On one of the unschooling email lists that I subscribe to someone asked, “Exactly what is unschooling? I thought it was another name for homeschooling”. Kelly Lovejoy’s answer helped a lot of people who were confused as to what the difference was.
“All poodles are dogs, but not all dogs are poodles.
All unschooling is homeschooling, but all homeschooling isn’t unschooling.
Unschooling is legally a type of homeschooling.
Unschoolers don’t “school-at-home” nor do we give tests or grades.
Unschooling accepts all learning as valid. Everything is connected. You never know when one thing will lead to or connect with another! Unschoolers know they *do* and will keep searching for those connections. Unschooling is natural learning. Humans are hard-wired to learn-we crave it and seek it out. When you believe that, you’re half-way to understanding how it works.
Unschooling is understanding the difference between teaching and learning. That’s a HUGE hurdle to overcome before you can “get” unschooling. (I can teach you everything I know about unschooling, but unless you’re willing to learn it, I’m wasting my time and your time.)
All children can unschool.
Many parents can’t.
Unschooling requires a “paradigm shift” to make it work. And it works best when you (the parent) are an active learner – and curious, thoughtful, enthusiastic, interested and interesting. It’s about trust and respect and patience. It helps if you can step out of the box and if you’re okay going against the flow and standing up for yourself (or at least your child)”.
In 2005 I created An Unschooling Life, a blog detailing our unschooling experience after adopting our three children. Over time, An Unschooling Life became a hub for unschooling support and advice. The blog has been featured in print and digital media and was home to the popular Unschooling Carnival. I’m in the process of updating and moving all the posts to this blog where they will be housed under the An Unschooling Life section. This post was originally published on June 28, 2006.