Curious about Unschooling?

Did you know that at least 100,000 kids in the US are considered “unschooled?” And after Good Morning America’s segment on unschooling last week, outraged educators and concerned grandparents are linking arms.

But what’s the truth? What’s it like to be unschooled? What are those parents thinking?!

As a mom of three unschooled kids, including one who became a National Merit Scholar, allow me to explain.

Unschooling is Built on Two Simple Observations:

1. Kids are born to learn.

How much instruction did your child need to learn to walk and talk? And given the right environment, he can effortlessly learn several languages before puberty.

An excellent book on the ideas behind unschooling is Learning All The Time by John Holt. In it he says, “Children are born passionately eager to make as much sense as they can of things around them. If we attempt to control, manipulate, or divert this process…the independent scientist in the child disappears.”

2. Forced learning kills the desire to learn.

Have you noticed that kindergartners usually love school? Then by second or third grade, your lively learner has started to drag his feet–either dreading, fighting, or ignoring school tasks.

I didn’t want school to ruin my children’s love of learning. I wanted each of them maintain the joy of childhood and the joy of learning–all the way into adulthood.

So when Peter, my first little guy, was old enough to start school, I said no. And while my homeschooling friends trudged through expensive curriculums, we … did other things.

In our home it was endless summer. We flowed from preschool into elementary school without dimming the wide-eyed approach to life.

I watched him. What excited him? What made him want to know more? Those were the things we focused on.

Common Concerns

Now Peter is almost 21 and attends the University of Chicago. One mom asked if he thought interest-led learning prepared him for college and if it gave him any advantage.

Here’s how he responded:

Definitely! Probably the biggest one is simply that I’m not burned out. I still have the energy and motivation to take school seriously, whereas many of my peers stopped doing that years ago. In addition, it’s given me the ability to be self-motivated and find opportunities for myself instead of just waiting for them to happen.

Another advantage is that I had the opportunity in high school to really start preparing for college, especially in the areas I’m interested in. I’m finding a lot of the introductory classes very easy, because I had already covered the basics on my own. There aren’t any philosophy classes at the local public school, but with my interest-led education I was able to get into some pretty advanced philosophical topics before I even went to college.

Another concern I hear is that unschooling is for lazy parents. But really, unschooling is for crafty, detective parents who teach without anyone realizing it. It’s for parents who are constantly searching out experts and opportunities to feed their little learning machines.

Some parents assume unschooling means no hygiene and no chores. Not necessarily. It’s your home, and as loving, respectful humans, we have to learn to live together and be healthy. Kids can understand that. Interest-led learning, in my opinion, is first a philosophy of education.

How it works in your family life is up to you.

I’m at the end of my unschooling journey, for now. One of my kids says I have to homeschool my yet-to-exist grandchildren. But until then, I’m basking in the rewards of being the mom of three very different young adults who love life and learning, and are still kids at heart.

What do you think of unschooling? Could you incorporate some interest-led elements into your homeschool?


About Jena Borah

Jena Borah homeschooled her three children all the way to college. She blogs about her homeschooling years and her interest-led philosophy at Yarns of the Heart.


  1. What a great article! I really love your perspective as a mom who’s walked through this already. It’s interesting right now for me – my seven year old has taken off in his reading. So I’m finding a lot of my curriculum I’m sort of letting go of. I just watch him as he inhales book after book – he’s read all his science books for the year. He finished all his readers for this year and next year. Basically all I’m left to really do with him is his handwriting and math and half the time he does it on his own anyways, sometimes in the early morning before I’m even awake! This is all very new and surprising to me and I’m not quite sure what to make of it or what to do, but I guess just follow his lead and keep feeding that desire to learn????
    .-= Leslie’s last blog: Life goes on… =-.

  2. Great post!

    I agree that “unschooling is for lazy parents” is a myth. Honestly, our curriculum is a crutch, and not one I’m willing to give up just yet, because I’m afraid that my laziness would make us unsuccessful unschoolers without it!

    • Great point! Curriculum can give you great ideas and have some fun elements to it.
      .-= Jena’s last blog: Peter and His Friends Make the UChicago Website =-.

      • Hi I have 8th grader that wants to be homeschooled. We both agree its the best path to sucess. But now after reading this article and all the comments I want to join in in unschooling. Ive been mind boggled trying to find a homeschool program. So how do I put unschooling in action. We want to start immediAtely. What bout record keeping and gradebook. Would we have to turn those in to someone for proof of education. Workbooks cirriculum plan. Someone please point me In Direction to teach my son what he is imterested in learning. What about state testing.

  3. Stefani M. says:

    The more I homeschool my four-year old (who literally BEGGED me to teach her math), the more I lean towards unschooling… or at least a very relaxed curriculum. Yes, I’ll make sure they learn math, reading and writing, but from there, it’s going to get fuzzy. Lead the way kids, you know what you want to learn! (And you’ll learn it better that way, too.)

    • teaching your child math when they’ve asked to learn it is definitely within the unschooling philosophy. sometimes there’s some confusion about unschooling where people think they’re not supposed to teach their kids things, or intervene in their lives. really, it’s just forgetting about all the schooly dogma you’ve internalized and living your life. if your child loves math and asks to learn it, there’s nothing schooly about that at all. they are living their life and discovering cool things!

  4. I was not a fan of unschooling, the concept rather made me uncomfortable, when I first began homeschooling. I am at the end of my second year and beginning to see that it is not such a bad idea. These little gals (5 and 6) know what they want to learn about and do have a natural curiosity that keeps them learning. We’ve pretty much dropped the myriad of workbooks we were using and have developed a more relaxed approach. Could I relax it even further? Yes, and it’s posts like this that give me the courage to try it! Thanks!

  5. I’m SO thankful to have found out about unschooling/interest-led learning. It truly has revolutionized our home.

    Yes, as someone raised in the traditional model, it can feel scary at times to let go of it. But the rewards have been so rich, for our entire family.

    And listening to pro moms like Jena is what keeps me going! =)
    .-= Jamie ~ Simple Homeschool’s last blog: Curious about Unschooling? =-.

  6. What a fantastic post! Thank you so much for sharing. We are life-learners (unschoolers) and I find it so rewarding and imperative to hear from families with older children. Unschooling is cause for great judgement when you have littles and people try to scare you about how awful your children will turn out. Luckily we have a great unschooling support group in town and I get to see and interact with the *amazing* teens who come by.

    I think life learning is one of the most exciting, expansive learning journey’s I can imagine and I feel so lucky to be on this journey with our children.

    Thanks Jena!
    .-= hillary’s last blog: flowers13: RT @OrganicWomBaby:ur power lies NOT in tolerating ‘discomforts’ of birth, but in choosing safe, effective rsources 2 support u & #baby. =-.

  7. Thank you so much for addressing this topic. I’ve homeschooled for 10 years and never considered unschooling until this year. However, after years of “doing school” my 12 year old doesn’t seem to have any inclination to self direct his learning. If I don’t give an assignment, he plays video games or Legos. Do you think it’s possible to transition to unschooling, or has the damage already been done? For those just starting in the journey, I highly recommend giving unschooling a try before you force feed your kids. I wish I had!

    • I agree with Emily’s response below. A child may need to decompress after a traditional school experience. And after he gets his fill, he’ll be looking for something else to do. That’s when you swoop in with some suggestions! But like Emily said, find out why he likes those things and extend off of that into related things.

      Every child has that spark of life, that desire to make something of himself. So be patient and convince him that he really can choose what he wants to learn. It just might inspire him to greatness!
      .-= Jena’s last blog: Unschooling on SimpleHomeschool =-.

  8. Great post Jena! You are so right about #2 forced learning kills the desire to learn. We are unschoolers here too. I started out doing school at home it went out the window because I was pushing to hard. Then I found unschooling and it has been such a joy to spend time with my kiddos watching them learn and grow on their own terms. The best is when they tell you something you had no clue they knew anything about a subject and you ask “How did you know that?” and they say” I just knew! or I found out on my own.”
    .-= Rana’s last blog: Wordless Wednesday =-.

  9. This is in response to Lynn’s comment. I know it can be scary to let your kids play video games all day! What I’ve found though is kids need some down time after a traditional model of schooling. Let him saturate himself in those two interest (in my opinion Legos all day is AWESOME) gradually it will lead to others. If he stays stuck on those two then play with him, find out what he likes about those two things. Then get some books from the library about video games design and leave them out. Take him on a field trip to a lego store. Above all, provide opportunities but let him lead. He will be just fine!

    ~source: I’m a grown homeschooler and life-learner
    .-= Emily Krenzke’s last blog: painted =-.

  10. Susan’s thoughts on unschooling/interest-led learning are also a wealth of beautiful information and encouragement…she has 4 adult children who were unschooled!
    .-= Aimee’s last blog: A Spring Break =-.

  11. Peter Borah says:

    On the kid who just wants to play video games and legos:

    First off, are you sure that’s what he’d do, even if he had no other responsibilities for a week or two (or ten)? Wouldn’t he get bored? That may be all that he does with his free time now, but I suspect that is at least partially because his free time is a limited commodity.

    Second, those are honestly pretty productive hobbies; you could do a lot just by encouraging and building on them. Get him a Lego Mindstorms set, they are legos with a robot brain you can program on your computer. There are so many things he could learn from that: both at a general level (teaching him creativity and problem solving) and a specific level (teaching him programming skills). If he takes to that, then you could get him interested in more serious programming or robotics.

    Or if he isn’t interested in that type of Legos, and just wants to build static things, then encourage that. Get him to start a major building project. (There are all sorts of websites that will give you Lego “blueprints”, you might not even have to buy any more pieces, depending on how much you already own.) Organizing and planning for a serious Lego sculpture would be extremely educational, and could lead to interest in other forms of creative activity.

    Or maybe see if he wants to expand from just Legos to other things that are related. Maybe he’d be interested in architecture, or carpentry, or sculpting, or painting, or model building (model rockets might be fun, teach him some physics and chemistry at the same time!).

    My final thought on Legos is that even all of the above isn’t strictly necessary. Maybe he just needs to exercise his creativity in this way for a while. My mom will tell you that I spent years doing little besides reading a rather silly children’s mystery series called “The Boxcar Children”. It seemed like a waste of time, but I was absorbing a lot about how writing and communication work. (And I later expanded to other books on my own, when the Boxcar children got too predictable for me.)

    A great example of how hobbies can lead to unexpected outcomes is this guy:

    He was a professional physicist for a while, until he realized that he could make greater contributions as a professional origami artist. He more or less single-handedly revolutionized the origami world, and now he uses that knowledge to help with scientific projects. For example, he was hired to design an optimal way to fold a space telescope lens.

    I think it’s counterproductive to think about how to keep your kid from doing what he wants to do. Instead, you should encourage his interests and help him see how he can pursue them further. Maybe he’ll get bored of Legos and move on to something else. Or maybe he’ll become one of the world’s greatest Lego builders, and someday leverage that knowledge into a career in architecture or sculpting or engineering.

    I could go on a similar rant about video games, but a) I think it’s a little more obvious how to leverage video games into more “productive” (I use that word very loosely) activities, and b) my advice would differ greatly depending on what types of video games he enjoys, so I’ll keep it short. If he’s into MMOs, think about the social aspect. If he’s into games like Myst, think about the logic and problem solving aspects. If he’s into Super Smash Brothers, there’s a whole group of people (see: who study the theory of fighting games and fighting game design, and how it can be applied to other things. Even if you can’t find anything redeeming about the game itself, at least get him to invite friends over to play with him, and it’ll be useful social practice (learning to lose gracefully if it’s a competitive game, or learning to work together if it’s a co-op game.)

    Also, for all of these things, perhaps the most important thing is to see if you can help him find other people who share his interests. (Either online or, if you live in a bigger area, in real life.) Any serious community of hobbyists is going to teach him a lot about social organization and cooperation, researching skills, and communication. A lot of my writing ability (such as it is) comes from spending a lot of time composing rants on various internet forums. These ranged in topic from unicycling to Harry Potter to speech and debate, but I would argue that they were all incredibly formative.

    Finally, sometimes it’s necessary to just accept that humans “waste” a lot of time. I currently am spending a good deal of time playing a really silly Rogue-like game. I could make an argument that it teaches something about persistence or resource management, but really it’s mostly just silly and fun. However, having that mental decompression is incredibly important. If I tried to keep myself from “wasting time” it would backfire. For one, I would go crazy and not be able to handle the stress. For another, I wouldn’t have time to really mull over the ideas I have and the things we’re talking about in my classes. There’s a reason all the best ideas happen in the shower; we need time to let our brains wander.

    Phew, that was a really long rant. I hope something in there was helpful! Good luck. 🙂

    -Peter Borah (Former unschooler, currently a second year at the University of Chicago)

  12. Hi Peter! Thanks for chiming in. 🙂
    .-= Jena’s last blog: Unschooling on SimpleHomeschool =-.

  13. Peter Borah says:

    Somehow in that whole long rant I forgot the most important point, I guess because it’s second nature now.

    If you think your kids aren’t making the most of their time, then the best solution is to show them how to do better. I would be pretty surprised if your son didn’t find something fun to do beyond legos and video games if he had the opportunity to explore a lot of other options. I talked about this in a post on my Mom’s blog a month or two ago. I suggested then that a “drifting” kid should “Act in a play, take a woodworking class, write for a local publication, work at a soup kitchen, get a ham radio license, take up boxing, learn how to make websites, or study ancient Asian religions. Something will eventually keep his interest.” Based on the opportunities available in your area and the interests that your kid already has, I’m sure you can add many more things to that list. Discouraging current interests is counter-productive, but encouraging future interests is wonderful.

  14. I’ve really been appreciating your posts as it’s rare to read about unschoolers who are college age. I also love the term ‘interest-led learning’ as I think it says much more about the learning philosophy.

  15. Great post as usual, Jena. I appreciate the way you address the myths and popular perceptions head-on instead of being defensive about them.

    Your point about them being wide-eyed learners when they’re little makes me realize that I’m so much more relaxed internally about my 4 year old’s learning than I was (and am) about my firstborn, who’s now 9. Just today, she had a bee in her bonnet about wanting a caterpillar to raise, and we couldn’t find any in our yard. So, we piled everyone in the car and took her to the local nursery so she could pick out a milkweed plant, which we planted as soon as we got home (“full sun, Mom”). Another customer at the store gave her more details about why the monarchs like that plant, and she listened eagerly. I feel like I have a front-row seat to full-throttle learning all the time!
    .-= Hannah’s last blog: Three Wishes =-.

  16. P.S. I love Peter. 🙂
    .-= Hannah’s last blog: Three Wishes =-.

  17. This is so encouraging and validating. Thank you!
    .-= Misha@ beautyandjoy’s last blog: One For The Rabbit, One For The Mouse, One For The Blackbird, One For The House =-.

  18. Jena, great article. You continue to write such great stuff…so true. Thank you so much!!!

  19. So how does this work when you live in a state that has testing and portfolio review? I have always thought intrest led learning would be a great fit for my son, but I can’t see how when he must be take a standardized test every year.
    .-= Bekki’s last blog: Planning for a big cook =-.

    • This is a great question. I’d research what the tests are like and what proficiency level he has to make every year. You could also search for homeschool groups in your state and find out how they do it. I’ve heard that state requirements can be pretty low, so you might not have much to worry about.

      Chances are, you could spend a couple weeks a year on test prep, just to make sure he knows what to do. The rest of the time could be devoted to his interests.

      Portfolios are merely proof that you’ve covered mandated subject areas. Keep those subjects in mind as you go through the school year, keeping records and translating your child’s learning experiences into public school language. See my post on how I keep records here:

      A portfolio can be a like a scrapbook of memories of his school year. But like I said earlier, check with other homeschoolers in your state to see what they do.

      Hope that helps!
      .-= Jena’s last blog: Unschooling on SimpleHomeschool =-.

  20. Lovely! Thanks for sharing your story. It carries extra weight because your kids are grown and excelling.
    .-= Jennifer Jo’s last blog: Something strange =-.

  21. I have sort of dipped into this method on accident. My daughter is very bright and began teaching herself to read at just barely three years old. I wanted to homeshool, but it is almost impossible to find a curriculum that matches her age and intellectual ability at the same time. Plus, I don’t think it is temperate to do as much school work as is required by pretty much all the curriclums out there. So I have been teaching my daughter as life leads and God gives creative ideas and she is thriving.
    .-= Annie’s last blog: Home Controlled by Emotions? =-.

  22. Thank you for sharing this informational post. I’m surrounded by homeschoolers & would love to do this for my children. Your post will do me good to prepare my discussions with my husband. My poor daughter just went through almost 2 months of standards testing and all the pressure it provided and she’s only in 3rd grade. What’s wrong with that picture? I’m switching her from a school of 370 kids in 3rd-5th grade to a school of 170 kids k-5th grades. I’m hoping the smaller atmosphere will help her continue to love learning. Thank you again for all the inspiration 🙂
    .-= Sarah @ Mum In Bloom’s last blog: Recipe: French Country Bread (Bread Machine) =-.

  23. I only recently found out what unschooling actually was. To be honest, my initial thought when I heard the term was ‘oh, here we go, a bunch of hippies rejecting society blah blah blah’. Which is grossly unfair and not like me really. But I get jaded with hearing how everything is bad and/or good at one time or another. It is hard to find the truth in so much of the information we are bombarded with. Anyway, to cut a long story short, once I investigated further I think it is brilliant and natural and I want to look more and more into it. Especially as I have a 7 yr old who has always loved learning so much but is now in the 3rd grade and is bored already. Bored in 3rd grade!! That is great when there are at least another 9 yrs to go! I just hate seeing her light dimming. Plus I have a 4 yr old with the most fantastical thought process and I can’t bear the thought of him having to curb that tendency in a traditional school environment (which I have absolutely no doubt he would have to do). I just love this post because, like others, it is so refreshing to hear from an adult who has grown up in this way. The main things stopping me from doing it right now are that I lack confidence in my ability to support them at home and I worry that things would descend into chaos plus I haven’t ironed out the thoughts about social interaction and so on. Also, I am a very introverted person and I worry about losing patience with having them with me all the time. But I need to read more obviously. In the meantime, I read your blog and found a reference to a school that basically follows unschooling in Boston (Sudbury Valley) and was soooo happy as we might be moving there in 4 weeks!
    .-= Catherine’s last blog: Free printable – Pink Butterfly Party Invitations =-.

    • Catherine, I’m introverted too. But this works out well because the kids are often doing their own thing and you can be doing your thing, like reading or having a cup of tea on the back porch. 🙂

      One way to feel organized is to meet all together in the morning for some together time–like reading or talking through the plans of the day. Then they’d be off on their own, or with me if I was a part of what they were doing. They had workbooks and textbooks to fall back on if they couldn’t think of something to do. Sometimes we had checklists of things to accomplish before they could go to a friend’s house, etc.

      Unschooling can be as structured as everyone wants. The key is that the kids like it and stay motivated to learn.
      .-= Jena’s last blog: Unschooling on SimpleHomeschool =-.

  24. loving these comments!!

    I can testify as to the benefits of online gaming. My 7 year old discovered Roblox and is now a solid reader. Before gaming, he had his phonics instruction, but I wouldn’t have call him a reader. Now, he reads Warriors (you know, cats and clans, juvenile fiction) thanks to following the Roblox chat and learning how to play an online game.
    .-= monica @ educating magpies’s last blog: The real action starts at 1:25 =-.

  25. Perhaps the issue lies not in the method, but in the name. “Unschooling” sounds very neglectful to the public school crowd, and there are the parents who take it to the extremes and get the attention of the media.

    I can see now that there were aspects of interest-led learning in the homeschool method my parents used, but there were also increasing levels of structure as we moved from elementary to middle to high school ages. My parents found a nice balance of structure and freedom in those especially important years of 7th – 12th grades. We did course work, but still had plenty of time to explore our other interests – horticulture, botany, beekeeping, etc.

    Fast forward to now: my younger brother and I both received full academic scholarships to college, and both graduated at the top of our classes. He heads to graduate school in the fall, and I work successfully in corporate America. I credit the philosophy my parents used in homeschooling for much of my success. One of the most important lessons to teach any child: it doesn’t matter if you can regurgitate the answers or replicate the math problems. What matters is whether or not you understand the concepts. Students who begin their educations with interest-led learning have this advantage over their peers – they learn for the satisfaction of learning, not for the result (that is, grades).

  26. Hi Jena

    I appreciate your words as I am starting to think more about unschooling lately. I started thinking in a school way but am not entirely happy with the schoolish set-up. I also never follow things exactly so I can never follow a set curriculum. We get too interested or change our methods or divert.

    My daughter is 5 1/2 and homeschooling in a semi- structured way. I find literature based activities or real-life or manipulatives style maths the most enjoyable for both of us. I want Emily to also learn some more independence though.

    What does interest-led learning look like for a 5 yr old? Would you do any phonics? Do you do any spelling words? handwriting practise? DD thinks it’s so great when she realises that the letter to the zoo is actually “school” but don’t we need to practise the letters a few times before we can write the letter? I guess I am thinking a small amount of drill facilitates the real-life activities the child is interested in.

    I find interest-led activities to be very demanding – DD is unable to read on her own, unable to make a lot of things on her own that she really wants to and most of her ideas are expensive, complicated and would require me to put in 99% of the work. She says she wants to grow flowers. She can’t press the soil down firmly enough around seedlings for them to grow! She can’t lift the watering can easily or turn the garden tap on herself.

    I think DD loves me being in there doing stuff “for” her and would much rather me continually help her than do things herself. She enjoys interaction with others (including me) and is happy not to push herself mentally or physically. I like things to be done well and I think often jump in to help sooner than I should.

    I would be interested to hear your comments if you are able to respond.



    • Hi Jude,

      Your comment makes me smile and brings back such great memories. Yes, teach her to read and write her letters as much as you both want. If she is eager to learn, make the most of it! We can’t be afraid to teach–it’s the overteaching that turns kids off.

      And yes, interest-led learning can be very time consuming for the parent when the child is little. Do whatever you can, and remind her to be reasonable. Mommy only has so much time and energy! Sometimes you can get her started, show her how, then stand back and see what she does with it. And we have to loosen up on our perfectionism. At this age, the purpose is their exploration and discovery more than the finished product.

      If her interests are too expensive, etc, try offering other ideas that she would like just as much. One of our daughters wanted to take riding lessons and get a horse. That was just not going to happen in our family. It was very hard to work through that, but we survived.

      Kids need the freedom to follow their interests, but they also need to realize that they are not the center of the universe. Learning to defer to others, to be patient, to make the most of what they have–those are all part of being a successful human.

      But we parents need to communicate this in a noncondemning way, as I’m sure you do. I always had to remind myself to be gentle and kind to my kids as much as possible, in all areas of life, and as a result, they respect me and follow my lead when it really counts.

      Hope this helps,

      🙂 Jena
      .-= Jena’s last blog: Unschooling on SimpleHomeschool =-.

  27. I have two 4 year olds who are very demanding of my time and attention. They are both highly motivated to do their own things. Even things like my son’s interest in supeheros lead to interesting tangents involving bats, gravity and magnatism. My daughter reads at a 2nd grade level so she loves to read all types of books.

    My biggest problem now is balancing housework and doing stuff with the kids. They want me to do things with the ALL THE TIME! I love spending time with them, but it is very demanding with me. Even as I type this, they are pulling at me. So I take bits of time to myself when I can get them (I’m pretty introverted). I can’t imagine having a set curriculum to follow! I have enough stress right now without thinking about having to plow through things we both might find boring or tedious.

    Jena, once again, thanks for your inspirational writing. I also LOVE your blog.

  28. Serenity Wilson says:

    I’ve been thinking about switching to homeschooling for my youngest because he has Asperger’s syndrome and school does not seem to be helping him in any tangible way. I have spent hours now researching unschooling from many different angles and I feel that my older two children have really been missing out. I have watched them struggle to stay interested in the subjects provided at school and to care about things they have no interest in now. Having grown up in the traditional school system it seemed normal to me-doesn’t every child burn out on learning?, aren’t we supposed to learn how to do the subjects we don’t like because that’s a lesson about the way life really is?, etc. I was too caught up in traditional thinking when it came to schooling-which is odd because I tend to be very non-traditional in other aspects. Your blog has helped to cement my own desire to allow my children to become self-led learners if that is their choice. What I want to know is: Is there anyone out there that has any experience with switching from public schools to self-led learning with older children? My kids are in middle school and high school, my oldest only has one year of high school left. And does anyone know anything about may be letting my oldest wait until he’s nineteen before having him take the graduation requirement testing associated with homeschooling? I’d like him to have some real time off from all the pressure. Also, are there any other single parents out there trying to do something like this? I would be fighting their father on this subject and I’d like to come to the fight as armed as possible. Thank you so much-to all the bloggers and children of unschooling parents!

  29. What great questions! It’s never too late to “deschool.” Kids love summer break, so consider this an extended summer break. Eventually their real selves will emerge and want to dive into something that truly interests them. Ask them if they want to take lessons of some sort, or get special equipment to do something they’ve always wanted.

    And as far as delaying test taking and entering college, yes! A lot of public schoolers take a year off between high school and college. Generally, kids take the SAT or ACT in their junior year, but you can take it ANYTIME at any testing center. Just check out their websites. And many colleges are not requiring homeschoolers to take the GED. Many will just want your homeschool transcript. If your child has done a few years in a public high school, just put that on their homeschool transcript. Include an official transcript from that school, plus your home school transcript, when you apply to colleges.

    Hope that helps! and Go for it!!

  30. If so, Where could i download this template? if not, how much does it cost? Thanks a lot!

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  31. Great article… thanks!

    Is Jena’s blog still available? I clicked on it and it said that it was private and readers need to be invited.

  32. I am so unfamiliar with unschooling, I just recently heard about it. I would LOVE for or family to be able to do something like that. It sounds amazing from what I have read about it. I’m just a little confused, do you really not have any lessons during the day and you just do whatever comes to you? I’m the type of person that needs a schedule and has to stick to a schedule. That however is not how my children work. I feel like school is this horrible task to do everyday and that it is literally ruining my relationship with my son. He is so smart but refuses to actually think when it cones to book work. He could sit there and watch a documentary and our read a book and learn so much! However, when it’s time for school the brain shuts down and it’s this huge battle to get the work done. If someone could help me out and tell me exactly what unschooling is I would love to hear more! I just really feel like we are getting burned out and I hate it! I want my kids to have fun, have a love for learning, and just be kids.

    • Bronwyn says:

      Thanks for the article Jena, very encouraging to hear from a Mom whose children are now adults. What do you do if your child doesn’t come to you wanting to learn Maths or to write? They are such important skills to have but if I instigate or “teach” them there is mutiny but then later one of my sons will use a Maths concept that I “forced” him to learn and feel really proud of himself! Do you think that sometimes children dont actually know what they need to know, if that makes sense?

  33. This is my MOST FAVORITE article I’ve found about this topic. I’m a mess cause I totally planned my 12 y.o. last six year outline. We got off to a super start! And,… now everyone is just burnt out! It’s almost ridiculous. Learning feels like it gets ‘capped’. Things get cut short OR run sooo long we miss lunch, etc. I just think we could ‘do it all’ without the stress.
    I totally know and believe we can do this. I am what I usually refer to as a Holy Spirit Led Homeschool Mom. Not floofy by any means. I take this quite seriously. Too serious. Our state is totally free. I wonder about High School transcripts for College. Do you simply count hours and test on an overall basic knowledge, understanding and participation (projects, plays and papers)? Any insight would help. I would have loved the joy of learning at home and I know the three boys do too!
    Blessings to you and yours 😊
    Alison Goldsberry’s latest post: Local Internet Outage You Said?

  34. Christina says:

    Thanks for making unschooling so easy to understand! As a public school teacher who was initially homeschooled/unschooled (it was a bit of a hybrid I think), those philosophies have stuck with me in public education. I’m constantly searching for opportunities to insert student choice and interest into the monotony of pacing we are expected to keep. The more voice and choice my students have, the more engaged they become. I’m looking forward to following your blog and learning from you!

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