The Labyrinth of Unschooling

We have been unschooling our children since birth. It has been an enlightening, healing and amazing journey to get to where we are today. It has taken us many years to fully understand the philosophy of non-coercive, respectful, peaceful parenting. Just when I think we have reached our destination in how we wish to parent, I learn that we have a long way to go before total enlightenment, peace and ease with how we live our unique life.

The other day, I wanted to take my children somewhere special for a walk. I am forever searching for new experiences and adventures for our family, so I had the perfect place for us to visit. We went to a labyrinth. I had never walked a labyrinth before and I was awestruck at how sacred a place it seemed to be. We walked up and over a grassy hill to see this amazing creation, where someone had carefully laid down hundreds of stones to create an incredible walking path. The stones had been there for a really long time because moss had grown all around them. It was just breathtaking. I knew we were somewhere very special.

A labyrinth is similar to a maze, but there is only one way through it. When you get to the center, and walk back out again, you have reached your destination. My children and I started following the stone-edged path leading in a circle. I had explained to them that I was going to contemplate while walking around it, as a note at the entrance had suggested. I never told them any certain way they had to “be” while walking it themselves, but as I went on, they followed closely behind me in total silence. I wonder now what they were contemplating. I tried to be totally present so I could really feel what emotions or feelings came up during this walk.

I really had such clarity in thought. I had known in theory what a labyrinth was used for, but I did not understand on a metaphysical level until I actually walked one. Just as I would think I was reaching the center of the labyrinth, it swept me around again even further away from the center than I thought I was. It was not frustrating to me; I was actually pleasantly surprised every time I thought I was coming to the center only to be swept around again. I enjoyed being together so much on this journey with my children.

During our last loop around, I could see the center was near. I felt a warm wave flow through my body as a realization bubbled to the surface of my thoughts. With fresh clarity, I understood our unschooling journey in a whole new way. Our journey has been much like this labyrinth! Just as I think I am coming to a greater understanding and getting to the destination, the place I strive to be, I am pleasantly swept further around as I come to even a deeper level of understanding of this incredible life with my children.

As we walked back around, in the other direction, I was left to contemplate my journey. Every time I walk my own, personal labyrinth, I learn to let go a little bit more, I understand my children’s perspective a bit more or I heal from my past a bit more. Every time around I feel closer to my destination.

But does this labyrinth ever end?  When it comes to unschooling, does one ever really get to the center, the destination of their own, personal journey? Is it more about that long, peaceful walk, the journey; and not the destination at all? I may never know, but I find great comfort in trusting that as I navigate toward my own center of understanding, it will be peaceful and joyous because we will be walking hand-in-hand through our own, unique unschooling labyrinth together.


  1. Whow. I’m deeply touched. This is so clear and precise. So calm and loving. It makes me breath deeply. Love.
    Labyrinth, yes.

  2. Wow..really inspiring…I need a labyrinth walk to contemplate on.

  3. Julie Bunker says

    I enjoyed that post thank you.
    Here in the UK many of us spend a week together at HesFes -the Home Educators Summer Festival.
    There are workshops of all types, included in the price, all day for the children and a music festival every night.
    It’s a chance to catch up with old friends from all over the country, make new ones and experience new ideas and activities. HesFes is unmissable in our unschooling household.

    The logo of each Hesfes is a Labyrinth-and it’s a different one each year.
    whilst these days it is there all week for people to walk, time is allocated for people to walk the Labyrinth together-and as we wend our way through, you meet different people at different times as the direction of the Labyrinth changes.

    It’s a lovely experience.

    • Hi Julie, Thank you for sharing about Hesfes! I was in London two years ago speaking at the London Unschooling Conference. It happened to be at the same time as Hesfes so we weren’t able to attend, but we do look forward to coming sometime in the future!


      • Julie Bunker says

        I know you were-we weren’t at that conference because we were at HesFes!

        It would be lovely to have you at HesFes-and I know you’d be very welcome to do a an Unschooling Workshop there!

  4. Harriet Goren says

    Beautifully put! Thank you.

  5. This is a lovely metaphor! Thank you so much for being positive and uplifting about the unschooling lifestyle. Positivity goes a long way in encouraging people (like me) who are still new to all this and are trying to deschool ourselves, and unschooling advocates can sometimes be a bit impatient with those of us who are still trying to “get it.” Your writing is always encouraging and welcoming, and that means a lot to me.

  6. Thank you for this beautifully written post Dayna. How wondrous is the unique learning journey of every family (and that of every person within the family)! I love that our children always have more to teach us!I love unschooling because it celebrates uniqueness and learning journeys, freedom and love. Thanks for promoting it so beautifully ❤

  7. michelle gregg says

    Thank-you so much Dayna,I am so glad we found unschooling because of you and now this is our life no
    looking back we are on an incredible journey and love everyday of it. I feel like I am on a continual high
    knowing our lives are only getting better, each day is a new experience .

  8. Dave Jardine says

    Ditto to Julie-Anne’s comment!

  9. Danya,thankyou for expressing so clearly and joyously the love and freedom we have, to discover by choice,how blessed are we for listening for tuneing in,for tapping into something that is healing,truthful and everpresent,deep praise to you

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