Monday, June 20, 2011

An Unschooling Epiphany

I "Get It" Now...

After months of reading just about everything I can find on the internet about Unschooling, talking to other Unschooling and Relaxed Homeschoolers online, and reading a ton of homeschooling blogs..I have had an epiphany.

Most people that have read anything on the subject of Unschooling will agree that there are two distinct groups of Unschoolers.

Radical Unschoolers and Unschoolers. 

But, from reading others comments and discussions on several blog articles in the past few days, it suddenly became clear to me that there may actually be three distinct groups.

What first brought my attention to this was something I read in a deschooling article.

It basically said "Unschooling is living life as if school doesn't exist".

I'm not there (yet?). For me school still exists. For Padawan school still exists. Although I have definitely de-stressed and de-compressed from all things that public school brought into our lives, this opened my eyes to the fact that niether one of us have de-schooled quite as much as I originally thought.  He still has a need to separate summer from school time, and schoolish things from from free time.

In my newbie opinion, in the world of people calling themselves Unschoolers there seems to be a definite distinction between Unschooling as a learning LIFESTYLE and Unschooling as an educational METHOD.

The meaning behind Unschooling as a LIFESTYLE becomes more clear if you use Unschooler as a noun.

Ex.: We ARE Unschoolers. Living is learning. Learning is living.

From this perspective, it is a state of being. You either are an Unschooler or you're not. There's no room for anything in between.  It is comparable to saying that you're a human being. Either you're a human being or you're something else. You can't be part human. (Well, I do wonder about some people, but you get the point.)

The meaning behind Unschooling as an educational METHOD is more like using it as a verb.

Ex.: We Unschool everything except math (or ____). (Math is the most popular example)

From this perspective there is no doubt that there is room in-betweens and combinations. You can Unschool some things and not others. This is how I have been looking at Unschooling til now.

Yeah, I know... I've read that Unschooling is a lifestyle numerous times, but now I "get it".

Will we cross over to the Unschooling Lifestyle? Only time will tell, but if that is where God is leading us, we will follow.


  1. I did tons of reading when I first learned of unschooling. Exhausting amounts of blog searching and perusing. But it wasn't until baby stepping our way into an unschooling lifestyle that I really started to *get it* some months later. I guess doing is understanding!

  2. I think it's also when you see how much you learn in everything you do that it starts to click, too. It's about bringing as many interesting things into you life as you can and learning from it all.

  3. For real! I wish this was made clearer in unschooling communities. You know, I don't think there's this kind of controversy in defining traditional homeschooling or Charlotte Mason homeschooling.

    I think unschoolers everywhere just need to accept the fact that we're making this up as we go along! There's not a right or wrong way to do it.

  4. HI. I noticed you are 'following' and wanted to say "hi".
    I use 'quasi-unschooling'- it's a term that works for us. for us, part of quasi-unschooling is "doing 'what works for us despite what anyone says, even other unschoolers' (But I have never read up on unschooling, really, just a line here and there maybe)

    it's be nice if no label were needed at all. If It was just "loving my kids and helping them grow into the adults they are meant to be"- and "scholastic education" is just one slice of the big pie.

    I am careful not to use "Unschooler", plain and simple, because the radical unschoolers get upset and preach at me. and I don't have the time for it.

  5. Great post! I do not consider myself to be 'radical' anymore, because when I followed that lifestyle, I became really fearful of doing anything that was 'coercive' to my children and it took my black-and-white brain to the extremes. Now I tend to be more on the 'educational method' side of unschooling, but probably somewhere on the spectrum towards radical unschooling. We don't have bedtimes at this stage in life, but we needed bedtimes when my girls were very little. So it changes I think, as the kids grow.

    I definitely view "living is learning and learning is living" to be the goal.

  6. Thanks for the comments girls!

    Hi Kimberly! Thanks for dropping by!

    I didn't realize I had gone AWOL on my blog for over a month!

    I agree with all of you.

    Danielle- I am for sure making this up as I go along. That's most of the fun in it.

    And I like the word quasi-unschooling. I may borrow it!


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