Unschooling – Is it For You?

Unschooling 101

The term “unschooling” was coined in the 1970s and used by educator John Holt, widely regarded as the “father” of unschooling.

Unschooling is an educational method and philosophy that rejects compulsory school as a primary means for learning.

Unschooling is a form of home education, which is the education of children at home rather than in a school.

Unschooling contrasts with other forms of home education in that the student’s education is not directed by a teacher and curriculum.

Parents who unschool their children act as “facilitators,” providing a range of resources, helping their children access, navigate, and make sense of the world, and aiding them in making and implementing goals and plans for both the distant and immediate future.

Unschooling expands from children’s natural curiosity as an extension of their interests, concerns, needs, goals, and plans.

unschooling questions the usefulness of standard curricula, conventional grading methods, and other features of traditional schooling in maximizing the education of each unique child.

However, this does not mean unschoolers do not take traditional classes or use curricular materials when the student, or parents and children together, decide that this is how they want to do it.

Unschooling encourages exploration of activities initiated by the children themselves, believing that the more personal learning is, the more meaningful, well-understood and therefore useful it is to the child.

extracted from Pat Farenga, Teach Your Own: The John Holt Book of Homeschooling & Unschooling From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

What it is NOT

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.

Unschooling isn’t a recipe, and therefore it can’t be explained in recipe terms. It is impossible to give unschooling directions for people to follow so that it can be tried for a week or so to see if it works.

Unschooling does not mean that parents can never teach anything to their children, or that children should learn about life entirely on their own without the help and guidance of their parents.

Unschooling does not mean that parents give up active participation in the education and development of their children and simply hope that something good will happen.

Why Unschooling?

Because schools are failing children in the areas of love & respect, personal responsibility, social awareness and social change.

Schools do not cater to the individualized & personalized learning.

Schools churn out cookie-cutter conformists who are programmed to follow, not lead.

Schools are not agents for change – they are institutions for social engineering, political & religious indoctrination, and a dumbing down of curious minds.

Because our children need an education that is steeped in love and compassion so that they grow up to be loving and compassionate individuals who care about others and the environment.

Because our children need an education that promotes freedom – freedom of speech, movement and thoughts – rather than an education that curbs them with threats, violence and punishments.

Because our children need to learn and grow in a happy and trusting environment that is free from bullying, discrimination and segregation so that they may learn to trust themselves and to trust others that they will not be harmed.

Because our children need to learn and grow in the real world – a world that is colorful and diverse, filled with possibilities and hope, based on real skills and meritocracy, rather than an artificially- induced kind of education that confines students in a box so that they do not trust themselves nor others, and are conditioned to follow rather than to lead, so that they may forever remain under the delusion that they are getting a good education to secure a good job for the future.


Unschoolers learn through their natural life experiences including play, game play, household responsibilities, personal interests and curiosity, internships and work experience, travel, books, elective classes, family, mentors, and social interaction.

interest driven
self-directed learning.
doesn’t use a fixed curriculum
allowing children freedom to learn
live and learn together
pursuing questions and interests as they arise or “on demand” basis. the natural way to learn.

“There is no reason that families should be less flexible and innovative than schools.” (Earl Stevens).

What to do:

1. Examine
Spend copious amount of time with your child/ren to watch, to listen, to feel your child/ren so that you may understand their physical, emotional and social needs, their personalities, their learning styles and preferences, etc

2. Explore
Do different kinds of activities that involve the arts – drawing, painting, art & craft, music, drama, agriculture studies, writing, filming, designing etc Also activities that involve mathematical and scientific knowledge through science projects and entrepreneurial skills. Through explorations the child will find his or her passion.

3. Express
Every child should be taught the necessary skills to express what he or she feels, imagines or envisions during the exploration process. This can be done through words, numbers, sounds, sights, tastes, bodily movements, etcetera

Is it for you?

It is for you if you possess the following qualifications:

1. Your philosophy of education is the same as your philosophy for life – which puts the inner happiness of the child as top priority, and not what he or she can achieve.

2. You possess a learning mind rather than a fixed mind – you are willing to learn (even if it means from scratch!) so that your passion to learn will rub off on your children.

3. You are prepared to experiment with all kinds of approaches to learning, and be prepared to FAIL in most, if not all of them!

4. You are willing to face your children all day and all night, and tolerate their different learning styles and inclinations, including their various personalities and idiocyncracies!

5. You are OK with not having any concrete ideas which direction your child is going to take, until he has exhausted all learning explorations!

6. You are OK with your child not wanting to take any exams from Year 1 until end of high school because they refuse to be defined by the exams.

7. You are prepared to face criticisms, condemnations, condescending remarks and even threats by all quarters for not toeing the line in the education of your children.

8. You are prepared to take full responsibility of your child/ren’s education, without surrendering them to the institution called schooling.

“Parents, it’s time to protect your children. How many stories do we need to read about children suffering through tests that don’t really measure how smart they are and don’t take into consideration their unique developmental stages? Why should children have to take tests to determine if the computer infrastructure is working correctly or tests to determine if they are even valid? It’s time to practice civil disobedience. This generation of children is learning to hate school and what it represents.” (Kelly Poynter)

Unschooling Homework

✏️ In one word, describe what unschooling is to you.


✏️ Why do you want to Unschool your child?


✏️ What do you want to pass on to your child through unschooling?


✏️ Is unschooling for you?


✏️ If yes, what’s the first thing you will do with your child?


✏️ What’s the last thing you will do with your child?


Some of our favorite quotes are:

And live your dream!!!

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1 Response to Unschooling – Is it For You?

  1. Mag Chin says:

    Hi …m seriously looking into home schooling/centre for my niece in ipoh. Will welcome any help in that direction. Tq very much

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