There are so many eloquently worded definitions of Unschooling out there, but for me it boils down to an attitude of allowing and of trust.
- Trusting the path our kids choose as they learn the things that are important to them and in the order that makes sense to THEM.
- Getting out of the way to allow the natural learning process that almost* every human is capable of.
It often doesn’t look much like the learning we are used to in a school or school-at-home setting, but it ends up being a deeper, richer and more useful education when children are allowed to explore and learn naturally in their own ways, rather than being forced to follow someone else’s agenda.
Unschooling is paying attention to how a child learns best and what “lights them up” and then honoring and supporting THAT.
More definitions of Unschooling:
The following link provides a great definition from a grown Unschooler with lots of links to expound on common questions like College? Socialization? Gaps in Education? etc.
In order to Unschool successfully, it’s imperative for parents to commit to the process of deschooling.
Here is more information about the deschooling process.
*Absolutes can be problematic – and sure enough as soon as I was convinced that Unschooling was THE optimal learning method for EVERY human (because it is the MOST customized education possible for each individual) my middle child was diagnosed with severe Autism. That caused me to question my beliefs about Unschooling in a deep and thorough way.
Ultimately I’ve found that even kids with Special Needs (and sometimes especially they) are STILL best off Unschooling – even with all of their differences in how they learn and relating to the world. There ARE a very few exceptions and we explore these in the group Unschooling Special Needs. If you suspect your child has learning differences or other “extra needs” that make them an “outlier” on the bell curve of “typical” development, I encourage you to join the discussion there.