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I recently ordered the first volume of P.S. Pirro’s new zine, unschooling diaries (no. 1 “In Media Res”) from Mud River Press. It’s a lovely little 16-page booklet bound with twine. P.S. is a blogger, artist, author, and (as is evident from the title of the zine) an unschooler.

I’m a novice in the zine genre, so I won’t attempt to review this in the context of zines as an established medium, or the culture of self-published magazines. I will say that — as much as I love blogging and love reading other peoples’ ideas on the internet — there’s something tangibly delicious about actually holding a physical object that has been created by another human being. The texture of the paper and twine, the ink on the page. The font chosen, the images used. There’s something in that experience that I find uniquely pleasing.

Perhaps that’s the librarian in me talking? I dunno. But just the pleasure of holding an actual physical copy of unschooling diaries somehow seemed well worth the $3 cover price. Even before I opened the volume.

diaries reads like a cross between a chapbook and someone’s commonplace book. Each page contains a distinct thought or idea, although arranged together they do create something sustained and connected. Integrated. I think my favorite idea might have been this one (p. 2)

How to unschool
1. Don’t go to school
2. Find stuff you like to do
3. Do that stuff
Some unschoolers choose to go to school.
Find the operative word in that sentence.
Hint. If it isn’t a choice,
it isn’t unschooling.
There are dogmatic homeschoolers just like there are dogmatic believers in schooling. I’ve always appreciated that my folks consciously chose not to go the dogmatic route, and instead worked with my siblings to find a middle way … both of them ultimately attended public school (one part-time, one full-time). And yet my parents still considered our family a “homeschooling” family. Because the point was that we were forming a life that worked for us, and tailoring the learning experience for each of us kids. It’s about the philosophy of childcare and about how we understand human nature and the relationship of human beings to the natural and social world. Not about whether or not you set foot in school spaces.
Anyways. That’s about all I can say about unschooling diaries thus far. If you’re interested, you can purchase your own copy at Mud River Press or follow P.S. at her blog: unschooling & other persuasions.