Unschooling is a vibrant life.
Unschooling is a method of homeschooling that puts the desire, drive, motive and responsibility for life – this thing we call learning, or education – in the hands of the learner.
Unschooling is what defines a life lived on one’s own terms, whether you’re a child, a teen or an adult.
Unschooling children are supported to pursue, or self direct, the myriad of things that are of interest to them, eat foods they enjoy and in quantities that are satisfying, sleep and rest according to their individual needs, choose friends of all ages or none at all, engage in the world in unique and powerful and self directed ways.
Unschooling learners are interdependent. In partnership with their parents, other adults, friendships, acquaintances, groups, communities and others, they learn to navigate the world, resource their interests, discover their vital roles and responsibilities in their own as well as other’s lives.
Unschooling families have learned how to listen deeply to one another, communicate respectfully and with love, to support each other’s interests and desires.
Unschooling parents have learned to trust the natural unfolding of the empowered learning process in their children, whether they be infants, toddlers, 10 or 17 or 30.
The process of unschooling is not a guarantee of a successful and satisfying and productive life, but when lived fully and responsibly, there is enormous evidence to show that it leads to intelligent, mature, thoughtful, compassionate, confident and highly capable persons, as children, teens and adults.
What does unschooling look like?
There are as many approaches to unschooling as there are people, by design. A child is supported to read when ready and interested, not on another’s timetable, for example. He can and will be encouraged to pursue a wide range of interests, based on his interests, such as free play, inventing, experimenting scientifically, video gaming, role modeling through friendship, spiritual development through inquiry of self and others, athletics, learning to trust himself and others.
An unschooled teen is often a small entrepreneur, an apprentice, web designer or programmer, video game creator, traveler, counselor to her friends. She may choose one or several independent, online or community college classes to attend, enroll in full time college, study for the SAT in order to prepare for college, even attend high school full or part time. She may never choose structured learning via a classroom. When teens are trusted to experiment with life and education on their own terms, all things are not only possible but supported.
An unschooled adult, or parent, is one who is loving the self designed life they have created for themselves. They may be entrepreneurs, travelers, create large incomes or small, simple ones. They know what foods, friendships, work, play and spiritual connections allow them to feel alive and challenged and satisfied.
HEM’s editor and publisher, Barb Lundgren and Mark Hegener, have a combined 65+ years of radical unschooling experience as parents and mentors for others. They also talk a lot. Here are links to some of the conversations they’ve shared recently that you may glean additional insight from.
Here we step back from the day-to-day and dissect ways to evaluate whether unschooling is working in the family. This discussion was published in the May-June 2014 issue of Home Education Magazine.
A discussion of the differences between Common Core Standards and unschooling and long term implications of each first appeared in the November-December 2013 issue of Home Education Magazine.
Misunderstanding is rampant among those in the homeschooling and unschooling communities over the meanings of these two words. We weigh in with our understanding. This discussion was published in the September-October 2013 issue of Home Education Magazine.
To some, unschooling seems like the “easy way out” of education and parenting: no structured curriculums enforced, a life without parent-set rules, no grades, no classes.. This discussion was published in the July-August 2014 issue of Home Education Magazine.