We are a diverse community of unschoolers from all over the world coming together to share our knowledge and experience unschooling. Unschooling.com was originally founded in 1998, over 20 years ago, and has been a valuable resource in the unschooling movement ever since. We support, defend, promote and encourage unschooling in all its many shapes and forms. We’re creating a haven for unschooling families, a place to find answers, meet new friends, discover resources, share amazing content, and explore our innate curiosities by living and learning in the real world. Finding and following our purpose is more important than following someones agenda for our lives. If kids don’t have the free will and choice to not go to school, they are prisoners without rights.
We live in a free society that longs for freedom, but yet most of us live our lives like slaves that are stuck in a system of oppression and servitude, enslaving humanity, and then we expect our kids to follow the same system. At what point, do we value our freedom? We take freedom for granted because the lack of freedom is all too common so we follow the herd instead of our own individuality. We all have the power to take back control of our lives and free ourselves from slavery, but the reality is that most people don’t want to change their minds, habits, and circumstances for the better. Have you heard Abraham Lincoln’s story about “The Wolf and the Sheep”?
"Lincoln goes on to give us two basic definitions of liberty. He notes that “with some, the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself and the product of his labor” while with others liberty is where men are free to “do as they please with other men and the product of other men’s labor.” He goes on to point out that these two definitions are incompatible." ~ Niles Anderegg
Which definition of liberty are you living? If you are living as a sheep, hopefully you have a strong desire for change. Compulsory Schooling = Forced Child Labour
If something is free, you are the product. If it’s compulsory, you are a slave. Schoolwork and homework is work. It’s time we set the children free!
“Most Americans are unaware of a decline in individual liberty, and the reason is obvious: the decline rarely takes the form of sudden personal deprivations but, instead, takes the form of unnoticed erosion, and thus we come to regard whatever state we are in as a normal condition.” ~ Leonard E. Read
What is Unschooling?
Unschooling is a style of homeschooling that allows the student’s interests and curiosities to drive the path of learning. Rather than using a defined curriculum, unschoolers trust children to gain knowledge organically. Unschooling is life! It is the best way to prepare & equip kids for the real world and give them the freedom to express themselves while pursuing “their” passions. Schools and Curriculums teach kids to be consumers rather than creators. Unschooling takes you from a life of consumption to a life of creation whereby you create the life you want to live instead of being a pawn in someone else’s game. Unschooling is not unparenting, it’s the exact opposite. Unschooling is living and learning naturally without coercion. The road less traveled…
"The goal of unschooling is not education. It is to help a child be who she/he is and blossom into who she/he will become. Learning happens as a side effect." ~ Joyce Fetteroll
"An unschooling life is limitless and extends into all other parts of life because eventually unschoolers realize that unschooling is much more than not being at school. A veil is lifted from life. We become participants in our own minds, passionate to learn the world." ~ Josanna Crawford
"Many highly schooled people are uneducated, and many highly educated people are unschooled." ~ Milton Friedman
“The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed a standard citizenry, to put down dissent and originality.” ~ H. L. Mencken
“Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners.” ~ John Holt
“Education now seems the most authoritarian and dangerous of all the social inventions of mankind. It is the deepest foundation of the modern slave state, in which most people feel themselves to be nothing but producers, consumers, spectators, and ‘fans,’ driven in all parts of their lives, by greed, envy, and fear. My concern is not to improve ‘education’ but to do away with it, to end the ugly and antihuman business of people-shaping and to allow and help people to shape themselves.” ~ John Holt
"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all." ~ Oscar Wilde
“All the world is my school and all humanity is my teacher.” - George Whitman
“Great education defies structure because it is always (always!) individualized, personalized, interactive, nimble, responsive and inspired.” ~ Oliver DeMille, [The Student Whisperer: Inspiring Genius]
“If you wanted to create an education environment that was directly opposed to what the brain was good at doing, you probably would create something like a classroom.” ~ John J. Medina, Author of the New York Times Bestseller, [Brain Rules]
"The greatest gift a parent can leave a child is that parent’s own independence." ~ Rosamunde Pilcher
“Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this: 'You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself — educating your own judgements. Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being moulded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society.” ~ Doris Lessing, [The Golden Notebook]
“Everyone who has ever been to school knows that school is prison, but almost nobody beyond school age says it is. It’s not polite. We all tiptoe around the truth because admitting it would make us seem cruel and would point a finger at well-intentioned people doing what they believe to be essential. . . . A prison, according to the common, general definition, is any place of involuntary confinement and restriction of liberty. In school, as in adult prisons, the inmates are told exactly what they must do and are punished for failure to comply. Actually, students in school must spend more time doing exactly what they are told than is true of adults in penal institutions. Another difference, of course, is that we put adults in prison because they have committed a crime, while we put children in school because of their age.” ~ Peter O. Gray, [Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life]
"This is also known as interest driven, child-led, natural, organic, eclectic, or self-directed learning. Lately, the term “unschooling” has come to be associated with the type of homeschooling that doesn’t use a fixed curriculum. When pressed, I define unschooling as allowing children as much freedom to learn in the world, as their parents can comfortably bear. The advantage of this method is that it doesn’t require you, the parent, to become someone else—a professional teacher pouring knowledge into child-vessels on a planned basis. Instead you live and learn together, pursuing questions and interests as they arise and using conventional schooling on an “on demand” basis, if at all. This is the way we learn before going to school and the way we learn when we leave school and enter the world of work. So, for instance, a young child’s interest in hot rods can lead him to a study of how the engine works (science), how and when the car was built (history and business), who built and designed the car (biography), etc. Certainly these interests can lead to reading texts, taking courses, or doing projects, but the important difference is that these activities were chosen and engaged in freely by the learner. They were not dictated to the learner through curricular mandate to be done at a specific time and place, though parents with a more hands-on approach to unschooling certainly can influence and guide their children’s choices.
Unschooling, for lack of a better term (until people start to accept living as part and parcel of learning), is the natural way to learn. However, this does not mean unschoolers do not take traditional classes or use curricular materials when the student, or parents and children together, decide that this is how they want to do it. Learning to read or do quadratic equations are not “natural” processes, but unschoolers nonetheless learn them when it makes sense to them to do so, not because they have reached a certain age or are compelled to do so by arbitrary authority. Therefore it isn’t unusual to find unschoolers who are barely eight-years-old studying astronomy or who are ten-years-old and just learning to read." ~ From [ Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling ] by John Holt and Patrick Farenga
“The simplest description is that Unschooling means a way of bringing up children using free play and child-directed activity to develop the child’s own individual talents and creativity by supportively following up the child’s own interests – without coercion, compulsion, manipulation, regimentation, constant testing and grading and rank-ordering, or top-down authoritarianism.” ~ Kytka Hilmar-Jezek, [99 Question and Answers About Unschooling: The World Is Your Child’s Classroom]
“Unschooling works well when parents are interesting, positive, thoughtful, considerate,
generous, passionate, honest, respectful individuals.” ~ Deb Lewis
Unschooling means learning …
what one wants,
when one wants,
in the way one wants,
where one wants,
for one’s own reasons.
~ Mary Griffith: The Unschooling Handbook
Unschooling is self-education. And self-education is simply the practice of freedom. Learning is freed from an artificial, externally controlled context to become again what it has in actual fact always been — a natural, spontaneous process; part of the whole experience of being alive.
The word “unschooling” was coined by author and educator John Holt, appearing for the first time in issue #2 of his newsletter, Growing Without Schooling, published in November, 1977. Holt wrote, “GWS will say ‘unschooling’ when we mean taking children out of school…” but before long the term was being used to indicate any non-schoolish approach to learning. John Holt has said that schools are unfocused learning because kids are not learning from their own motivation, but rather forced to learn subjects that may be of no interest or use to them. Unschooling is focused learning where kids are motivated to learn, by their own free will, subjects that they are passionately interested and curious about so they pickup and learn things much faster.
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.