides now I want to do that, then they will sit down and do it and they will do it pretty quickly. So I mean, you asked two different questions, actually. One is how do they learn what they are supposed to learn? And the other one was how do they get into college? And that's two different things. And I think getting into college, you have to get your shoulders down and remember well, we can start working on that when they're 15.

We could also start when they are 12, but we don't have to start when they are six Because it's actually not necessary. So, and once you get to that point, you probably have some other unschooling friends. You're in some groups with unschooling parents. You have some general idea. What college is it? What subject is it? If it's languages, maybe you start working with those areas. But if the kid wants to be a doctor, maybe you start in another corner and you unravel all these academics. But the child will be interested in it and will want to do it, and then the motor will be explosive on that train.

20:35 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
It will be self-directed. It will not be enforced by the parent, it will be the child that see hey, there is this option over here. I really want that. One episode you should listen to is one we have made with Jessica Jacobs, who is the founder of what she called ditch school, where she actually helps people navigate that whole field, because you can take college in many ways and you can start. It is about understanding the system and, as a parent for unschooled or homeschooled child, you get to know more about what is actually needed and what is not needed. You get to read a lot, but the interest grows, also from the parent side. So there is ways, there are loads of ways and it is absolutely, as Cecilia says, not something I would worry about at all before I have a child that is at least 12 or 13. So much more important stuff is going on than a child's life.

21:41 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
And say between 12 and 14,. My personal experience is that they need a lot of peace At that time. You need them be, because so much happens on the inside that if I came and started pushing for, you know, preparing for college or weird stuff like that, they would just freak out. They need the space. That's another critique we have of the whole curriculum-based childhood being homeschooled or schooled. Schooled is that the parents have this huge agenda on where the mind of the child has to go and where the working hours, the energy has to go in the child's life. And really moving yourself from being six years old to being 16 years old and still be a healthy and happy person at 16, it takes a lot of inner work and that inner work there will be no space for if they have to just do whatever I come up with, learn Latin and dance and whatever. So when they are between 12 and 14, in my experience is an explosion on the inside and I wouldn't push for any college preparation. I wouldn't push for college preparation period.

But if I was to push for it, well, I have done it. Actually I've done it a little bit. I've talked to my older kids about you know it's a nice card to have on your hand in life and education and actually it's pretty fun to study. So have you considered getting ready for you know, just giving yourself that option, why not? If you're studying math anyway, why not just do the exam and then you're ready for it? I've talked to them about that and I will totally accept it if they don't want to do it, but I've done it after that explosion that they have at the early teenage years, because they don't need it at that point really. Yeah.

23:35 - Samuel KingDavis (Guest)
That's good. That's a good answer. So many questions here. He's asking about work.

23:47 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
And Sam, we can even do one episode more, if that's it.

23:53 - Samuel KingDavis (Guest)
I think we're gonna have to yeah, yeah.

23:57 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
But there's an unanswered question. You asked how do you make sure your child learns what is required in your country? And in the end, I mean you have to find out what is required in your country. Some countries it's completely illegal to homeschool. Some countries it's very, very free. Some countries have tests every year. So I can't really answer that question because it will differ for all the different countries. But what I would do if I wanted to unschool my child is to find out where are the other unschoolers in this country, and then I would reach out and ask them what they know about the laws and how to move around it as an unschooler, because there's always well there's usually a way.

In some countries you actually have to move out, Like Sweden, for example. You can't do it in Sweden, but most countries there are ways around it and maybe you unschool, which is the principle of, you know, not pushing the child in any academic way. Let them do what feels right for them. But maybe you do it in a context where there is a test every year, and it's math and English, let's say, and you have to talk to your child about. You can have all this freedom, but we live under these laws and you can't have that freedom if you don't pass that test. I'm sorry, but that's how it is. Just like you know, when you're out of money, you're out of money, you can't buy a new pair of roll skaters, it's just. You know, I'd like to give it to you, but I can't because we need to eat. So, in the same way, sometimes you're just going to have to let your child know.

This is the reality. We will make sure you pass that test. I will help you, and it's only about the test. It's not about me thinking that you have to learn it. Some families have to do that, and then they have to do that, and then they do it, and then they are happy. It takes about three hours work a week and gains a lot of freedom. I mean, all the other hours are free.

So, but I can't answer the question for your specific situation, obviously, and all the listeners will be in different countries. The other element of how do you make sure they learn what they're supposed to learn can sometimes be more general and be about you know, and then you have to go on the inside of your own agenda and find out. Is there anything you think they are supposed to learn? Do you believe in that narrative that there are things kids are supposed to learn and that you as a parent will fail if you did not secure that they learned that? That's worth a thought and I don't think we should start talking too much about it because that could take me about two hours, but it's worth thinking about.

26:37 - Samuel KingDavis (Guest)
The one thing that I wanted to throw in. I'm sure you've heard this a lot, but I've noticed there's some things that I'm learning about now, right before I turned 40, that I'm learning them, and every paragraph I read or every insight that I come across, I'm like why did they not teach me this in high school? Like, all of the basics are grade school. You know like especially emotional regulation, conflict resolution. You know how to work properly in social groups and be compassionate and how to like regulate my own emotions and all of these things and also balance my checkbook and invest money properly and take care of my finances properly. Like all that stuff.

Nobody taught me that it was all like civil war history, this and you know the piece of civil war history that we want you to know about, not that other part, not the part that was written by the people who lost, you know, or whatever you know. So, yeah, I find it's like very. It's very like you know Rockefeller kind of. You know factory worker based education system and the stuff that really would help to empower me and really helped me to get a good head start in life so I could have that time freedom later on in life or even earlier in life. That stuff is not taught to me, only the stuff that will keep me like focused on work and more education, academia.

27:59 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
So the but just to yeah, please, no, no, just a quick one. There's even a greater depth to that, and we have done two great episodes, one with Erica Davis-Petra and one with Akila Richards, who are both strong black women who unschooled their children, and we had a dialogue about what is it actually you're putting your child into if you're black in America. Who wrote those storybooks? What are their agenda? How do they look upon it? And the reason I'm just mentioning this part of the story is, if there is a curriculum, someone have decided what it is and you as a parent need to ask yourself if you agree with that curriculum before you outsource the responsibility for your child's well-being to someone else.

It's a really big decision to take, actually, and nowadays I become baffled. I wasn't when I was thinking, oh, we need our kids in school. It was just like that's how it is. But now, with the knowledge I have today, I'm baffled that people take that decision so lightly that they say to themselves oh yeah, I put my kid over here because that's how it is, without asking what are the ones who teach my child? Do I know the people over there? How are they as people? Will my child come emotionally healthy through this episode, the whole learning, whatever you need to learn in life. That can come. I learn stuff every day still. I mean what I learned in public school and high school and whatever. It's not what I have created my life upon. All that is self-directed and it is a really big decision to take and say do I trust the people over here? Do I want to outsource those years of my child's life to someone else?

30:02 - Samuel KingDavis (Guest)
Yeah, that's very well said, very well put. I actually did want to ask, like this is another question. I'm sure that you get a lot, but it's like what type of income situation or like earning situation you guys have, seems that it's conducive to this kind of thing. But what about people who are either both working or, like in our case, I work 60 hours a week in the summer and 20 hours a week through the winter, like that? So, but basically you're around, when you add it all together, I'm full-time, more than full-time working. So just wondering, like, how that works out for like a one full-time parent or maybe both full-time parents, or how that works for people Like, do you find that you have more time or you have less time, or what's the?

30:57 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
Well, we all have the same time. Yeah, yeah. That's how time works. It's brutal to say it, but that's how time works.

And it's probably the most precious thing that we have. It cannot, we cannot even try to understand how precious it is. Even when we think we know, we don't know. So it looks different in all families. There are so many ways people come up with solutions. We've been fortunate that Yespa has been able to make enough money for us to live off for the entire time. Sometimes we've been wealthy, sometimes we've been struggling financially. We always felt that the time we have together is the most precious thing we have. So we are willing to go down, not to the last dollar, because that's too stressful, but very close, in order to keep at least me and the children free from having to show up at a specific time at a specific place so that the kids can be on school. That's how we do it personally, but I have seen many different ways. I've also seen families where, at the end, you let the children look after each other. You have maybe neighbors, grandparents. You have play groups with other unschooling families where you simply take turns going to the park and give each other some space to work.

You start questioning everything once you start unschooling it. At some point you also question how much money do I actually need? Is there another way to finance my life? Is there a way my kids could join me at work Sometimes, not all the time, but could it work that they were just around? They do grow up. It's not that they are very small all of the time. I don't think I have a very clear answer, because what I see is just that everyone will find their way.

I almost died from cancer 13 years ago and at that point, back when we came out of that and we started unschooling and we had an extra child and that whole process, the first few years after the cancer, I realized very clearly that I would rather live in my car than I would go to work.

I would rather have my moments with my children, because I was so close to losing everything, to dying from them. It became very clear for me, and now that's basically what I do. I have a very nice car now, a van conversion, so it's nicer than it sounds. But once you get clear on what you really want and what's really important, then the perspective changes. We talked to a single mom who had been unschooling and she said that in the beginning, when she decided to unschool, she couldn't do it because she needed to make money. But what she could do was to sit down and make a plan to see how can I make this work, and then work on that plan, and it took her a few years, but she did finally arrive at a point where she could take her child out of school.

And he was on board the sun. I'm working for this. I can't do it right now, but now I'm 20% down that road.

34:23 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
She did it that way. And.

34:26 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
I know it's a very unprecise answer, but it really is the reality that unravel your ideas, question everything, see if you can find a way, see if you can get halfway there. I mean, that's pretty good, isn't it? And then from halfway point, once you're there, everything will have changed so you can make a new plan. It might be an easier plan than what you think. At this point, the only thing we do know about life is that it changes all the time, right?

34:58 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
One of the big changes I had in my life was when we started to take our children home. We did that after Cecilia had cancer. It felt so wrong to put them to a kindergarten and I remember I came home and I was a dad who was a lot less stressed, because it's about how reality changes. Before I needed to make sure my kids were awake at a certain time every morning, which meant I need to make sure they went to bed at a certain time each evening to get into bed, and then I need to get them ready Sleepy children who you need to put into, like this, many, many layers so they can stand the winter in Denmark or Prague. When you bite them to wherever they need to be. It's not a happy relationship you have with your child while you're trying to put on a glove or something you know and trying to put some food down their throat and so you can get going, and it needs to be quick because that needs to go to work. It was not fun.

But then my reality changed. I didn't need to make the kids ready. The kids could stay up. It means I had more time with my children in the evening, so even though I was the one going out, going to work. I got so much more quality family time based on that.

I had mornings. Sometimes I missed my family in the morning because they slept in late. Why should they wake up when I needed to go to work? So I was quiet. But I also learned to enjoy those mornings and then I have the whole evening with my children without needing to force them to go to bed because they needed to get up and so I could drive them somewhere so I could be at a place at a certain time. It was so relaxing and that is one of the big gifts is that a lot of what you think is normal routines are based upon the fact that you have decided to outsource some of the time you have with your child to either a nursery home when they're young, or kindergarten or school. It determines so super much in your life. It determines where you live. It determines which friends you get because you're kind of hanging out with the other parents. It is a very big factor in what goes on in your life and it is not necessarily one you would choose if you didn't need to do it.

37:37 - Samuel KingDavis (Guest)
You mean as far as the schooling goes, right?

37:40 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
As far as the school, as far as the hanging out with a set amount of people you haven't chosen, but the children are there. Would I wake up my children in the morning if they didn't need to be somewhere? No, I would just let them sleep. And the whole part is also if you want your child to go to the same school because you believe that gives a perfect childhood, that you go to the same school the whole life, then you are set to live that set time of your life in that area. You're set to make a certain income based on that. You wanted to have your child in a school. You maybe even need two incomes because you wanted to have your child in a school.

Yeah and depending on the school.

38:25 - Samuel KingDavis (Guest)
That's another thing that I didn't even think about. But that kind of helps out which is like if you're not paying for a private school, then you have that extra money as well, so you need to work less to earn that money that you're Exactly.

38:37 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
Yeah, that's expensive here. Oh sorry, go on.

38:41 - Samuel KingDavis (Guest)
Yeah, the schools that we look at the more like Montessori or other specialty kind of education schools. That's really expensive. I mean it's like a whole.

38:53 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
I mean, but just a quick one Some of the realities about putting a child in school and also, what do they then need to have? What are the extra costs? Is there a certain fashion they need to follow to not be bullied, and stuff like that, where, if you're just at home hanging out with other homeschooled, you can buy the clothes in secondhand and just be chill. Life is good. Yeah, and those Cecilia has a point.

39:17 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
It was more or less the same. It's just you have more control over your. I mean, we have many times been in a situation where we had to pull back on our expenses, but it's easier to do when the kids are not going out every day. Our kids are pretty big now, they are all teenagers and I'm sure if they had a high school life they would quote unquote need money for going to cafes, they would need more fancy clothing, they would need bus tickets. I mean even that we can actually decide Now.

We sit down for two weeks and we will just study the books we already have, we play the board games we already have, eat rice and tomato, look at the sun or the rain and decide to be happy, listen to music, exercise whatever we, if one is juggling and another is doing push-ups, whatever. All these things are free and the rice and tomatoes are very cheap. And two weeks like that you save a lot of money compared to a normal life with commute and bus tickets in school weekend discursions. You lose a lot of control if you let it out there in the normal life. And I'm not saying we've done the rice and tomato plan many times, actually, we have only done it once or twice over more than 10 years period, but it's nice to know that we can do it and I think, yeah, as I said before, once you start questioning everything it starts to unravel, and the amount of options you suddenly have that you didn't know you had, it's huge.

41:00 - Samuel KingDavis (Guest)
Yeah, that's definitely an experience that I'm sure you guys have had. I know I have. It's about commitment. It's like once I change my, if there's an option to do a thing, I want to learn something, it's like, okay, I'm going to commit to that for five years or two years or six months or 10 years or whatever. It's like it automatically says no to everything else. And then the path that I choose, things start to kind of magnetize. This person brings it up, or the hash networking, social media networking is like feeding my Instagram feed with that. So I'm seeing like other resources and then I'm talking about it. So my friends are telling their friends and then they introduced me to somebody that does this. It's kind of like automatically kind of aligns, magnetizes in that direction and partially because it's like saying no to everything else, so, yeah, I can see how that would happen. Once you make that decision, then it's like the world kind of opens up a little bit, the possibilities open up it, does it, does it changes a lot it changes a lot.

42:09 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
You can always ask yourself, Sam, what's the worst that can happen you can. I mean, the school system is there, they don't go anywhere.

42:19 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
You can just try it out for a few years. Yeah, yeah, I mean, I would say years.

42:23 - Jesper Conrad (Host)

42:24 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
Even one year can be too short to really know how life as an unschooler looks.

42:31 - Samuel KingDavis (Guest)
Well, we were kind of coming close to the end. But I do have one more question, which is more of a broad one that Kate proposed, which is good. She, what is the benefit of fully unschooling your child? Because there's been some like, when I've brought it up, it was met with an immediate no. Because, like Kate feels like she would be taking well, she would, she would be taking the majority of the responsibility of that because I work so much. So we talked a little bit about okay, well, maybe we do like half days or partial kind of, we kind of customize the education Zelda and our kids still go away at some point, but mainly maybe we do like 50% education at home, stuff like that. So I guess the question what is the benefit to a full unschooling life? Yeah, like, if you had like how old is your?

child. She's only two and a half, but we're going to have three.

43:37 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
Yeah, but but I'm like, what is it you need to learn when you're three, four, five, six or seven years old?

43:44 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
It's a long perspective, it makes sense.

Yeah, yeah, and so the benefit of doing it full time compared to doing it half time. Many unschoolers would say you can't unschool half time because unschooling is about sending that signal and having that reality for the child that there is no curriculum, your time is yours, your motivation is right. If what you want to do is to learn to braid hair, it's just as important and and well, yeah, important as if you what you wanted to do was to learn to read. There's no push, you can do whatever you want and I will support you in whatever your journey is. That's the most radical unschooling point of view and it's a philosophy. It's about not putting the child in that situation where there is a curriculum based idea of whether he, he or she is doing good enough or not. You can, of course, to some extent, be an unschooler who leaves your child in in some sort of other people's care situation, but it takes a lot of conflict with the school and also you have to be very clear with your child while you're doing it. You know you have to be in the school because I really have to work and I don't care what you do. Make the best of your time, make sure you're not stepping on anyone's toes or making anyone's set. Whatever you want to say, I don't care what you learn, I don't care whether you learn or not. I just have to do this because I have to go to work. I'm not even going to look at your results. If you bring them home, I'm happy with whatever that is a feasible way of doing something that comes close. But really, what will happen in reality is that inside the school, the child will have friends and those friends will be in that system of you know. Whatever you do, someone is there to tell you whether you did it right or not, and there will be the competition between the children.

Who is doing best? And it's a stretch to call it unschooling. It really is. You can do it for a while. The benefits I don't think we have. Can we sum it? I don't think we have time. The benefit is that you have a wholehearted person and that you get to live your life. You get to live your life as a parent. You're not a policeman working for the school system ensuring that their laws are being followed. You're a real person with real opinions and real emotions and real good days and bad days, as you said before about your own high school experience, that you learned a lot of things, that in hindsight you're like, yeah, they were just teaching me to do what they think.

46:49 - Samuel KingDavis (Guest)
Or it was this propaganda I found out later, or it wasn't true. Well, whatever.

46:53 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
You get to talk to your kids about the things that you find really important, because you'll have the time for it. And the kids get to have their hours on this planet because they actually belong to them, and they get to unfold what they can be passionate about. And they get to make mistakes, and they made themselves and found out themselves that it was mistakes. It's not like an A, b or C on the bottom of a piece of paper. It's actually me failing, something that I wanted to do. I should do better next time or adjust my ambition, whatever. So the benefits well, how can you get your life back?

47:35 - Samuel KingDavis (Guest)
Also what you said used the word wholehearted, and it's also like when I think about the lessons that I've learned outside of school or by doing an activity or voluntary participation in group activities, the lessons are more holistic as well, because they're applied to basically how I'm working with these particular people or this team and the consequences are there's more complex consequences as opposed to the school system, which is just basically, this hour you're here, this hour you're there, this hour you're here. So it's very artificial, it's like a very artificial environment. Yeah, so a lot of the lessons have to do specifically with, like we said earlier, something that someone decides that you need to learn and it doesn't necessarily apply to everyday life, because a lot of the lessons that I've learned outside of school have been lessons that I could apply that knowledge to other areas as well. It's not just specifically mathematics or something like project-based stuff.

48:40 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
The problem is that what you're learning school on the meta level is that you learn that you are not in charge. It's not up to you to know what's right for you to learn that someone else will tell you whether you learned it in a good way or a bad way. Someone else will tell you whether you did well or not, and just that will spread to your presence on this planet. You will be, if you don't work with it afterwards, somewhat addicted to this appreciation. Did I do good enough Not by your own standards, but by some standard that you need someone to give you a standard and then tell you afterwards whether you met it or not? And that's a very, very unhealthy way to be in your life. We all need to uninstall that. So well, what's the benefit, you asked? Well, I think that's the benefit of being unspilled.

That you don't have that and what do they call?

49:45 - Samuel KingDavis (Guest)
it when someone imprisons you and then you become like friends with that person that imprisons you. What do they call that? There's like an effect.

49:53 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
It's nice, it's. There's the Stockholm syndrome, stockholm syndrome.

49:58 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
Yeah, it's a little bit like that.

50:01 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
Because one recommendation I have.

50:03 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
I think I'm going to have to just say it on the podcast, because I have something else in three minutes.

50:08 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
Yeah, I know.

50:09 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)

50:10 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
There is Unschooling was the term coined back by John Hall so many, many years ago. It is not doing, it is kind of doing it. This service to what all this is about. Now, self-directed learning is growing more and more. As a way to talk about it, there is the Alliance for Self-Directed Learning. There's so many cool things out there. Of course, unschooling is doing something, is defining yourself about what you're not doing. But what this really is is that your kids and yourself will become self-directed in what they choose to do in life. I like that a lot better, but unschooling is just the term.

It's the word I'm really not posting and when you're looking for what you should do in the coming years, you can ask yourself are we looking for a placeholder, a place we can put our child while we need to do something else that is valuable for us? It can be just making money. Or if you're super passionate about doing the work you're doing and don't feel you have time to be together with your child, and you can solve that in another way than putting them to a school. There is and I can't remember the proper name, if they're called agile learning centers or whatever. You can even create one where it is. Hey, here it's just hanging out, there's one or two parents, it is a client on-school paradise. There is absolutely no need for learning. But we are here. We facilitate if they want to learn something and these are growing and popping up, and the States is a wonderful place if you want to go down that road, but people have started to create them themselves in Europe, so I would suggest you look into that.

52:01 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
And I think we have to take a take two yeah.

52:04 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
Sam, we would love to answer a lot more of your questions.

52:07 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
Cecilia unfortunately needs to go and we are rounding it up, so it's always interesting to get to talk about these things, because we've been doing it for such a long time that I rarely talk about it. But then you ask me good questions and ask us good questions, and then I feel like I still have work to do to become concise and how I explain what this really is. So it's been a very nice conversation and I think if you have a list of questions I'm up for doing it around too, if you feel you've got any knowledge worthwhile at all.

Well, he gets to say no. Yeah, I know, I know, I know I know.

52:47 - Samuel KingDavis (Guest)
Yeah, it was really good and I'm definitely interested in doing another one. And yeah, I'll check out the self-directed, the Alliance for Self-Directed Learning. I need to look into it a little bit more, but I think it's important to ask these questions for people who are interested in it, just because there's kind of like it reminds me of, like, when I first came to Europe I had all of these fears and then when I moved, when I was here for like the second week, I realized 95% of those weren't even real and I couldn't even put a name on them. It was just this overall kind of anxiety and fear. And I think, because people are so used to that system, then, like they have those fears but really, if you just shine a light on them, I think a lot of them will kind of melt away.

53:29 - Cecilie Conrad (Host)
So, yeah, so I appreciate your time yeah. That's been fun.

53:34 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
That's what we have tried to do today shine a light on the fears, to remove them. Thanks a lot for your time. We look forward to it. Take two Thanks again.

53:43 - Samuel KingDavis (Guest)
guys have a great one.

53:45 - Jesper Conrad (Host)
Thank you for listening. We hope you enjoyed today's episode and if you liked that, then please share it with all your friends and family. We would also love it if you gave our podcast a review. Thanks, and if you want to support our podcast and work, then you can find us on patreoncom slash the Conrad family. We will continue to travel full time and if you want to tag along, then please follow us on Facebook and Instagram at the Conrad family, and you can also read more than 100 blog posts on our website, theconradfamily. Until next time, make a wonderful day, thank you.


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