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How many unschoolers do we have on here???

Posted by on Oct. 3, 2011 at 6:42 PM
  • 27 Replies

 are you an unschooler? full time ? part time?

are you a radical unschooler?

what makes you an unschooler?


a home-school education with the child taking the primary responsibility instead of a parent or teacher;


by on Oct. 3, 2011 at 6:42 PM
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by on Oct. 3, 2011 at 7:25 PM

I am not an unschooler, but this is a great thought! I am curious as well! I have heard of "unschooling" but I don't know anything about it.

Any of you who DO homeschool I would love to hear about what you do and what that looks like.

Thanks so much and blessings,


by on Oct. 3, 2011 at 11:01 PM
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 I unschool! We do it full time. It is kind of hard to explain what it looks like because to someone that doesn't know what they are looking at they would think we are just goofing off all day.

My oldest son is working on making a video game with his computer club, making a movie with his best friend & making his own comic. He also at the moment is learning about gardening to try to garden next year, he has started learning about the fall of Rome & is learning how to play the Ocarina ( for those of you that don't know that is the instrument that Link uses in the video game Zelda Ocarina of Time).

My daughter is in to fashion, animals & all things fairy tales. So I read alot to her & my youngest son, they play alot & use there imaginations all the time & every question they ask I try to answer it with as much information as they want.

My youngest son is still a die hard player & plays at everything & everything he learns he incorporates in to his games. 

I to am an unschooler! When my kids are doing their own things I am reading & learning about all kinds of different things. Anything I want to know I research it & then learn it. I just this evening learned how to make tortillas for the first time all on my own.

by on Oct. 4, 2011 at 8:12 PM
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Whole life unschooler here! *peeks out of unschooling closet*

by on Oct. 4, 2011 at 9:16 PM

We are unschoolers. 

Although my kids want to do history and science again.  We are also learning about a composer, inventor, and artist each month. 

It's all pretty much up to them.

by on Oct. 4, 2011 at 10:30 PM
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*Waving my hand high in the air* We are unschoolers.

I would disagree that unschooling is as simple as the child taking primary responsibility. I still hold myself fully responsible for introducing my children to new ideas. For me, unschooling is about letting my children follow their interests, and passions. It's about not teaching or demanding that they learn, but rather letting the learning happen naturally and fluidly, through daily living. 

We are kind of between unschooling educationally, and radical unschooling. If I were a single parent, we would be complete radical unschoolers, with no bedtimes, and no limits, except the ones my children would naturally place on themselves. Unfortunately, my husband grew up in a very authoritative household, and he has a hard time letting go of certain things (like bedtimes). He is slowly coming around though, and I envision a time in the future when we will truly be radical unschoolers. 

Like usmom3, if you looked in on my family at any given moment, it would look to outsiders like we do nothing but goof off. However, I know that my children are learning every moment, of every day. Just tonight they collaborated together to try and fix a broken chair. They had full access to daddy's tool box, and tried about twenty different things. No they didn't fix the chair, but they did learn a few things about what works, and what doesn't. They are 7 and 5, and that kind of hands on, trial and error will teach them more than any book/class about tools. 

by on Oct. 5, 2011 at 8:51 AM

We are eclectic.  We use a little bit of everything.  We are studying botany and physics this year at my kids reguest.  I really try and follow their interests.  I am finding physics to be a lot more fun than I thought it woud be.  My son can't wait to get started.

by on Oct. 5, 2011 at 9:19 AM
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I have tried many approaches, from school-at-home (Yikes! Don't ever do that!) to radical unschooling. After much trial and error, we have found what works for us.

I don't call myself an unschooler to the outside world, partly because they don't understand and partly because I personally don't like labels. But in truth, I do have many unschooling tendencies. If I had to label myself, I'd call myself a "Quasi-Unschooler."

We are not radical unschoolers, as there are house rules, chores and bedtimes. But none of these are set in stone, hammer hits podium, die hard rules. We consult our son (age 12) and get his opinion on these things. He always has a say. If he wants to stay up late to do something, we consent, unless we have a very good reason. If he finds he really dislikes one of his chores, I'll trade him for one of mine.

We are more unschooly in our academics. I usually have a "let's give it a try before we write it off" rule. But I try it with him. For instance, playing the recorder, reading historical fiction, or trying a new gym class. But if he tries it and decides he doesn't like it, then we stop.

He wants to be some sort of an engineer. He always has. So he knows that science and math are essential for that career. So I feel it is my responsibility to guide him in those areas, and provide him with the information (books, websites, dvd's, etc.) he needs. He likes both of those subjects so this is not a problem. He does not like most aspects of Language, but he knows he needs to know how to write well, so we write. However, engineers don't need to write creative stories or poetry (and he hates them) so we don't do them. He likes to do research reports, but wants me to choose the topics - so I do.

He likes history so long as it's just the facts, so we stopped reading historical fiction.

I absolutely believe in letting a child follow his passions, and giving him freedom and time to do so. I don't believe in forcing something he has no interest in. I believe learning is everywhere. Play is learning. Video games are learning. (Another of my son's favorites). Or watch any movie. We learn when we have a conversation. Or help with projects around the house. (Like trying to fix a broken chair!)  :-)

My son likes tests and quizzes, but only in math and science - so that is what we do. Many of his tests and quizzes are oral instead of written.

I am very happy being a Quasi Unschooler. It is a perfect fit for our family, and we are all very happy with it. I think that there is no right or wrong way to homeschool. As long as everyone (especially the kids) are happy in the way things are going.

Visit my homeschool blog....HavenWood HomeSchool

by Bronze Member on Oct. 5, 2011 at 11:50 AM
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My definition of unschooling is basically that your children have the freedom to choose their own educational path and have the freedom to go about it in the way they want to (and radical unschooling carries that over into all areas of the child's life).  The parents' job is to provide as many resources, opportunities, and experiences to your child as possible.  I don't believe in unschooling part-time - you either have the philosophy or you don't.  You can be "child-led" or "delight-directed" on certain subjects, but you dont unschool certain subjects.  It's like someone saying they are a vegetarian except for Saturdays or except they eat pork 3x a week. 

We are unschoolers.

We started over 6 years ago. The kids wrote down a list of all the things they enjoyed doing.  This not only included playground time, field trips, and art projects, but readalouds, copywork, and math workbooks (all their choice).   They spent their days writing songs, creating HTML codes on the computer, building Lego machines, playing chess, or training the parrots.  It was a full day of fun and learning through life.  Then a few years ago the kids both asked me for more structure ("Can you make a regular school plan for us for the mornings?").  I was proud of them for wanting to try something new.  We looked for a ready-made curriculum since I wasn't good at piecing together my own stuff.  The loved Ambleside Online (and the Charlotte Mason way) so we started using it.   

Dd lasted a few months with it and then went back to her own thing - with lots of CM-inspired activities.  She had her heart set on going to the best performing arts high school in the country and I took it as my job to see that she was prepared.  So, at her request, we filled in her gaps in math, she did a lot of reading, and we went on a LOT of field trips to museums and the science center (history and science were covered that way).  She auditioned and was accepted, by the way, and is now in her sophomore year.

Ds (10) spends about 2 hours per day (morning) on seatwork.  He loves the Ambleside Online curriculum.  He also has plans of going to high school (NYC has dozens of excellent ones to choose from) and he wants to be well-prepared.   We only use the books & workbooks he likes and we toss the rest.  If it's boring and tedious he's not learning (for the most part, this attitude tends to change by high school age).  He has mild dyslexia and understands he needs to step up his reading, writing, and spelling.  He also really likes math and is 2 grade levels ahead of his peers (I believe this is because I don't pressure him or put demands on him).  The rest of his day looks like it used to:  chess, building with Legos, going on field trips, cooking, modifying Nerf guns, and meeting up with friends.   

I believe in unschooling so much.  When your child owns his education and has the freedom to choose his own path, they learn and retain SO much more.  I have the trust that they will learn what they need to and I not being stressed out about it.


dd(17) Freshman in college

dd(15) Sophomore at performing arts high school (dance)

ds(10) 5th Grade homeschooler (Ambleside Online & TT7)

Visit my Blog

by on Oct. 5, 2011 at 4:15 PM
My kids are still very young (5 and 3) so we've really only unschooled until know. I thought that I would shift more towards a Montessori type thing now that our oldest is "official," but I don't think that's going to work for us. I just need to embrace our weird and trust that the way my children have learned up until now is still effective and "enough". Finding an online support system has been the first step to finding that confidence.
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by on Oct. 5, 2011 at 6:17 PM

Thank you to all of you who "unschool" for being willing to share with us what that looks like.

I do have a question for any of you who would be willing to answer and I say this with absolutely NO judgement or finger pointing, I ask only for my own curiosity, so please do not take this wrong;

Do you teach math and language?  If not, in what way do they learn the basics such as addition, subtraction (even carrying and borrowing), multiplication, etc. etc.

Also on the same line, how do you teach Language, how to spell properly, capitalization rules, punctuation rules, grammer rules, how to write sentences properly... even papers, etc.

Again, I mean absolutely nothing personal to anyone, I am just really curious.

Thank you so much for your patience and your answers!


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