Are you new to unschooling and you're not so sure about it?
Maybe you've heard some of these mischaracterizations about unschooling,
and it really makes you hesitant?
Or maybe you have family members that aren't on board, and you hear these myths fairly often?
You've come to the right place!
After 20+ years (yes, my kids are grownunschoolers), I've heard it all!
And I'm happy to be here to set the record straight!
Let's dive in...
Only the ultra-religious and hippies homeschool.
And as for unschooling - that’s just the most activist in-your-face types of people!
People choose to homeschool for SOO many reasons these days!
And unschooling families come in all shapes and sizes, from various political, religious, racial and economic backgrounds. Unschooling parents are problem-solvers. They saw a problem with how learning and education is approached, and they sought a solution.
Learning requires duplicating school. And that would be really hard to do!
No way! Learning does not have to look the way it does in school. Many more creative ways exist. In fact, educational research shows that many of the ways schools are educating children are NOT the best practices! Unschoolers don’t have the constraints of a bureacracy or a system that has all sorts of other agendas. Instead, unschoolers can learn more about how children actually learn, see what works for their kids and truly create an individualized approach to learning.
By following interests, expanding on strengths, and looking at learning as an adventure instead of drudgery, unschooled children are able to have a very different experience than schooled children.
What if I can’t fill all the gaps in their learning?
No one really can. Everyone has gaps!
And when you discover one, there's always Google - or Siri or Alexa!
Remember, there's no real “deadline” for learning - we have our entire lives to learn anything we want! And, something else to remember… when I was in school, Google, cell phones, Netflix, PowerPoints, YouTube - none of those things existed! Who knows what will be around by the time our kids are grown! Better to help them learn how to find and use the resources that are available to them than to be stuck memorizing rote facts that will be easily accessed should they ever need them.
Unschooling closes doors/opportunities.
The opposite is true! Mentoring, internships, travel, real world involvement are all available to unschoolers. They can access anything whenever they have an interest they’d like to pursue. The community is constantly at their fingertips.
If it’s college that you’re worried about, unschoolers are attending college all around the world. In fact, colleges are eager to have them because they bring such a different outlook about learning with them and they’ve had childhoods filled with all sorts of rich experiences.
Unschooling children grow up with no rules, no structure and never hear the word “no.”
How can that prepare them for the real world?
We are not raising feral children! Life gives all kinds of opportunities for structure and limits. What unschooling parents do is remove the ARBITRARY limits. Unschooling parents find ways to say yes to some part of a child’s request because they’re all about partnering with their children to help them navigate their world. We all have financial or time-related limits. (I’m sure there are more categories than that, but those come to mind as the most logical.) Unschoolers learn to work within budgets, but also get the chance to build on curiosities or even pursue dreams.
Parents AND children need EXPERTS to do this!
Parents know their kids best.
Resources are available in any area - including friends/relatives, and even people you meet in passing within your community.
You're not the only adult in their world. Parents and children will be able to seek out any experts they might need to explore topics in whatever depths they desire. The community is full of options!
Unschooling is expensive. It’s only for the rich!
It’s only expensive if you make it so. It doesn’t have to be at all. The internet, libraries, group activities all can give children opportunities to learn more. Sure, you can spend a lot - but you can also be very frugal. Lots of times it’s about shifting your priorities, pooling resources, and making adjustments. If a parent sees the value in this type of education, they find a way.
Unschooled/homeschooled kids must be very lonely.
Support groups abound! It’s often just under the radar. Only when you start to look for others, do you notice that they’ve been there all along.
Community activities offer opportunities to meet people who share your interests - not just desk proximity. Conferences and get-togethers happen all over the country - even the world! Many ways exist to make friends. Even if you live in a more remote location, the internet can help you find a way to connect with others who share your interests.
Unschooled kids are not prepared for the real world.
Homeschooled kids are living in the real world every day!
They are not waiting for the bell to ring
or the “magic” age of 18 to occur so they can “start their life!”
Unschooling takes discipline, organization, drive, knowledge, credentials.
No, it takes creativity, resourcefulness, flexibility, a sense of adventure and actually enjoying being with your kids.