9.18.2012

Survey: When did you start unschooling?

I'd like to compile an article about when & how people come to unschooling.
  • Did you unschool from the beginning?
  • Did you move from homeschooling to unschooling?
  • Did your kids start in school?
  • How did it happen? How old were your kids?
  • Any related thoughts, feelings?
Feel free to respond in the comments area or on my Unschooling Facebook group.

I discovered unschooling via John Holt when my eldest was about 2. Folks in our attachment parenting play group were starting to talk about preschool, so I started checking out books on different educational philosophies (Waldorf, Montessori, etc.) I'd put so much of my heart into raising my daughter, I couldn't imagine sending her away every day. Unschooling made perfect sense to me, although husband needed a little while to warm up to the idea.

The results: When and how do families choose unschooling?

For some families, the unschooling concept is an easy fit that flows naturally from an attachment parenting style: responding to children's cues, respecting needs. However, many families take a less direct route, trying a more formal homeschooling or...

3 comments:

  1. started unschooling, I like to call it home educating, from birth, no other siblings .. not yet and loving the HE concept. It gives so much freedom so much advantage over the school. Love it. We do things like sit down and draw or count, or reading, I mean any educational activities only when my child wants to or asks for it, I rarely suggest. The thing I love most is that I can choose what to do with my time myself, amazing freedom.

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  2. *No. Well, it depends on what you mean by "beginning", since some people define unschooling as beginning at "school age".

    *Yes, in a way. We'd been considering homeschooling since our oldest was a baby, but when pressured about preschool when he was 3, I hadn't done any research, yet, and felt kind of panicky, so we put him in preschool for 2 - 21/2 months until the end of the "school year", and by the time autumn rolled around again, when the questions about preschool came up, I'd done a good bit of research and we were fully committed, so from that point on, we were set.

    Shortly after that, I found a local homeschool group and learned about unschooling. I met a family with 3 older kids that had all been unschooled for some years and it was reassuring to have "proof" that it "worked".

    Soon after that, I learned about radical unschooling. I was extremely doubtful about it for a time, thinking that a lot of people on Always Unschooled were "wrong" and the things they were talking about doing/not doing regarding parenting "wouldn't work *here*!!" But, the draw of the results they said they had: the beautiful relationships they had with their children (of all ages, but especially teens) kept me reading. I wanted *that* relationship with mine so badly, I was willing to ignore my huge doubts and try what they were saying.

    By the time our second child came along when our oldest was 5 1/2, we were completely sold and won over to radical unschooling.

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  3. Nikki ShieldsSeptember 20, 2012

    We pretty much unschooled from the beginning. We knew when the kids were born that we wanted to raise them on our own, not send them off to some stranger in daycare. That naturally evolved to attachment parenting and into unschooling. I did have visions of doing "school at home" in the early days, but neither of the kids was really that interested in academic work, worksheets, etc. They are much more eclectic in their approach to learning, and so we've followed that. I will say that in terms of topics that aren't focused specifically on education, like bedtimes and screen time, that it took us a while to evolve to a radical unschooling mindset and lifestyle. But now the kids are both teens, with varied interests, friends, joy, and cool lives, having never been to school at all.

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