A Great Year, A Better Year

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“One Improved Unit” is an original column appearing sporadically on Monday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by the founder and editor Skyler J. Collins. Archived columns can be found here. OIU-only RSS feed available here.

Last year (2013) was a good year for me. My kids got older, their parents got wiser, our family grew by two dogs, we made new friends, my son discovered new digital adventures, my daughter discovered a budding passion for artistic expression, my wife finished one book for publication and is working on another, and I’ve managed to keep the promise I made to myself to write a new column every week.

New Ideas

I’ve learned new things and new ideas from books, movies, television shows, friends, colleagues, intellectual compatriots, and, more importantly, intellectual opposition. There’s nothing I’ve come to enjoy more than a good discussion with someone who disagrees with me. My father is a prime example as a progressive liberal, and many an after-dinner discussion/debate took place throughout the year.


My wife and I have grown closer and become better at understanding and responding to the needs of our children. Unfortunately, every day they grow their needs seem to change. We must continually re-evaluate our approach in light of their growth. We often lose focus and start to revert to old ways, but we’re getting better at catching each other and providing needed counsel. We’ve made new friends with like-minded people, and each seen our own families grow in number.

A New Year

Here we are at the beginning of another year. I don’t care to confine my resolution making to January, but I do have some current resolutions that are worth mentioning. I launched a podcast to discuss voluntaryism, markets, parenting, unschooling and self-improvement. I love talking about these things, as does my friend and co-host Phil Eger, so we hope to produce at least 52 new episodes in 2014; maybe more. I will continue writing weekly and blogging more frequently. My large print book offerings will continue to increase. I may even finally get around to publishing a second compendium; I have so many ideas (remember Everywhere Stateless?, it’s half-way completed), but not enough interest with everything else taking priority. We’ll see.

Final Thoughts

I can honestly say that last year was a great year for me and my family. Every one of us grew, learned new things, and saw new places. This year we plan on doing likewise. Unschooling has given us so much time together. I can’t imagine my children living any other way. They’re as happy as can be exploring their worlds and passions. Here’s to a new year of memories and emotions.

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Founder and editor of Everything-Voluntary.com and UnschoolingDads.com, Skyler is a husband and unschooling father of three beautiful children. His writings include the column series “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” and “One Improved Unit,” and blog series “Two Cents“. Skyler also wrote the books No Hitting! and Toward a Free Society, and edited the books Everything Voluntary and Unschooling Dads. You can hear Skyler chatting away on his podcasts, Everything Voluntary and Thinking & Doing.