Last winter, Blake and I tried to start a grown unschooler house in Asheville. He posted it on his website. We talked it up to other unschoolers and advertised it on facebook. We looked at rental properties in Asheville and brainstormed about how to get around neighborhood associations. We ran into resistance from property owners who didn’t want twelve young adults (or five) suddenly moving into their rental houses. We discovered an old brothel law on the books in Buncombe County which states that it is illegal for more than four unrelated adults to occupy the same residence.
Eventually, we gave up. We rented a two-bedroom house, found a roommate, and lived happily ever after. For six months, until the house got sold out from under us and we had to move.
We knew that other people had group houses in Asheville, and we still really liked the idea of starting an unschooler house. We just didn’t know how to get around the property issue. It seemed like all of our acquaintances who had started group houses owned property, and we weren’t in a position to purchase a 6BR/4BA at the drop of a hat. We put the scheme on the back burner for the time being.
Blake went off to travel for the summer, and I moved into the house of the Asheville Holistic Birth Collective in West Asheville. At one point, there were seven people living there- all women. The house was owned by our good friend Tara Dean, and there was an awesome workshop space downstairs, a chicken coop full of laying hens in the backyard, a lovely kitchen with a gas stovetop range, a compost pile, an enormous southern style front porch with a giant swing, and an adorable and functional clawfoot bathtub. We were walking distance from the grocery store, the health food store, and the city’s hottest bar and ice cream shop. Basically, it was fabulous.
In the early fall, Blake came home and we left to do some traveling. Tara found a subletter to rent our room while we were gone, and we headed north to work at Not Back To School Camp and the Writing Retreat. Tara checked in with us while we were at camp, letting us know that one of our current roommates was moving out and she was trying to fill the space. She had several possible replacement candidates and felt optimistic about them.
Then, one after another, like flaky dominoes, they fell through. By this time we had reached the Writing Retreat, and she contacted us with more news. The occupants of the other room- a totally awesome mother and daughter- were also leaving. Plus, the woman subletting our room was pregnant and planning on moving out and getting her own place soon. The awesome lesbian couple who had been living in the cute shed in the backyard had moved out and gotten married. Suddenly, we were looking at a totally empty house. Tara e-mailed us and asked when we could skype with her to discuss the situation.
The following afternoon, we sat down at Blake’s computer and connected with her via the Interwebs. Tara started us off with a question.
“How would you guys feel about starting an unschooler house?”
I was so excited I think I peed a little.
We went on to discuss logistics: Rent and utility costs, house fund, whether we would cook group dinners, how many bedrooms needed to be filled, and when she wanted to get this thing off the ground.
A few days later, she sent us a name and told us the website would be up and running within a week. And that brings us to today.
Ladies and gentleman, I’d like to present Asheville’s first unschooler house. It’s called The Roost: A Place Where Unschoolers Flock. The website should be available very soon, and I’ll post it as soon as it’s complete. It will contain more concrete details regarding costs, move-in dates, and so on.
Get yer applications in! Maybe we’ll be preparing a group dinner or playing an epic game of Settlers of Catan together soon.