Unschooling is an educational approach that’s legal in all 50 states.
It’s not to be confused with how to pleasantly coerce your child to do schoolwork, how to get your kids to do schoolwork on their own, or how to make doing schoolwork more fun.
Unschooling is about unpacking our beliefs around how learning happens, what’s good for kids and adults, and what’s really important in our lives as parents who want to raise happy, functional adults.
If you’re new to the concept of unschooling, expect it to challenge your current beliefs – perhaps a lot. Perhaps for a long time. Read about it, take the pressure off your kids for now, and settle in to observe what happens for awhile.
Unschooling is not something you learn and implement in the course of one day or week or month. It takes years to really “get it”, and it’ll be a continual exercise in expanding your trust and confidence in your child’s abilities and wisdom.
Kids often do things that make parents nervous. Instead of reacting out of fear or worry – unschooling gives you a different set of tools to approach parenting. It’s about mutual respect, collaboration, and cooperation, instead of a top-down authoritarian approach.
Modern schooling is an institution that has much more to do with teaching obedience, and dissuading questions, than actual learning or logic.
Read John Taylor Gatto’s essay The Seven-Lesson Schoolteacher to see what an award-winning New York teacher of the year has to say–and see if you agree.
Unschool Your Kids
Unschooling invites you to look at your child from a different perspective – to assume that your child is not an empty vessel, but that his interests and tendencies are worthwhile and educational.
Unschooling considers everything to be educational. They know that learning happens as effortlessly as breathing, without carrots and sticks, without gold stars or threats.
Learning happens best when the learner is free of arbitrary coercion.
Unschooling is not new–if you look around, you’ll find grown unschoolers who are now parents themselves. Check out the blog I’m Unschooled. Yes, I Can Write to read about one adult unschooler’s experiences.
Unschoolers tend to spend more time, not less, with their children – although that time may look very different from a traditional homeschool family’s time spent together.
Unschooling is neither parent-led nor child-led – rather, it’s cooperative, collaborative, and dynamic, ever-changing as the needs of both parent, child, and/or siblings shift. Everyone’s needs, desires, and preferences are taken seriously – instead of the parent’s (or the children’s!) always taking precedence.
Unschooling can be a life-changer, a massive paradigm shift, and an invitation to have closer, more authentic relationships within your family. It’s challenging, intense, fun, exasperating – and SO worth the effort.
Just like in the garden, you’ll see–growth and change don’t happen overnight, but they do happen.
Editor’s Note: Check out these great resources…..
Unschooling is to Trust Your Children by Katherine Meager