Natural Born Learners: Unschooling and Autonomy in Education

The book Natural Born Learners: Unschooling and Autonomy in Education is edited by Beatrice Ekwa Ekoko and Carlo Ricci.

Beatrice joins us today to share what is so important about this new book.

Disclosure: The links to the book in this post are affiliate links, which means I get a commission if you choose to buy through them.

Natural Born Learners: Unschooling and Autonomy in Education // LoveLiveGrowEducation for a World in Flux
by Beatrice Ekwa Ekoko

“The times they are a-changin,” said Bob Dylan, and the education system needs to keep up.

Natural Born Learners is about unschooling (self-directed learning) and autonomy in education, but it will interest those who do not practice these methods.

Why? Because more and more, schools recognize that to be relevant to the times, that is, in keeping with advances across all sectors, they need to change.

John Seely Brown and Douglas Thomas speak of the world being “in flux,” and what learning for a world of constant change requires:

Although learning about and learning to be worked well in a relatively stable world, in a world of constant flux, we need to embrace a theory of learning to become. Where most theories of learning see becoming as a transitional state toward becoming something, we want to suggest that the 21st century requires us to think of learning as a practice of becoming over and over again.

Becoming over and over again. Being flexible, creative and open minded because the jobs public schools prepare youth for today will have all but vanished by the time they are grown up.


Learning happens everywhere, all the time: it is not confined within four walls of an institution, between the hours of 9 to 3pm.

The new trends in education are reflective of what’s happening in technology—where open access to information is becoming the norm. Communities of learning online and off line draw like-minded people eager to pursue their passionate interests, reflecting the new culture of learning.

With autonomy in learning, kids have the freedom to explore what matters to them, the learners; what they are interested in. In this way, learners gain mastery and knowledge that is used as a base for further knowledge to grow upon.

[pullquote]Unschooling is about a new culture of learning. {Tweet this.}[/pullquote]This book is all about that new culture of learning.

In the book, which is divided in 3 sections, you’ll read from those who are advocates of autonomy in education  including teachers, psychologists, and researchers.

In the second section, you get a taste for how it actually works, who is doing it and so on.

In the last section, you’ll meet young adults who grew up without curriculum and institutionalized education.

It can be done, it is being done and your children can benefit from it too.

Background: NBL exists because a great amount of collaborative effort was put into the project to make it happen. Without the many volunteers who transcribed most of the pieces in the book from audio interviews on the Radio Free School program (2002-2008 on 93.3 CFMU) the book would likely not see the light of day for another decade!

Beatrice Ekwa Ekoko is a freelance writer and blogger at Natural Born Learners. Beatrice dreams of a time when schools will be modeled on the public library and the community centre wrapped in one—where kids will be free to come and go and pick and choose as they please. She lives in Hamilton, Ontario with her husband and three children who were all unschooled for a time. Read her blog, visit her website to see other writing, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter (edit: broken links removed).

Note from Issa here! Are you as excited about unschooling as I am? Are you going to buy this book? Hey, $3.99 on Kindle!