Unschooling by Default

When I first started home educating and read that most UK home educators start off with a formal ‘school-at-home’ style and gradually become less and less formal, eventually becoming unschoolers, I scoffed. That won’t happen to us, I thought – after all, I was planning to qualify as a teacher…

Needless to say, all my plans, ideas and curriculum have fallen by the wayside, and we have become unschoolers! After more than 10 years, I find I am still having to deschool my own thinking to realise that real learning rarely occurs within any kind of coercive environment but rather where the students have a real say over how, what and where they learn. It helps to be able to watch my own children happily exercising their own autonomy over their learning, and being the natural autodidacts that it has taken me decades to become.

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One thought on “Unschooling by Default

  1. Rhys, my husband relieves at a local school as a primary teacher (herre in New Zealand) two days a week. He that said in a way the school system is starting to head that way – child directed learning. the lastest definition of a teacher is – Not the sage on the stage, but the guide at the side. Well needless to say the school system will never succeed or get anywhere near it!
    I must admit after 18yrs home educating one realises that our children succeed inspite of us not because of us. I was rather formal with our first two children. They loved it and so did I. the next two were a different kettle of fish and they had a less accelerated learning curriculum, but still did well. the next two were our first boys and they too needed yet a different style. All in all, just being home is 99% of the success. As we mums relax and realise that there is more than one way to skin a cat we probably go down a gear. Not that we do not do our best with subsequent children, but we have learnt that they will do well.
    I’ve got to say I have had a problem with Un-schooling, home-schooling labels. Do we say I’m a home-feeder of my children or a home-clother of my children. Of course we clothe them, feed them and so of course we educate them. Personally I do not see myself as a home educator. We are the James family. However for all those schooled families that look oddly at us we are a home educating family, and would not have it any other way. Unschooling does not hurry the child and I know our first son has done well with the slower start. Love to hear more of what your finding works.

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