Forget Homeschooling ... "Unschool" Your Kids!

Forget "homeschooling" - that idea is so passé. Here comes "unschooling":

The Biegler children live as though school doesn't exist.

They're at home all day, but they're not being homeschooled. They're being "unschooled." There are no textbooks, no tests and no formal education at all in their world.

What's more, that hands-off approach extends to other areas of the children's lives: They make their own decisions, and don't have chores or rules.

Christine Yablonski and Phil Biegler of Westford, Mass., are self-described "radical unschoolers." They allow their teen daughter and son to decide what they want to learn, and when they want to learn it.

"They key there is that you've got to trust your kids to … find their own interests," Yablonski told "Good Morning America."

Yablonski described unschooling as "living your life as if the school system didn't exist."

Juju Chang of Good Morning America has more on this unusual approach to educamacation: Link

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@unschooling_dad, you are one of the first people in this entire thread to speak out with any sense of education and common sense on the issue. Props to you.

As a young man that was unschooled until I was 16 (at which point I, myself made the choice to attend high school) I am a bit aghast at the number uneducated (ironic eh?) comments here. Many of you have repeatedly said things like "parenting failure," "laziness," "uneducated," etc. But this is not even close to the truth. What many of you are missing is the fact that most kids have "education" shoved down their throats since the time they can speak and so have no desire the pursue things on their own.

Like unschooling_dad said, humans have an inherent desire to learn. When you treat education as an opportunity rather than a rule/obligation kids yearn to learn new things. I speak from experience. I had no formal education until I was 16 and yet I was constantly exploring new things. Everything from science experiments to construction to art. When I chose to attend school at 16 it was because of that same desire to learn. It was strictly my choice and I did it in order to broaden my view and experiences. I also attended college strictly because I wanted to and I chose to. I didn't do because I felt obligated to or because it was required to be successful.

When looking at the big picture, one of the biggest advantages unschooling offers kids is time. It gives them the time to explore their passions, to develop those passions and to find themselves for who they are.

To those of you still questioning and nay-saying it, take me as example (no egotism intended.) I was unschooled until I was 16, entered highschool with no previous formal education, was in the top of my class, went to college by choice for two years for the experience and am now working as a full-time freelance 3D animation artist and teacher. I am the co-founder of a very successful site,, am authoring a technical book on using 3D animation software, and have been published in two animation books thus far. Oh and I have been freelancing professionally since I was 16.

None of this would have been possible if I had been through a molded schooling system.
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As usual, internet comments stray toward the trollish, but I'm a little surprised as I consider Neatorama's audience a little more intelligent than average.

The idea that kids who are not in school are not learning is utter hogwash. Humans enjoy learning. It's what we do. Kids enjoy mastering new ideas and skills, but not when it's crammed down their throats. What school taught you how to walk? To speak? Have you learned nothing since leaving school? Think of the things you feel are most important to know in the life you live day to day. How many of those things were learned in school, and how many were learned by simply living them? How many were forgotten since school, but re-learned because you didn't have a use for that information at the time?

It's easy to think that unschooling means 'hands off' and that it's a lazy form of parenting. In truth, it's simply allowing your children to approach concepts and areas of inquiry when they're ready for them and can immediately apply them, not at some pre-determined step along a cookie-cutter curriculum.

It is our jobs as unschooling parents to provide a rich wealth of experience so our children understand that there is a complex, wide world beyond the four walls of our house; that this world has certain expectations of them; how to set goals and achieve them. But we're not taskmasters, we're guides. Unschoolers do enter traditionally 'academic' fields of endeavor - and they're free to aggressively pursue those interests deeply and satisfyingly instead of being shuttled from classroom to classroom, from subject to subject every 40 minutes. They're free to intern with experts in the field. They're free to seek out traditional classes in the subjects of their choice, if they like. And yes, they're free to fail and learn from those mistakes as well.

For those who would like to step beyond their initial judgemental reaction and actually learn more about how unschooling is lived in practice, this is a good site to start with:
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Mmm-hmmph. But could they do this, unless a LOT of other kids did go to school. You know, and learn how to make those TVs and write those books. Not to mention build their house, make clothes, grow food ...
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