Another thing clarified at Joyfully Rejoycing that I'd believed for a long time but she expressed so well is that telling someone that the advice their giving isn't unschooling is NOT a judgement about the validity of what they are saying, it is simply a statement of fact. Much like I would give different directions to get to the different pizza places in town. It isn't morally wrong to give directions to Imo's- in fact I like Imo's a lot. But if you wanted directions to Pizza Inn then my directions are wrong for what you are trying to learn in this moment. The advice unschoolers share should bring us closer to unschooling. Another educational philosophy might be valid, might be better in some situations, and might even be necessary at times but just because it is the best way to meet someone's needs doesn't mean it is unschooling.
I was having a difficult time with this because of conflicting advice I was receiving from more seasoned homeschoolers who all identified themselves as unschoolers. In discussions I could see the rational and thinking of several viewpoints and many people had grown children who were happy, well adjusted, and successful (by my definition of success). I was confusing understanding a point of view with understanding unschooling. Now I see that I was elevating unschooling to be THE way to do things so I was trying to fit all of the wonderful advice I was given under that umbrella. Now I see that unschooling is A way to do things, and THE way that WE are doing things right now.
This is an important distinction because it helps me see more clearly what decisions I should make when conflicting viewpoints seem valid. They probably are both valid but that doesn't mean they are both unschooling. If I truly want to follow this path then that should be my deciding factor in that situation. Now, if the advice that follows the unschooling philosophy doesn't seem valid then that is a different situation altogether. I dig deeper to gather more facts and then make the best choice for my family. I'm not ruled by the unschooling philosophy but when all else seems equal I will choose to use it as a guiding principle.