One of the stereotypes about unschooling is that it's just for kids who are spectacular in some way. Well, I'm going to break a mommy rule and say: my kids aren't particularly special. I mean, I adore them and all, but they're not geniuses. They're quirky and strong willed, and in some ways that makes unschooling easier - it keeps me honest - but nothing earth shattering here. What unschooling lets them do is be who they are and focus on what's meaningful to them. It lets me, as a parent, focus on who they are and what's meaningful to them, rather than what they "should" be doing to stay on some educational timeline.
Unschooling kids don't learn because they're geniuses, they learn because people are naturally curious. The trouble is that there are things adults would really rather kids learn for reasons that, frankly, aren't about kids as they are. They're reasons about an imaginary future that may not be related to our kids' strengths and interests and personalities. And they're reasons about our own desire to seem to be "good parents". So it's easy to read articles about miraculous unschooling poster children and think "well that's not my kid." It's sure not either of mine! Most unschooling kids are just kids. Wonderfully unique and beloved, but just regular kids doing regular kid stuff. The kind that mostly doesn't make for good blog posts. And yet they still manage to pick up basic skills and a fairly standard body of culturally relevant knowledge - because people are curious and want to know how to navigate the world they live in.
In some ways, one of the most striking things about being an unschooling parent is getting to see the extent to which school obfuscates learning. All that hard work school kids do turns out to be a lot of sound and fury.