What is Unschooling?

Tuesday, May 08, 2012 AnnMarie Brown 10 Comments

When most people hear the word Unschooling they think of it as anti-school, where it is only child led learning with little to no input from the parent. The parent is only there to make sure the child is safe and fed regularly.

Photo: hotblack from morguefile.com 
Unschooling is far from what I thought it was. Unschooling allows the child to choose their own path in life, with the support and assistance of parental/caregivers in their life. I trust my daughter with her own education even at the tender age of 8. I am not my daughters’ teacher; I am my daughters’ resource - librarian, chauffeur or tutor. I encourage my daughter to be well rounded by providing math books, story books, handwriting practice books but it is her decision on how she uses these books.

Naturally coming from a public school I went with the typical bricks and mortar method of textbooks and worksheets. We did field trips on a weekly basis well because I love field trips. But basically I put the mini classroom in my home and started homeschooling my daughter.

The traditional way of homeschooling was easy to drop for me because it was making me miserable and it wasn't working. For a few years I would often speak of my homeschooling style as eclectic but now I have embraced the fact that we are in fact unschoolers and I embrace it whole heartedly and proud to say we have found what works for us.

I have found unschooling to be a very natural way for my daughter to learn. When she had an interest in penguins we researched penguins all kinds of penguins and we decided to do it at a creative craft more like a lapbook because my daughter likes to learn this way. To this day she has retained so much information on penguins because it was something she was interested in learning about.

I feel unschooling allows my child to become the person she is supposed to be and not this cookie cutter model of a child who has been molded by a system.

Watch for my article next week on how to get started homeschooling...

Check out this blog post for some answers to the questions asked below!


  1. Annie: I love you! This is brilliant. Thanks so much. This series is just for me.

    Now I am Sharing this madly! Live. Seriously. I never understand the difference of home school / unschooled etc.

  2. Love this. :) I am an eclectic homeschooler - we combine the worksheets with the wonder. I need to encourage interests more. Amazing! :)

  3. I have never heard the term unschooling before

  4. I am very interested to read more about your homeschooling adventures! I've never heard of unschooling before. Thanks for teaching me something new! Learning can definitely happen anywhere and everywhere. Do you plan on doing this all through her elementary and secondary years?

  5. So far, I have taught my son how to eat ice cream cones and hunt for fictional Bears and Lions....does that count as eclectic home schooling?? Probably not I guess. I really like your approach though, I can't wait for the follow up post!

  6. I have never heard of this. How have I never heard of this?!!! I love it! Are the basic foundations of education (reading, writing, basic arithmetic) still involved?!

  7. I have never heard of unschooling but, correct me if I'm wrong, don't kids need structure? Of course creativity, exploration are definite musts--don't they need to be at a certain level of knowledge to be able to continue education later down the road. Forgive my ignorance, I've much to learn how homeschool works and I commend all the moms and dads who are so dedicated to do it. :)

  8. @Multi-Testing Mommy
    Right now the answer to that question is most definitely. But she might choose to go to school at some point and I will support her choice.

  9. @NPC

    going to do a new post with answers to your questions... because I think you are not the only person wondering.

  10. Thanks for the informative post. I have never heard of this before