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.
On one of the unschooling email lists that I subscribe to someone asked, “What exactly 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)”.
Mike Blackburn says
I have never heard of “unschooling” but I like it! I’m a huge fan of John Taylor Gatto – a classic “unschooler” who really captures the problem with government compulsory schools. I’ve never liked schools, even when I went to them as a youth, and have always considered them counter to a real education. Thank God for my library card! I think the “unschooling” philosophy is important so people understand that the school system wasn’t designed to educate. If one truly cares about their children’s education, then the concept of “unschooling” is important to understand. The last thing one needs to do when homeschooling their children would be to attempt to replicate the failure of compulsory government schooling. People ask me all the time where do we find the time to educate our children. The simply truth is, our children educate themselves. We merely facilitate their natural desire to learn by providing material and life experiences.
Georginia Henovis says
Now i am clarified about unschooling. I thought
before that they’re just the same with homeschooling.
Thanks for sharing this–a very nice summary.
.-= Sherry´s last blog ..No Running? Seriously? =-.
Your welcome! I hope it helps others to understand unschooling better. 🙂
Thanks for posting this, Joanne!! I copied it and put it on my blog as well to share the wisdom of Kelly for those that might not understand unschooling!!