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Unschooling: No Rules, No Lessons, All Child-Led Learning

By: Krystle Crossman

There is traditional classroom learning, there is home-schooling, and there is “unschooling”. This is something that was thought up by John Holt. It is a branch of home-school but instead of the parents teaching the children, they learn on their own. It is all child directed, there is no set schedule and no lesson plans. Doesn’t sound much like school to you? Read on and find out what unschooling is all about!

Unschooling is one of the least popular methods of education but has been growing steadily. Some parents feel that it is just a case of laziness on the parent’s part, others feel that it is the best way for a child to learn because it is all about what they are interested in as opposed to trying to learn something they want nothing to do with. The child gets to decide how they learn, when they learn, and what they learn. And while this may seem unorthodox to say the least, there is a method to it.

If a child wants to sit and play video games for the day that is something that unschooling is all about. Say they are playing a strategy game. This incorporates problem solving skills as well as hand-eye coordination. If they want to work in the garage with their dad for the day they are learning about shapes, parts, how things work, and the science behind the technology. If they get an allowance they are learning math by adding and subtracting what they want. Take them on a shopping trip with you and teach them about percentages at the sale racks. If they want to read the instructions to a video game, they will learn to read.

Unschooling of course involves a lot of trust between the parent and the child and it is not a method that works for everyone. Some families say that their kids actually ask to learn about something or have “school” for the day. They get to do things they are interested in and learn about things that will actually help them later on in life. When was the last time that you needed to use a quadratic equation or needed to know the exact date and time that President Lincoln was shot? Obviously, as a parent, there are going to have to be times when you step in and direct their learning in order to teach them things that may be important even if they aren’t interested in them, but overall it is about letting the child make decisions on their own and allowing them to explore the world around them.

Would you ever consider unschooling your children?

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