What Is Unschooling? 10 things it is and 10 things it isn’t

What is unschooling? There are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there, so here are a few things that it is and isn't.

What Is Unschooling?

  1. Unschooling is living life without school. Unschooling is life.
  2. Unschooling is letting kids pursue their own interests at their own pace.
  3. Unschooling is the belief that kids know best about what they need to learn.
  4. Unschooling is legal. Unschooling is a style of homeschooling. If homeschooling is legal in your area then unschooling is as well.
  5. Unschooling is respectful to kids.

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  1. Unschooling is good for families. It doesn’t make them adversaries over education.
  2. Unschooling is capable of  preparing kids for college (if that’s what the child wants!)
  3. Unschooling is preparing kids for “real life” because they are always living their real lives.
  4. Unschooling is curiosity, play, exploration, passion, freedom, joy, and choice.
  5. Unschooling is big-picture goals. It’s valuing kids’ autonomy and nurturing a love of learning.

What is Unschooling NOT?

  1. Unschooling is not unparenting. Unschooling parents go right on having a relationship with their kids.
  2. Unschooling is not isolating. Unschooling families spend time out in the world, with other families, and with people of all ages.
  3. Unschooling is not curriculums, testing, grade levels, teachers, learning divided by subjects, or assignments, unless these are explicitly sought out by a kid in a free environment.
  4. Unschooling is not lazy. Unschooling parents and kids sometimes work incredibly hard to achieve a learning goal. The difference is in who sets the goal.
  5. Unschooling is not wild, unruly kids who can’t follow rules. Well… sometimes it is, if the kids are young and the rules are dumb. But unschooled kids are absolutely capable of following rules and conforming to systems in pursuit of their goals.
  6. Unschooling is not missing out on important experiences, any more than schooling is missing out on important experiences. Different kids have different experiences, and that’s okay.
  7. Unschooling is not linear. An unschooled kid might understand complicated physics before they learn to write, or they might be writing novels before they learn multiplication.
  8. Unschooling is not just about kids. Parents find themselves learning and engaging more freely with their interests and the world when the family pursues an unschooling attitude together.
  9. Unschooling is not an easy choice for parents who have been schooled before. A process called “deschooling” is necessary for parents and kids who have been exposed to school before being able to fully embrace unschooling.
  10. Unschooling is not just for entrepreneur-minded people. The benefits of unschooling – respect, cooperation passionate learning – are right for every kind of family.

Still asking “What is unschooling?” These two books are great choices for inspiring and informing your unschooling journey. (Affiliate links!)

Sandra Dodd’s Big Book of Unschooling covers unschooling and mindful parenting, with hundreds of practical ideas about how to move from schoolish thinking to living a life of natural learning and joy.

The Unschooling Handbook : How to Use the Whole World As Your Child’s Classroom shows you how successful unschooling parents stimulate and direct their children’s learning impulse.

What is unschooling? There are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there, so here are a few things that it is and isn't.