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.


What Is Unschooling

Nurturing Children’s 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 Griffith
"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 works...."

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 Ideas.

Unschooling.com FAQ
"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.

Unschooling or Homeschooling? by Billy Greer
"Just what is it about unschooling that differentiates it from other types of homeschooling enough to warrant its own term?"

Unschooling 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."

What Is 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."


John Holt

Common Objections to Homeschooling by John Holt
Holt's insightful answers to the questions most asked of homeschooling families. Wonderful stuff, as usual.

A Conversation 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."


Reading, Math and More

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."

I Can Breathe Again - My Children Finally Learned How to Read! by Carol Rice
"I 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."

Just Do 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.

Swinging by Norma
"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 College

FAQ About Unschooling High School and College by Allison McKee
"Whether your 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."

Fly-Fishing to College: The Value of Uniqueness vs. Orthodoxy by Alison McKee
"That 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."

Homeschooling - 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 unschooling.

How do Unschoolers Prepare for College? by Allison McKee
"Colleges 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."

How to Unschool 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.

Internships & 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 excited newcomer."

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."

Rising 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?"

Uncollege by Wes Beach
"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...."

Unschoolers 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.

Unschooling High School by Karen M. Gibson
"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 themselves?"

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

Christian 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."

Deschooling: Taking 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.

Encouraging 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.

Escape 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."

Interview with Grace Llewellyn: Champion of the Unschooled by Neysa C.M. Jensen
"What 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 you."

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.

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