Unschooling can not be fully understood and grasped by limiting yourself to strictly reading about it without applying any of the principles behind it in reality. While reading and researching may lead to an understanding of its concept, without applying its practices in real life and being witness to the results, it will never be fully understood. I can read all day on how to milk a cow and have a basic understanding of the concept. However if I then went and actually tried to milk a cow, it would take some trial and error of real life experience to fully understand and actually be able to milk that cow!
For one to fully understand unschooling, they need to read and research a little, then apply the methods in real life a little, observe, witness and practice a few techniques that they had researched. Then they must read and research some more and practice a few more of the methods in real life, observe, witness, and be involved practicing the techniques. It is this process of continuation that will lead to a full understanding of unschooling and how it works. It can not be simply read about and then have a pretense of knowing what it is all about especially when one is in the frame of mind that education can only take place in a classroom or the imitation of a classroom at home.
You must experience the process in order to appreciate looking at learning through a new set of eyes. It is a process of steps between researching and trying that allows one to view learning in new ways and appreciate living it in every day life seeing it work. It is a beautiful dance of re-thinking everything you thought you once knew and seeing a new way of life unfold before you as you are a witness in the benefits of natural learning. Witnessing a child learning to read with no formal reading program and no coercion is an amazing thing to be witness of.
You can not be a visitor for a day and think you have a full understanding either for when learning is an ongoing process; a visit becomes only a tiny birds-eye view of a small fraction of the whole picture. You must be fully integrated with the child on a daily basis to see the whole picture. Only a whole picture leads to full understanding of unschooling that is not opinion filtered based off an hour or two observances as a visitor. It takes seeing learning in everything around you and being passionate about learning that leads to discovery of understanding.
Researching is great but in the end has limited potential with no outlet for hands on experience. Researching is nothing more than a tool however hands on experience provides for real understanding and is an affirmative action. Unschooling is a lot like scientific method. To gain a truly full understanding of it one must ask questions, do background research, construct hypothesis, test with experiment, draw conclusion based on results, then if hypothesis is false try again, if hypothesis is true report results. Without these steps the understanding of unschooling would be extremely limiting whether or not you think you know the best way a child should be educated or not.
This is not saying public education does not work; it defiantly has its place, will always be there and for some it does seem to work well for. On the other hand unschooling seems to work for some too. This is just saying to fully understand unschooling one can not only research and then stop there. The methods must be tried and practiced as well and these two need to be combined alternately in steps as you adapt and learn how to apply it in order to gain a true understanding and full spectrum of the concept.
I personally did not fully understand and embrace unschooling in the beginning. I researched for 2 years before I took the leap. When there were still things that confused me I asked people who were unschooling all sorts of questions. It was not until I took the leap into applying a few techniques at a time for awhile that I started to understand it. I then started the cycle of researching alternated with applying it which gained more understanding. It was not until my second year of living the unschooling lifestyle however that I truly understood it and embraced its radical approach to learning because I saw it working in amazing ways that blew my mind and gave me richer, deeper relationships with my children and husband.