Another Way Is Possible: Unschooling and Homeschooling

I am currently reading "Teach Your Own" by John Holt after having recently read "Learning All the Time" by the same author.

These books are amazing.

Holt is a pioneer of "unschooling," a type of homeschooling that is child-led. Parents take cues from their kids and teach them whatever they (the kids) are into. If the kids are into dinosaurs then parents take them to museums and learn everything they can about these prehistoric reptiles. The theory is that people learn best when they're receptive and genuinely interested in a subject.

Anyways, these books talk about the different ways to teach children by using the world around them. Holt also blasts public/private schools for being the sham that they are.

Public schools... If you ever want to get me angry then ask me about public schools. Ever since first grade I viewed school as a complete injustice and a total waste. At a very young age I asked myself, "What did I do to deserve this?" What did I do to deserve being locked up for six hours a day to go over useless information taught by a bitter, child-loathing tyrant? I can go on and on (and I will in another post!).

Schools do not equal learning.

In fact, I think public schools are the antithesis to learning for many children. Once you start reading about unschooling, you realize just how bizarre the whole mandatory schooling/compulsory education process really is. It's an injustice to so many children. It kills their spunk, their desire to learn. It's stupid.

A few of my friends unschool their children. They meet up in groups a few times a week for socilization and to have some fun. (Homeschooling is not about sitting alone with your child and doing workbooks for six hours a day!) I met the group at the Metroparks where the kids went exploring for fossils and crayfish. It was amazing. This was the type of life I wish I had as a child. I always loved to learn so naturally I was offended by being locked up in school.

Unschooling is a life of learning through play and learning by doing. As parents, it's our job to expose our kids to as many aspects of life as possible. Unschooling makes learning real. It makes it fun... no grades attached.

More on this later. I cannot say how excited I am by this concept. I've never felt so free...


  1. I learned and retained more from field trips than I ever learned and retained in a classroom (with very few exceptions). The children attending the Islamic School of Excellence on Rocky River Drive are testing higher than the state average - lots of field trips. I have friends in the Cleveland area whose children attend there but my friends promote creative stimulation at home too. The family has memberships to many of the museums. The public school system stifles a child's inquisitive nature. Everything I needed to learn in life I learned in kindergarten, first and second grades.

  2. "The public school system stifles a child's inquisitive nature."

    YES! This definitely sums it all up. And it's really sad. As much as I hate public schools (and many traditional private schools), I don't think people are awful for sending their kids there. Many don't have a choice--at least they don't think they do.

    But as much as I want to say, "Hey! Let's work together and reform the whole schooling system," I know it won't work. Schools are too steeped in testing and other forms of BS. They are too far gone. It's best to scrap the whole system and start anew.

    I can't understand how anyone can think children learn best sitting in a classroom all day. Most days should be like field trips, full of adventures, new experiences and hands-on learning.

    I really think there's a conspiracy to the compulsory school system.

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  4. Unfortunately, I've noticed a lot of people who send their kids to public schools aren't really concerned with how their child learns best. They are more concerned with having their freedom from these little people. Honestly, it drives me crazy to hear people complaining that they had to pick their kid up early from school because they weren't feeling well or that they can't wait for their child to be old enough to go to school because the kids drives them crazy. Sometimes I just want to say, "All your complaining about your child's behavior is more of a reflection on your parenting than it is on the child."

    Ok, end vent, lol.