When most people hear the word they can understand what it means relatively easily, or close enough anyway. The prefix ‘un’ added to the word ‘schooling’ means that it does literally mean ‘not school’.
Yep, no school. None. Zip. Nada.
Not school away from home. Not school at home either. NO school.
I personally like the word unschooling because it very clearly says that school is not what we’re doing here people! It couldn’t be more different. However, I do think when people first consider it, the word UNschooling may tend to lead people to focus on the absence of school. On what we’re not doing, as opposed to what we are. As if unschooling is taking something out of a child’s life that would ordinarily be there.
But unschooling is not the absence of something. There is nothing missing which we need to replace.
Sure, there is a lot of negativity that you can avoid by taking school out of the equation, but when making the decision to unschool it might be more helpful to focus on the amazing opportunities that this life has to offer.
Instead of concentrating on what you won’t be doing, think about the numerous benefits you will enjoy!
What does unschooling bring to your life?
Unschooling means freedom. Something every child should feel. Freedom to decide for yourself how each day will go, listening to no one else’s schedule but your own. Freedom to grow and develop at your own pace. Freedom to be who you are and do what you want. Freedom from judgement, evaluation, comparison, expectation, and demands. Unschooled children can feel free.
Unschooling means autonomy. Being able to make decisions about your own body and mind. From what you wear, to when you eat and sleep, to what you think about and are interested in. The choice is yours.
Unschooling means time. More time to enjoy childhood with your children. It goes by so fast, I don’t want to miss any of it!
“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst” – William Penn
Unschooling means connection. Deeper sibling and family connections as a consequence of more time getting to truly know each other.
Unschooling means authentic friendships. Getting to hang out with friends all day long if you like, or not if you don’t want to. Being able to choose who you spend your time with.
Unschooling means trust. Trusting children to learn what they need to learn, not pressuring them to learn according to someone else’s timeline. Can you imagine how affirming that feels?
Unschooling means following your passion. Whatever children are interested in is a perfectly valid choice, and unschoolers have the ability to learn about whatever they like. No wonder they love to learn!
Unschooling means individuality. Life and learning are not standardized. Children shouldn’t be either.
Unschooling means ample play time. Children are suffering so much from a lack of play, which is vital to their development. Unschoolers get as much play time as they need! Perfectly preparing them for adult life, as nature intended.
Unschooling means real learning. It’s recognising that learning is not restricted to different places and certain times. Nor does it happen the same for every person. Real learning is meaningful and self-directed and happening all the time, if we let it.
“Children are biologically predisposed to take charge of their own education. When they are provided with the freedom and means to pursue their own interests, in safe settings, they bloom and develop along diverse and unpredictable paths, and they acquire the skills and confidence required to meet life’s challenges. In such an environment, children ask for any help they may need from adults. There is no need for forced lessons, lectures, assignments, tests, grades, segregation by age into classrooms, or any of the other trappings of our standard, compulsory system of schooling. All of these, in fact, interfere with children’s natural ways of learning.” –Peter Gray
Unschooling means respecting children. Children are people, deserving of the same respect as adults, and unschoolers provide a respectful learning environment for children to thrive in. Adults are trusted to take charge of their own learning and ask for help and guidance when they need it. Children deserve the same.
I could go on and on. The list seems endless.
Unschooling is creating exactly the life you want, perfect for your individual family, and so the possibilities are boundless. Unschooling is not about removing something from a child’s life. It is about giving them more.