Home/Unschooling Intentional Communities

A post about how the Universe answers my questions.

So, while I was browsing through various links friends had posted on Facebook, I came across an article (from 2000 written by Jerry Mintz) talking about homeschooling & unschooling cooperatives, learning centers and so on. He mentions a private school that is really a community in Texas where the students & teachers live together. I posted a link to this article to the Facebook crowd with a plea for information about the community in Texas that Jerry mentioned. Currently, no one has said that they know anything about this community.

I posted that on Monday night.

I went grocery shopping on Monday afternoon. While at the co-op, I glanced over and saw the magazine Communities. It was the Spring edition and the focus was on Family & Raising Children in Intentional Communities. I have to admit that I scoffed at the price, but was compelled by the Universe to purchase it.

I finally finished reading it last night and there towards the back, where the ‘Letters’ section was continued, was a short letter from Jerry Mintz (who BTW is the director of AERO, in case you were wondering). Jerry basically asks why it seems that children’s education is usually so low on the list of priorities for intentional communities, something that I’ve wondered myself. I’ve also wondered why many of the communities that do address education for children seem to insist that it either happens outside of the community OR that it happens at the school that the community has established. AND by school, I mean, it usually amounts to a school…not as terrible as most of us have endured, but rarely are they democratic or egalitarian (which is terribly funny when so many communities with this issue ARE democratic or egalitarian! Compulsory education is neither democratic nor egalitarian!) and though they might be freer and looser than a traditional public/private school, they aren’t Free (Free as in Liberty, not Free as in beer) and Unschooling seems to be a foreign concept.

Jerry goes on to say that he doesn’t understand why groups of homeschoolers haven’t gotten together and started intentional communities. Good questions, right? He says he only knows of one of these communities and then (Eureka!) he also mentions Greenbriar School in Texas! This would be the school in the article above that I wanted to know about! Well, they’re website is not very informative, but I suppose that’s why they list contact information!

No, I don’t want to move to Texas and no, I don’t want to enroll my son in a school run by an intentional community, but I DO want to make more of an effort to build a community of fellow Unschooling families up around us. I DO want to find more people who are willing and wanting to start an intentional community with families who are Unschooling or those families needing the extra support of a physical community to make the transition to Unschooling. I DO like the idea of living in a community where everyone is in the same book, if not on the same page, with each other’s philosophy of children and living in Freedom and Harmony with them.

I know White Hawk Ecovillage has a couple Unschooling families, but the aim of the community is not to gather up Unschooling families.

There is the blog that asks the question about an Unschooling community.

On Radical Unschoolers Network, there’s the group that stemmed from the blog and there’s always ‘talk’ by people who want a community on the forums there.

Maybe there are communities out there that for some reason don’t have a huge-ass banner announcing themselves. Well, please, start little. Start here and leave a link to your community that already exists and embraces Life Learning children.

If you are wanting to relocate to a community or have ideas for when/how/where for community, please leave your idea here or a link to your idea here.

And if you happen to be in or around Pittsburgh, PA and have been living under a rock…crawl out, leave a comment and let’s get together!

Peace & Love
Michele

If you are coming to this via Facebook, feel free to leave your comment in both places.

 

18 thoughts on “Home/Unschooling Intentional Communities

  1. Hi Michele,
    We have talked about this so much. The stumbling block always seems to be who gets to decide who can live there?

    I have met people who call themselves unschoolers who are clearly on a different path than us. This is fine, of course, but I would hate to move to a community and find the “unschoolers” are yelling and controlling parents, kwim?

    Ideally, I would LOVE to live in a small community (In my imagination it looks something like Sturbridge Village, but with some modern conveniences:) Where the families live together, garden together, play together. Where you can be free to run and play with each other, knowing that all the parents are looking out for the good of the kids. Where the adults encourage the kids and each other…It sounds heavenly.

    Let us know if you find such a place!

  2. “The stumbling block always seems to be who gets to decide who can live there?

    I have met people who call themselves unschoolers who are clearly on a different path than us. This is fine, of course, but I would hate to move to a community and find the “unschoolers” are yelling and controlling parents, kwim?”

    That’s a great point and obviously one that the core group of families would have to decide on as part of the ‘by-laws’ of the community, if you will. I’d imagine the process to be quite similar to communities that have a shared religion/non-religion and require members to testify their convictions and commitment to their particular faith/non-faith. That sounds kind of scary, but makes sense if that’s the focus of the community.

    I don’t know of many communities where members aren’t basically democratically voted on or decided on by consensus by all members (unless there is a particular committee in place for such a process). It would take some major discussions in the start up to get everyone on the same page about such matters.

    I’m glad to brought this point to light, Jean!

  3. @Jean Also, most communities have a visiting period and then a trial/probational period to make sure that you are making the right choice for yourself/your family AND that the community is making the right choice in having you join.

    It’s a HUGE thing to join an established community, but equally as huge to start one!

  4. Hey All:)

    I have LOTS of land down here in western North Carolina (1 1/2 hours west of Asheville, 2 1/2 hours north of Atlanta, 2 1/2 hours southeast of Knoxville)…the challenges would be that folks would have to “purchase” the land from my in-laws, the positives are that there is farm land available for share (smaller gardens) or lease (bigger gardens), the land is surrounded by hundreds of acres of undeveloped mountain forest and a mile of pristine riverfront on the Nantahala River, so someone who could only purchase a small parcel of land could still feel/live like a king! The property is also located along a small highway, so there are opportunities for small businesses…
    Sarah in WNC

  5. Hello from White Hawk. The critical mass creates the atmosphere in which freedom becomes a very normal thing. :) I love that there’s no talk of community work hours these days. We do what we want to do, communicate as it occurs to us to do so, and so far it all works out.

    We have 25 homesites left here out of thirty. :)

  6. I dream of finding a community such as you describe and would love to hear more on this topic! One caveat, no snow. I am not a snow person. Will check out the resources listed so far and hope this line of commentary continues.

  7. Hi, I have a dream for a long time living with other people whom unschool/homeschool, outdoors, gardening, nonsecular, open minded, natural healing/nature, arts, pot lucks, freedom, all ages, etc. We all are student and teachers, the greatest of masters know this. Set the buffet and take what you need. A give and take relationship to grow from, we all are always growing and learning in life’s journey and on many different paths in the adventure of life and there for each other in times of ups and downs a support network to all, the world, the universe and beyond… Marianne

  8. I’m with a group that is working toward founding an unschooling-friendly intentional community (mini-cohousing) in a multi-unit building in San Francisco in the first half of 2011, with the vision of adding adjoining properties later by trading easements with neighbors and taking down fences. Some of the residents will be unschoolers, and we intend to let some non-resident unschoolers use our common area frequently. You can read more about us at our website:

    San Francisco Backyard Neighborhood and Learning Center
    sfbackyard.wordpress.com

  9. OH Michele!!!!!Hi and Lovely this!!!! An amazing mama friend a mine just forwarded this to me an suggested I maybe place my ad to the Universe here…super excited by what I have read so far will re-read (I remeber Kelly Simpson from san Fran excited to hear how thay is) but in the meantime Thanks and would love to join in more discussion here part of my long term plan is tiny house community very unschoolie! :

    Hi friends! Thanks in advance, and if you will share with anyone you think this
    might be a good match for, or in your local lists so more RU’ers can see it!!!

    Seeking a home share for the holidays and possibly be-yond! Hi and I am Maggie,
    an awesome single mom to even awesome-er Rory, 8 year old boy and we are looking
    for an RU family!!!:) or RU friendly situation, ex you know someone really
    lovely who loves kids and needs a roomie in an area where there are plenty of
    unsChOOLers for us to meet up with or you have a tiny house already on your
    land:)…yeah, I dream big! I can either pay a small amount of rent for a space
    and potentially trade off childcare a few hours a week. I work part time online.
    Or even better I will trade cooking, or not cooking(playing with raw and living
    foods) for you or your family, being awesome and respectful and present with
    your kiddos, OMG live-in child care:):0, being a guide in the play of whole life
    learni
    ng (as we have been in this for quite some time and I have done a lot of work
    inside to be clearer about what living in freedom resembles;)), OR I can help in
    a MULTITUDE of ways for full or part exchange of space.
    And tiny is fine! I am working on a project to build our own tiny house home in
    the not too distant future and as I build and gather more support with that, I
    want to live sharing space and support! We have been downsizing for some time
    and the time to get even cozier is here! I desire to live very sustainably
    emotionally and physically while we do! For me living just my son and I is not
    ideal for either of us! My desire is more up close and personal community and
    co-creation. I feel certain the perfect situation for now is already here!! We
    have a community we are very interested in physically joining and the space is
    not ready yet and I have another AWESOME single Mom in mind but so, so far that
    timing and/or travel has not yet come to fruition. In the meantime and while
    things ebb and flow, we have a lot to offer a family or new friends who are open
    to sharing some space and adventures! We are in South Florida now and looking to
    start soon as I am letting our lil apartment by the beach go on the 15th of THIS
    month. Come on Universe…what do you have in store?????? Love Maggie

  10. I’m so interested in finding an intentional community in which to raise my child(ren?)
    I am attachie and greenie and plan to unschool but feel so isolated in suburbia even though I’m surrounded by people… but the fences are not only physical, unfortunately. I’m currently in NSW, Australia and planning to return to Ontario, Canada within a year or two. Something I hear often from expats is that they need to “settle down” before child A starts school. With unschooling I see the pressure to “settle” being massively relieved, but I still see the importance of a home-base and chosen or natural family to return to.
    I used to want a self-sufficient community where everyone can fulfil their purpose, but now it extends to include my child’s best interest. I think I’d be willing to move anywhere for that!

    1. We are starting a school in Eugene, OR. The school will be homestead based, with a handful of families and individuals that live on the land and tend to it, as well as participate directly or indirectly in the school. The school will be of mixed pedagogy, including unschooling, interest-driven learning, Waldorf, permaculture, place-based education, and Montessori. We will have a website soon, but we are basically just in the forming phase, collecting interested staff and seeking a location.

      1. Alicia, I am very interested in what you are doing. Eugene is the area that my family has picked to relocate to. My vision is to be a teacher on a community or for a private school, and teach the kids and possibly local kids as well. I have a degree in chemistry, and can teach all the way through high school science and math. If our visions are similar, I may be interested in joining you.

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