Unschooling Resources: Articles
Don't forget to check
out the extensive collection of online articles from Live Free
Learn Free. Looking for articles from unschooling websites such as
unschooling.com, sandradodd.com or The Natural Child Project? Visit our unschooling
websites page for these and many other unschooling sites.
Natural Love of Learning by Jan Hunt
"The main element in successful
homeschooling is trust. We trust the children to know when they are ready to learn and what they are
interested in learning. We trust them to know how to go about learning."
On Unschooling by Mary
"I found, though, as I looked at the more concrete responses to questions
about what my respondents' families spent their time doing, that all of them had certain
characteristics in common. Three factors appear consistently in families for whom unschooling
The Parent's Essential
Active Role in Unschooling by John O. Andersen
"[Unschooling] is anything
but passive and directionless. On the contrary, it is arguably one of the most demanding of all
learning methods and potentially, the most stimulating as well. For it to succeed, parents need to
be their children's facilitators, constantly seeking ways to harness the endless learning resources
of their local community, and ultimately the world around them." For more of John's essays,
check out his site, Unconventional
"Have you ever described 'red' to a person who is color blind? Sometimes,
trying to define unschooling is like trying to define red." Answers the common questions: What
is unschooling, is this legal, can unschooling be structured and more.
Homeschooling? by Billy Greer
"Just what is it about unschooling that
differentiates it from other types of homeschooling enough to warrant its own term?"
Undefined by Eric Anderson
"Unfortunately, telling what unschooling isn't
doesn't tell what it is. In some ways, all homeschooling is unschooling -- we don't isolate our kids
from life, or move at the sound of a bell, or require permission slips, or neglect the individuality
of our children. Where unschoolers differ from other homeschoolers is the extent to which we let
children be responsible for their own education."
Unschooling? by Earl Stevens
"Unschooling isn't a method, it is a way of
looking at children and at life. It is based on trust that parents and children will find the paths
that work best for them - without depending on educational institutions, publishing companies, or
experts to tell them what to do."
Common Objections to
Homeschooling by John Holt
Holt's insightful answers to the questions most
asked of homeschooling families. Wonderful stuff, as usual.
with John Holt (Interviewed by Marlene Bumgarner) 1980
"In 1980, Marlene
Bumgarner, a homeschooling parent, hosted author John Holt in her home while he was in California
for a lecture tour. While he played in the garden with her two children, John and Dona Ana, she
interviewed him for the bimonthly magazine Mothering."
Growing Without Schooling: An
Interview with John Holt by Robert Gilman
"I guess my ideal educational
system would be a society in which knowledge was widely free and widely and freely shared, and
children were everywhere trusted, respected, safe, valued, and welcomed. The adult world is full of
signs saying off limits to kids. If we could take down all the signs that say "children can't
come in," or "no children allowed in except accompanied by adults" we'd probably do
most of what needs to be done."
How My Children
Learned to Read by Pam Sorooshian
"Learning to read can be just as
joy-filled as learning to talk was. If you are lucky, your child will do a lot of it in your
presence and out loud, so you can respond with encouraging approval, just the way you did when he
started putting sounds together to make speech."
Breathe Again - My Children Finally Learned How to Read! by Carol Rice
could have spent a million dollars on specialists to find out how to teach Liam how to read and to
learn why he wasn’t reading yet. But it just didn’t feel right.... Instead
I leaned heavily on the words of John Holt. He said that many kids, especially boys, when left to
their own learning pace, would not read until eleven to fifteen years of age."
the Math by David Albert
"A child could learn math - all of it grades K
through 12 - in eight weeks. Average (if there is such a thing), normal (never met one), healthy
children, hundreds of them, learned it all, leading to admissions to some of the leading colleges
and universities in the nation."
Our 8-Year-Old Son Still
Doesn't Read by John O. Andersen
"By all accounts, we should be
panic-stricken. Given our competitive society, many would no doubt feel we are highly irresponsible
to let our son fall 'so far behind.' Surely, we must be desperately looking for advice on dealing
with late readers. Or we must be on the hunt for that breakthrough curriculum which will quickly
turn him into a reader. Nope, neither." For more of John's essays, check out his site, Unconventional Ideas.
"I was watching her through the window as she went from our swingset to the
tire swing to the tree swing and back again.... This went for about an hour and a half. She then
came in and informed me of the following...."
Unschooling High School and
Unschooling High School and College by Allison McKee
children are schooled, traditionally educated at home or unschooled, college admissions is not a
guarantee. Don't fret, though, unschooled children are quite successful at getting into college. Not
only are they getting into college but they are doing well once they get there."
to College: The Value of Uniqueness vs. Orthodoxy by Alison McKee
Christian had spent four years fishing, sprinkled with volunteer work, two or three college courses,
singing, and otherwise enjoying himself, seemed no barrier to this dean, diploma or not. In fact,
his fishing exploits were what made him such an interesting and attractive candidate!"
Home Girl by
Britta Reida (written when she was sixteen)
"I think I expected to suddenly turn
into this energetic, eager-to-learn person who "knew where she was going" and was making a
difference in the world. Obviously, that didn't happen. All I wanted to do was watch TV and have
fun. In those first months, if it wasn't pure, 100% fun, I wouldn't do it."
- It's a Wonderful Life by Lillian Jones and family
Lillian recounts her and
her son's homeschooling journey with warmth and great insight. Her husband and grown son both add
their thoughts and experiences. Check out her son's interview for information about college after
How do Unschoolers Prepare for College? by Allison McKee
and universities are discovering that test scores and knowledge of traditional curriculum are not
always the best indicators of college success. This is to the advantage of unschoolers."
College by Heather Martin
Not an article, but a website. Heather Martin truly
unschooled college. Read about how she created her own university, what she "studied," and
how you can do the same. This is an inspiring site by an inspiring woman.
& Apprenticeships by Grace Llewellyn, excerpted from The Teenage Liberation Handbook
"Apprenticeships and internships help everyone involved. You learn by watching people who
know what they are doing and by actually doing many of the same things they do. They get free or
inexpensive help, as well as the joy and pride that comes from sharing what they love with an
Prism Article by Sean
Sullivan (a grown unschooler)
"In fact, my biggest complaint about college has
been the inability to ever think deeply about anything. Since coming here, I have never given any
project the kind of full attention that was commonplace for me."
Out of Hampshire by Peter
Kowalke (a grown unschooler)
"Unschooling during the college years had a seductive
ring... as well as a stubborn persistence in its logic. Why not unschool in college? What could
college bring to my life, along with its hefty price tag, that unschooling lacked?"
"There are so many ways to make your way in the world that I can't begin
to tell you specifically how to get started. Here are some general ideas...."
in College: Choosing a College by Peter Kowalke
"I knew little about
college or how to get there. All I knew was that the ultimate indicator of whether or not
unschooling “worked” hinged upon the question of college." Also check out Peter's
"College or Not?" article that appeared in the
August/Septermber 2004 issue of Live Free Learn Free.
High School by Karen
"The high school years are the time for children to try ideas on, to
think about different careers, to explore areas they are interested in to see if those areas are
something they might want to pursue for a lifetime, or part of a lifetime. If we set their goals for
them, externally, if we direct their learning and their schedule, how do they learn to do this
We've Grown Up and We're Okay:
Studying Home Educated Adults
"Respondents felt that home-based learning had
encouraged the development of self-reliance and resourcefulness, as well as the study skills
associated with attendance at a university or college." Also see the article Study: Home Educated
Children are Not Disadvantaged.
Other Unschooling Articles
Unschooling... How Can That Be? by Jeanne Musfeldt
"We don't depend on the
curriculum companies to provide our learning experiences. We trust God. He never lets us down."
the School Out of Homeschool by Liza Sabater
"School is the agent that
helps define the 'American Way of Life.' To break with school is to break away from a doctrine, a
system of values and ideas that we should believe in, unquestioning."
East, West, Home's Best by Karen Luckhurst
The home education
movement is growing in Britain. In this article, Karen Luckhurst explains her decision not to send
her children to school.
Achievement by Dr. John Edwards
An engaging article by a perceptive Australian
educator. "One evening, on returning from lecturing to my students, my wife asked me: 'And what
did you steal from your students today?'" Includes some wonderful D.H. Lawrence quotes.
from the Institutional Straightjacket by Perry Marshall
After reading John
Taylor Gatto's The Underground History of American Education, Marshall notes the ways in
which the traditional system of institutionalized education hinders entrepreneurs.
Full Circle by
Lara Kehler (a grown unschooler)
"Probably an hour later, and much excitement, I
had understood about 30% of the words on the first page .... With all the hunting, stalking, and
analytical skills I had developed catching snakes, and the patience for starting fires out of wet
wood and leaves, I hunted the remaining 70% of these devious codes called words on the first page of
the first chapter in the first book I ever read."
How Rulings in Homeschooling
Custody Cases Affect Us All by Larry and Susan Kaseman
This article from the
HEM archives is a great overview of the options available to divorcing, homeschooling parents. Also
of interest is AHSA-USA, an
email list that offers "an opportunity for homeschoolers to contact homeschooling attorneys and
experts about homeschooling legal and litigation issues."
How to Join a New
Homeschool Group by Kathleen McKernan
"It's a new homeschool park day and
my kids -- all four of them -- are clinging to me. It's a big park with lots of kids, lots of kids
they don't know. I don't know many of the mothers, either, and they're all gabbing away with the
people they do know well."
I Am What I Am
by Anne E. Ohman
"His note is taped to my mirror as a daily reminder of his unique
contribution to our lives, to our universe. In handwriting and spelling that a teacher would surely
frown upon, it reads, “I AM WAHT I AM.” Five words. Five short, simple words. But what a
message. What a huge, wonderful, powerful concept for an eight-year-old boy to possess.... Jacob is
my child with special needs. His first and foremost special need? He needs the freedom to be exactly
who he is."
with Grace Llewellyn: Champion of the Unschooled by Neysa C.M. Jensen
brought Grace Llewellyn to the place where she began writing to teenagers about taking command of
their lives and all the other things she does to support kids to take that step? I'll let her tell
Learning Through Living
by Beverly Behr
"I have found that when I did not lead and when I did not push
from behind, but when I embraced learning hand in hand with my children- then we started to meet our
goals of homeschooling."
No, Thank You. We
Don't Believe in Socialization by Lisa Russell
"I can't believe I am
writing an article about socialization, The word makes my skin crawl...."
Side Effects of
Standardized Testing by Ann Lahrson Fisher
"It is worth noting that
standardized tests, in addition to being narrowly focused and frequently misused comparative
measurements of academic progress, are powerful teachers in their own right."
What Should a 4-Year-Old
Know? by Alicia Bayer
Though not an unschooling article, specifically, many of
Bayer's insightful musings on this question are spot on.