What is Unschooling?

If “schooling” means to use traditional grading methods, standardized curriculum, and structured lessons, then “unschooling” is the rejection of those methods.

Instead of giving the student regimented tasks, tests, and lessons, Unschool Parents allow children to spend their day socially interacting, playing games, and experiencing educational freedom.  They are encouraged to learn if they are in the mood to learn.  And if the student feels like jamming on her electric guitar for a week, so be it!

Most consider unschooling a branch of homeschooling.  However, they are not synonymous.  A homeschool parent might use very formal means of teaching their children.  I know several homeschool families who devotedly follow the state’s educational standards.  Yet, I know others who practice unschooling, and they very bravely allow their children to guide themselves through their own academic journey.

Our family is somewhere in the middle.  We aren’t unschoolers because Mom and dad set certain educational goals, and we shift into “nagging mode” if those goals aren’t achieved.  At the same time, we design a pretty easy work load each week, so most of their days are filled with free time (the essential ingredient for unschooling!).