What is unschooling?

unschooling defn

well – no wonder.

(as in – no wonder more aren’t doing it – most think it’s illegal)

smacks of this quote from Holt:

The requirement that a child go to school for about 6 hours a day, 180 days a year, for about 10 years, whether or not he learns anything there, whether or not he already knows it or could learn it faster or better somewhere else, is such a gross violation of civil liberties that few adults would stand for it. But the child who resists is treated as a criminal.

more from Holt on what is unschooling here – here:

This is also known as interest driven, child-led, natural, organic, eclectic, or self-directed learning. Lately, the term “unschooling” has come to be associated with the type of homeschooling that doesn’t use a fixed curriculum. When pressed, I define unschooling as allowing children as much freedom to learn in the world, as their parents can comfortably bear. The advantage of this method is that it doesn’t require you, the parent, to become someone else, i.e. a professional teacher pouring knowledge into child-vessels on a planned basis. Instead you live and learn together, pursuing questions and interests as they arise and using conventional schooling on an “on demand” basis, if at all. This is the way we learn before going to school and the way we learn when we leave school and enter the world of work. So, for instance, a young child’s interest in hot rods can lead him to a study of how the engine works (science), how and when the car was built (history and business), who built and designed the car (biography), etc. Certainly these interests can lead to reading texts, taking courses, or doing projects, but the important difference is that these activities were chosen and engaged in freely by the learner. They were not dictated to the learner through curricular mandate to be done at a specific time and place, though parents with a more hands-on approach to unschooling certainly can influence and guide their children’s choices.

Unschooling, for lack of a better term (until people start to accept living as part and parcel of learning), is the natural way to learn. However, this does not mean unschoolers do not take traditional classes or use curricular materials when the student, or parents and children together, decide that this is how they want to do it. Learning to read or do quadratic equations are not “natural” processes, but unschoolers nonetheless learn them when it makes sense to them to do so, not because they have reached a certain age or are compelled to do so by arbitrary authority. Therefore it isn’t unusual to find unschoolers who are barely eight-years-old studying astronomy or who are ten-years-old and just learning to read.

—Pat Farenga, Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling

what is unschooling – via Holt..

also relates to our assumed definitions of education.

and of public.

and of the equity and sustainability potential in redefining these words/experiences. no?

Children do not need to be made to learn to be better, told what to do or shown how. If they are given access to enough of the world, they will see clearly enough what things are truly important to themselves and to others, and they will make for themselves a better path into that world then anyone else could make for them.    -John Holt


found/shared by Seth – http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/earl_stevens.html


life. it’s just life.

Being and Becoming – Trailer from pourquoi pas productions on Vimeo.



and many more..

makes you wonder


survey of grown unschoolers via Peter Gray:



sept 2014:

unschooling kids do just fine in college – http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/unschooled-kids-have-few-problems-once-they-hit-college-180952613/?no-ist


imagine if we called facilitating curiosity – school – – in the city (an eclectic ecosystem) – as the day (optimal use of 24/7)?

7 billion such researchers/entrepreneurs/happy people.. no?

this isn’t (doesn’t need to be ) rare.

imagine – facilitating authenticity…

finding all the geniuses inside.. waiting to be seen/heard/loved.

here are just a few…

ie:  AngelaJackBrittanyRuchiJacobEeshaBoyanAdoraCaine MLoganBirkeOscarPiperXiuhtezcatlCaine SSylviaLucasAlbert (et al), 4 yr old pianistChaseSatoriEverett, …. you..


oh my.

and the beat goes on.

but we got that. [Blake Boleson homeschooling/unschooling]

take charge. your life.

christopher aiff quote


via Pat in Shilpa & Manish‘s activism book – dated 2002:

pat farenga in elephant book



Ben Hewitt – rural unschooling:

..what I most want for my boys can’t be charted or graphed. It can’t be measured, at least not by common metrics. 

Kerry McDonald – urban unschooling:

“The city is our curriculum,” says McDonald. “We believe that kids learn by living in the world around them, so we immerse them in that world.” Their “classrooms”—sidewalks, museums, city parks—may appear drastically different from those of my sons. But the ethos remains the same, that a child’s learning is as natural and easy as breathing.


unschooling research and support (gathered by Pat Farenga):




If you haven’t heard or read a precise “definition” of unschooling yet, this is a great place to start! This is… fb.me/8h9t8NghD


may 2017 – deschooling reading list


via Pat Farenga: a dad gets comfortable w unschooling:



broken feedback loop and the need for global detox

Steven Putter (@stevenputter) tweeted at 5:05 AM – 28 Jul 2018 :
wow WOW WOW! must read, WELL done https://t.co/Q3SDuFk6rE(http://twitter.com/stevenputter/status/1023162551604047872?s=17)

into the heart of systems change

global systemic change.. begs we leap


via Peter

(may 2018) How Our Schools Thwart Passions | Peter Gray | TEDxAsburyPark


we’ve more or less turned childhood into a time of resume building.. t

you can’t find passions by building a resume.. by trying to please other people.. you find your passions by doing what you love to do..

3 min – kirsten olson.. thesis was going to be on .. how successful people did well in school.. ended up writing.. wounded by school


teenagers highest stress

his brother fred and guitar building

11 min – on unschoolers.. they don’t distinguish between preparing and living.. t.. between learning and doing

rev of everyday life


14 min – if involved in (truly) passionate interests.. work/play/learning are all the same thing

if we want our children to grow up w passionate interests.. we have to find an alt to school.. at least school as we know it.. at min reduce the power/affect of school and greatly increase time that children can do what they are designed to do .. play.. explore..


_unschooled (@_unschooled) tweeted at 0:48 PM on Thu, Jun 18, 2020:
“Unschooling isn’t a method, it is a way of looking at children and at life.” Earl Stevens, author

deeper.. ie: cure ios city

has to be all of us..

listen & connect to undo our hierarchical listening ie: 2 convers as infra


1\ undisturbed ecosystem (common\ing) can happen

2\ if we create a way to ground the chaos of 8b free people