Quite a few years ago someone asked this question on the unschooling.com forums (which is no longer there);
“What things have you found yourself explaining to others that unschooling is NOT? What commonly accepted notions does unschooling preclude or expose as nonsense?”
Here are some of the many answers that were posted;
It’s not school.
It’s not school-at-home.
It’s not “unit studies” because it’s not “studies.”
It’s not child neglect.
It’s not child-led curriculum.
It’s not “project-based” learning.
It’s not a method of schooling
It’s not leaving the child to figure out everything on their own.
It’s not required math and reading and “unschooling” everything else.
It’s not a cult.
It’s not a fad.
It’s not hiding your kids from the real world.
It’s not something you *do* Monday-Friday.
It’s not something you take a break from during the summer.
It’s not about curriculum or child-led learning, or unit studies, or expectations.
It’s not about changing my children, it’s about changing me.
It’s not about controlling.
It’s not about expectations.
It’s not living someone else’s idea of life.
It’s not traveling a previosly trodden path.
It’s not conforming to the ways and why’s of what everyone else is doing, how they are living.
It’s living an authentic life according to your own unique Spirit.
It’s not for everybody – meaning those that can’t understand it.
It’s not ‘easy’.
It’s not parents sheltering or controlling kids
It’s not denying children normal experiences
It’s not making learning happen.
It’s not school, but it’s learning.
It’s not easy, but it’s fun.
It’s not about “deciding what’s best” for our kids, but pursuing the best of life *with* our kids.
It’s not designing your children’s life based on your own ideal.
It’s not living by someone else’s standards, values and timetables.
Unschooling is not a twelve-year program that I have completed. It is a way of life. I didn’t merely do unschooling; I was and am an unschooler.
It’s not “making learning fun!”
It isn’t turning every event into a “lesson” – sometimes mud pies are just mud pies.
Unschooling isn’t failing my children.
Note: The conversation also included what unschooling IS and other members sharing their thoughts:
To me unschooling is the FREEDOM to live at PEACE, JOYfully, because you know, “Everything counts.” I love being able to bless my children with that knowledge, by confirming the value of their feelings, their thoughts, their accomplishments… their value of just being.
Unschooling is a child not having to choose to become something or someone . . . he/she already is exactly who they are. In order to do this, the adults in his/her life have to live consciously in order not to make that child feel they are “supposed to” live up to something or “be” a certain way or “do” a certain thing in order to be “acceptable”. It is exploring this world together, and enjoying the discoveries, and honoring how those discoveries shape how you think and feel. It is experiencing life’s opportunities, and sharing insights with each other on how those experiences stretch your understanding in becoming more aware of the divine nature within us all. It is providing opportunities to reach, to learn, to understand, to ponder, to reflect, to grow into the greatness we each possess within ourselves, for ourselves, whatever that may be.
Very powerful, wonderful and amazing to someone like me to finally realize that, as I stand on this threshold, with my children that I am not alone with these thoughts and that I CAN choose this path for my family. Quite a revelation!
Unschooling is expecting the unexpected. i.e. Set out 3-D house puzzles with some mini cars and Marble works all on the same table last night thinking 4yo nephew and 11yo dd would see them and go to town. Caught the 13yo happily playing with the goodies for two hours today! Then bil came in and made a beeline for the mini cars. Thought he was going to make off with a few! Fun, fun, fun.
It’s having respect for each other and It’s retracing ourselves and showing that respect in every action we take.
It’s living a rich and happy life.
It’s hearing your heart and creating your life accordingly!
It’s keeping yourSelf (children and adults) intact and Whole.
Unschooling is authentic.
It’s finding one’s own path
It’s allowing a child’s identity to unfold naturally
It’s about family.
It’s about living in the moment.
It’s about becoming.
It’s about joyful and honest relationships with those around you.
It’s about knowing yourself.
It’s about getting to know your children.