"Children do not need to learn to be better, told what to do or shown how. If they are given access to enough of the world, they will see clearly enough what things are truly important to themselves and to others, and they will make for themselves a better path into that world than anyone else could make for them." John Holt
What is Unschooling?This perhaps is the hardest question to answer. If you ask 30 unschoolers what Unschooling is you might possibly get 30 different answers.
Here is the definition given by Wikipedia: "Unschooling is an educational method and philosophy that rejects compulsory school as a primary means for learning. Unschoolers learn through their natural life experiences including play, household
responsibilities, personal interests and curiosity, internships and
work experience, travel, books, elective classes, family, mentors, and social interaction.
Unschooling encourages exploration of activities initiated by the
children themselves, believing that the more personal learning is, the
more meaningful, well-understood and therefore useful it is to the
child. While courses may occasionally be taken, unschooling questions
the usefulness of standard curricula, conventional grading methods, and other features of traditional schooling in maximizing the education of each unique child."
Is Unschooling legal? Yes, Unschooling is a form of homeschooling and is therefore legal in all 50 states. However, laws governing homeschooling change from state to state and some are much more homeschooling than others. Go HERE to see a list of all the homeschool laws from state to state.
What are some of the advantages of Unschooling? One of the biggest advantages of Unschooling is that it allows your child to learn naturally, the same way they learned to walk and talk, through the environment around them. Children are able to learn what they are interested in when they are ready instead of when someone else says they should. That is what makes Unschooling families so unique. While my 11 yo daughter may struggle with spelling on a third grade level she has studied history and science taught in most high schools. Learning the material when the child is interested also means the child will remember it more because it was something they wanted to learn instead of being forced to because of an upcoming test. Unschooling children are also free to learn in the method that best suits them not just from books but from hands on experiences and the "real" world.
What is the hardest thing about Unschooling? The hardest thing about Unschooling is that you will have to learn to trust your child and give them ownership over their education. Your child may not look like they are learning when they spend hours pouring over a video game or days digging a hole in the yard just because they want to but you have to trust that their mind is always at work and they are learning what they need right now.
What does Unschooling look like? Unschooling will look different for every family but it will look a lot like just living life. I often say what other people's life might look like on the weekend is what our life looks like all the time. It looks like playing, reading, chores, cooking, dancing, laughing, goofing off, shopping, relaxing. You can see more of what my family day to day life looks like in the year long series "Hitchhikers Guide to Unschooling".
Will my Unschooled child be able to go to college? Unschooling children can get into the same colleges as traditionally schooled children. Most colleges have different admissions rules for homeschooled or unschooled children. Some may ask that your child present transcripts or SAT scores. Will they be more or less prepared if they went to a public high school? who knows. But it is important to remember that not all children will not be interested in college nor does college intel that your child will have job security but it will more than likely intel they will have debt. One of the advantages of Unschooling is that your child will have the freedom and more time to seek out professionals of careers they are interested in and learn more about them and possibly intern in those careers.