Friday, January 13, 2012

The Innovative Educator’s Guide to Getting Started with Unschooling


I was introduced to the idea of unschooling by grown unschooler and writer Kate Fridkis who contacted me about submitting a guest post on my blog.  Before that, I had never heard the term. 


It wasn’t long before my fascination with unschooling became an obsession.  Learning without school? People did this? How’d they turn out? What did they do all day? How did they learn stuff?  Didn’t they need school to learn? If they didn’t learn things in the order and way schools said they should, how would they be prepared for life or college?

I had to know more! I bought book books, read blogs, joined discussion groups, went to meetings, listened to podcasts, and started writing about what I was learning. To date, I have written more than 70 unschooling articles which you can read at this link. 


What was most fascinating to me is that learning without school shattered every myth I’d been told was true about school. In fact I learned that you could learn to read without school, write without school, and ultimately pursue any interest imaginable all without school.  As I researched and studied what happened to grown unschoolers I found that these individuals had very desirable characteristics in common that schooled children often did not have the opportunity to gain.  For instance, they seemed to have a more clear sense of their passions and seemed happy and satisfied with their life path.  They also knew if they didn’t know something, it wasn’t a big deal.  They could figure out how to learn anything.  



If unschooling is something you or someone you know would like to know more about, I share below some of the resources I used on my learning journey.  

An overview of unschooling
Idzie Desmarais gives a comprehensive overview of unschooling in her blog http://yes-i-can-write.blogspot.com/p/new-to-this-blog-new-to-unschooling.html

Grown unschooler’s blog
Kate Fridkis Berring, the person who got me excited about unschooling and introduced me to the idea that people can learn without school is a grown unschooler and has a terrific blog on the topic called Skipping School which can be found at http://un-schooled.net.

Teen unschooler’s blog

Brycen R. R. Couture is an unschooled teen who is a child advocate / activist pursuing his passion of being a heavy metal rock star.You can like his page on Facebook here.  His blog, which you can visit at http://brycenrrcouture.blogspot.com, provides a teen’s insight into life without school.

Blogs from unschooling parents
Many unschoolers are blogging about their lives. Reading these blogs is a great way to learn about unschooling.  I have collected a compilation of several blogs here.  Find the ones you relate to and you’ll learn a lot from these families.  Some of my favorites not mentioned in other categories here include the following:

  • Demand Euphoria: This unschooling mom unhappy with the current state of education, shares why that is and how she achieves a mission to provide a life for her family is not just one where there is happiness, but instead is one where she not only expects, but Demands Euphoria.  
  • The Mahogany Way: This is Darcel Harmon’s blog. She is a wife and Stay at Home Mama to three children. She and her husband are a Christian Attachment Parenting Unschooling family.
  • Penelope Trunk Homeschool: Penelope Trunk provides a raw and provocative look into what it is like for a mother new to home education. She’s not afraid to share her vulnerabilities and insecurities. Her blog inspires and enrages those considering, engaging in, and experienced in home educators.
Books
Guides
Articles
Websites
Podcasts
  • Unplugged Mom
    The Unplugged Mom podcasts are a great way to get started in getting a deeper insight into the folks behind home ed and unschooling. Laurette Lynn has done interviews with most of the folks mentioned above as well as people like John Taylor Gatto and Peter Gray. Here is a link
    to the podcasts.
  • School Sucks
    The public school system sucks off the productive capacity of hard-working people. The system is coercively funded through taxation. In other words, whether public education succeeds or fails (spoiler alert: it fails) at providing real education to the public, the cost goes up every year. There are no refunds. Above all, this is a show about what one might do about the problems of school...
Unschooling thought leaders
Click each name for a collection of their works.

Unschooling conferences
Keep the conversation going
If you want to keep the conversation going, I invite you to join my online group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/homeschoolingunschooling. This is a place where parents, students, teens, and teachers frustrated with traditional schooling can come together to discuss the more effective options they are interested in pursuing. The group is comprised of unschooling experts and authors as well as those new to, considering, or experienced with unschooling, homeschooling, uncollege or any DIY education.  
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