Unschooling, what is it?

Unschooling, Un schooling what is it?

Defining unschooling is a little like describing a color, and every bit as elusive. You can rely on commonly-held descriptions; for example, we generally all agree what blue looks like, but what about cobalt, aqua, navy, cyan, sapphire, azure, indigo, cerulean, turquoise or cornflower? It’s the same with unschooling. There’s a generally accepted definition, but then there are all these wonderful variations…

Unschooling embraces a broad spectrum of learning, and trying to describe and define it has resulted in some of the most colorful and interesting writings on the web. With this feature we’re sharing highlights from some of our favorite articles, resources, websites and more on unschooling!

Articles About Unschooling

Revelations of a Homeschooling Mom by Carol Wanagel – “You can’t give them knowledge or force it on them; they have to reach out and take it. They’ll only do that when their own nature and interests command them to, and then only if they don’t feel coerced.”

The Things I Really Want My Kids to Learn by Sue Smith Heavenrich – “I think I’d put ‘making your own lunch’ at the top of the list.” Knowing how to make a tuna sandwich or whip up a pot of macaroni is as important as knowing how to divide fractions. Maybe even more important.”

On Unschooling and Life by Ruthe Matilsky – “How unsettling it is sometimes when I think that we have scoffed at the script and now we have to take responsibility for how it all turns out. If we’d done what was expected of us, nothing would ever be our fault. Right?”

Becoming Unschoolers by Janet Keip – “Fear kept the artificial vision alive. Fear made me think Jaime would be “left behind” like some hopelessly out-of-date little coal engine on the railroad tracks of life. Fear made me reject my heart vision and follow the common path.”

Compulsory Education vs. Unschooling by Shay Seaborne – “Human beings are hardwired for learning; we have proportionally huge brains, and are born with the desire to explore and learn about our world.”

Peaceful Unschooling by Charlotte Monte – “I simply couldn’t go on. I felt like picking up the phone and calling the local school district to throw him in the nearest school, public or not! I had to save myself.”

My Kids Won’t Let Me Teach by Ann Leadbetter – “I worry about my lack of discipline, my laziness. Am I justifying our lackadaisical approach to homeschooling just because I don’t feel like doing it any other way?”

Compulsory Unschooling? by Janet Lowry – “Well, here is a quandary I hadn’t anticipated. What is freedom, if the individual given it doesn’t want it?”

Waiting for Unschooling to Work by Shay Seaborne – “Am I doing the right thing? How can I tell if my children are learning? And where are those interests unschooled children are supposed to follow with excitement?”

A Gift of Time by Sue Smith Heavenrich – “‘Do you read books together?’ I ask. ‘Play games, go on walks, ice skate? Do you rake the lawn and look at bugs and see who can blow dandelion parachutes the farthest?'”

What My Children Taught Me by Helen Hegener – “I’m pretty certain that I’ve learned much more from my kids than they ever learned from me.”

How’s School Going? by Mary Kenyon – “I, too, plan each summer, order workbooks, hunt down bargains on used curriculum, and start out each year with the good intentions of buckling down and having daily schoolwork.”

Interview with Sandra Dodd by Emily Subler – “Gradually (or just all of a sudden, if you have that ability) stop speaking and thinking in terms of grades, semesters, school-days, education, scores, tests, introductions, reviews, and performance, and replace those artificial strictures and measures with ideas like morning, hungry, happy, new, learning, interesting, playing, exploring and living.”

Five Steps to Unschooling by Joyce Kurtak Fetteroll – “Maybe a few, well-defined steps in the unschooling direction could lead out of at least the very pea-soupiest part of the fog.”

One of Those Days by Deb Baker – “I look at the children and announce, “This is One of Those Days.” They stop and look up expectantly; ready to hear what crazy cure Mom has in mind this time.”

Questions and Answers

Unschooling FAQ Frequently Asked Questions about Unschooling

Questions and Answers from HEM Laura Weldon’s Reader Response Q and A columns

Networking with Unschoolers

HEM Unschooling Discussion list for unschooling readers of HEM

Unschooling-dotcom Discussion list for the Unschooling.com website

Resources for Unschooling

Unschooling resources Collected reviews of learning materials for unschooling

Unschooling.com Articles, news, blogs, resources and more!

John Holt’s Bookstore Books, writings, back issues of GWS

FUN Books Helpful resource catalog for unschooling families

For further reading about unschooling, check out these great web sites:

Best Homeschooling The best advice from seasoned unschoolers

A to Z Homeschooling: Unschooling Ann Zeise’s Home’s Cool

Life Without School An online publication and blogging community

Sandra Dodd on Unschooling Practical and philosophical support for unschooling

Unschoolers Unlimited How to access the real world

The Natural Child Project Articles on Learning, many on unschooling

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