A few days ago

Has anyone heard of “unschooling”?

Has anyone heard of “unschooling”?

Top 10 Answers
A few days ago

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Have you ever described ‘red’ to a person who is color blind? Sometimes, trying to define unschooling is like trying to define red. Ask 30 unschoolers to define the word and you’ll get thirty shades of red. They’ll all be red, but they’ll all be different. Generally, unschoolers are concerned with learning or becoming educated, not with ‘doing school.’ The focus is upon the choices made by each individual learner, and those choices can vary according to learning style and personality type. There is no one way to unschool.

Here are some peoples ways of describing it:

Unschooling is primarily about process not content. The process of learning, the process of knowing yourself, openness, confidence, self-determination, independent thinking, critical thinking….none of which one gets when following other people’s agenda. Making one’s own agenda is what it is all about. Again this is done not in isolation but in the context of ones family and community. -Joel Hawthorne

Unschooling isn’t a method of instruction, it’s a different way of looking at learning. -Linda Wyatt

Unschooling is following your children’s lead. Allowing them to learn from a wide variety of experiences and resources. Start right from where you are and enjoy. -Sandy

An unschooling moment of realization (one of those things that you know, but have a moment of knowing it even more): Learning is learning whether or not it’s planned or recorded or officially on the menu. Calories are calories whether or not the eating is planned or recorded or officially on the menu.- Pam Sorooshian

Unschooling is like the old Open Classroom research and theories. If kids are given an interesting and rich environment they will learn. (All kids learn anyway, all the time.) -Sandra Dodd

Unschooling doesn’t mean not learning – it means learning without the trappings of school. Its not unlearning or uneducating. Its only unschooling – it points out a contrast in approaches to learning. My unschooled kids are learning as much or more than their schooled friends (and that includes home schooled or institution schooled).- Pam Sorooshian

I think John Holt’s ending in the book “How Children Learn” is a great definition of unschooling. “Birds fly, fish swim, man thinks and learns. Therefore, we do not need to motivate children into learning by wheedling, bribing or bullying. We do not need to keep picking away at their minds to make sure they are learning. What we need to do, and all we need to do, is bring as much of the world as we can into the school and classroom (in our case, into their lives); give children as much help and guidance as they ask for; listen respectfully when they feel like talking; and then get out of the way. We can trust them to do the rest.” – Lisa Wood


A few days ago
Yep. With my daughter, my eldest, we unschooled. With my younger boys, we’re eclectic homeschoolers; we do assign some structured math, writing, reading, & language arts, but for the rest of the subjects we go back and forth between unschooling and units.

Unschooling is completely child-led learning. The idea is that the most educational activities are those that have real meaning and are sparked by intrinsic motiviation. Instead of assigning work for a child, you provide an engaging, stimulating environment and encourage seeking and thinking. Life becomes one great big learning adventure.

Unschooling doesn’t mean the child will never learn in a traditional way, but that if and when the child does, it will be by choice. On occasion they will choose more traditional learning tools like textbooks and workbooks or ask for instruction, because it’s not something they associate as a negative activity; it becomes a viable option– a means to an end.

For example, they want to build a dog house out of scrap wood they found. They don’t know how to measure. They might as for you to teach them or pick up a text book and practice measuring, or they might just learn hands-on by trial and error. Either way, they’ve learned to measure things come the end of the project.


A few days ago
I am unschooled, and it’s badass.

There are a lot of misconceptions though, given that it’s at the edge of a fringe movement.

Some people say stuff like, “I unschool my son.” You do not unschool your child; your child is unschooled. Letting your kid pick between Textbook A and Textbook B is not unschooling. That’s called not being a complete control freak and acknowledging the fact that your kid knows what works for him.

If you impose something assignmentish on your kid, you’re not unschooling. If your kid _asks_ for a schedule, that’s another story. If your kid independently chooses to work out of textbooks in 40-minute intervals, that’s unschooling. The important component there is the kid’s choice.

Unschoolers -the ones who don’t have serious issues like drug addiction, which aren’t specific to any group- end up prepared for the lives they’re going to lead. That can be the hardest thing to accept. Some unschoolers will go on to college and become CEOs. Others will end up as very happy mechanics. Some will end up as monks.

Unschooling teaches you to follow your own path, and prepares you for the real world by putting you in there, instead of giving you pedantic ‘preparation’ and wasting 13 years of your life, and God knows how much of your tax money.


A few days ago
Yes, I boarder between school work and unschooling. For the school work portion my children have their own Math and English and a few others to help them along.

For the unschooling portions, when my children say what happened during WW 2 or the Revolution, etc. we just go to the library and study they learn alot more that way because they are interested in what they have chosen. Sometimes, I do bring up a subject that they need to think about and learn more about but it doesn’t have to be studied because of the grade they’re in and all the other children their age are learning project X, in a school room.

There are other people who fall to the other end of the spectrum and allow the children to ask before they even approach the subject including things like Math and English. This just doesn’t fit my family. Home Schooling like most other things is a lifestyle and a decision to make it a life style must also fit the family dynamics.


A few days ago
“unschooling” is the term used by homeschoolers who teach their children by the natural way that children learn. Whatever subject-whales, dinosaurs, etc the the child is interested in is used as the starting point. All the normal subjects are still taught the theme is simply about whatever the child is really interested in. Reading is focused on whales, writing assignments and spelling lists on developed from whales, history and science are studied using whales as a beginning point. Math is usually taught as math.

Unschooling is similar to magnet schools except that the ‘magnet’ or main interest changes as the child changes.

Unschooling does not mean not educating, not working or no homework. Unschooling is hard work on the part of the parents to ensure that all the needed lessons of the the grade level are covered.

Unschooling is also called child driven or delight driven because the child gets to choose what unit is used.

I use unschooling for my daughter and it has been very successful and she had made great progress.

Again ‘unschooling’ does NOT mean no schooling, or no rules, or no work. It is just a different, more casual way of educating your child.


A few days ago
Yes, we are unschoolers. There are thousands of unschoolers in the US right now. If you google, you should be able to find the conferences, there are several coming up.

A few days ago
Yes, I have. Many people have. A lot of people follow that approach to unschooling. There are many different ways to approach unschooling. You’ll get more complete information by looking for books at your library or visiting websites, like http://www.unschooling.com

A few days ago
We not only heard of it, we live it daily.

It did not happen overnight, it was the natural progression of seeing that learning is like breathing, you do not have to create an artificial environment to facilitate it.

We started as most home school families, with a pretty scheduled, and prepared day.

We went from a classical approach/method to a relaxed, and finally to an unschooling approach.

Homeschooling versus unschooling.

Home schooling is teaching your children at home instead of using a conventional school, private, public, or charter to do it for you.

Home schooling gives the parent complete control over what is taught, as well as the time, place, and method used to do the teaching.

Both home schooling, and unschooling gives the parent the choice to go year round, or simply set their own schedule that is best for their families.

Children quickly gain the understanding that learning is not confined to a school, certain hours, or pre-selected books, but is a life long process, and has only those limitations that we ourselves place upon it, or allow others to place upon it.

Unschooling is not, at least not for us without guidance.

Children need guidance, and direction throughout their young lives to be able to learn, and develop character, and integrity.

Unschooling is a natural continuation of basic parenting, we simply add academics when they are ready.

Unschooling simply means learning in a natural setting, and using non-traditional means to teach.

Non-traditional meaning without an artificial school setting, either in a conventional school, or at home.

Unschooling uses many media, and some, but rarely traditional school text books, much of the learning is hands on, by working along side the adults, through 4H, and other organizations that have hands on training.

We use 4H for all our electives, as well as speech and debate. (Toast Masters).

Unschooling is learning by doing, not just reading about it.

We learn math, reading, and writing in a more structured (traditional) setting once they are between 6 and 10, but it depends on the child.

In the earlier years they learned writing their letters in shaving cream on the kitchen counter top, and they learned it was a lot of fun to learn.

We also went outside, and used side walk chalk, window finger paint and so on to learn writing, and shapes.

Before they knew it they were able to write, no muss no fuss.

We use a lot of games, board games, computer software, or outdoor games.

See this web site what is available for games, and you will see learning does not have to be confined to a textbook.


Unschooling can be completely, or to some extend be child directed, and this; at least for us; means that when our children come to a particular subject that they want to learn about, we do not put a time limit on them as to how long they can learn about it, we simply try to provide every opportunity they need to learn as much as they want too.

Most often when children are allowed to learn in a natural way, in the form of unschooling, relaxed, Montessori, or self directed learning, they understand the concepts better, and score high on any (academic) test they are given.

Hands on teaching, instructors who are experienced in their field, from a car mechanic, pilot, store clerk, to a doctor; if these are willing to answer childrens questions and children would be incouraged to ask questions freely; can teach more in 15 minutes than textbooks, and hours in classrooms could accomplish.

For some other sources to research the many faces of unschooling see:

Click on the little purple box to view the video for free.


Click on home school methods, and than unschooling.



A list of unschooling FAQ




A few days ago
Hannah M
Yes, my siblings and I have been unschooling all our lives.

A few days ago
yes. I just started trying to find out about it. Everyone so far says that it’s not something you register for. You just do it. You can fill out the affidavit for it, but it doesn’t guarantee you any credits.