What is unschooling?


I am determined to stop using this  name!  Unschooling  such a strange title, that tells you nothing about what  does actually happen.  I prefer to use natural learning, if there is a need to catagorise what we do, but actually our lives seem so natural that I cannot think of any way to describe what we do other than to say that we just live our lives. We do what others do in the school holidays

For us, each day is a lovely blend of us all chasing our passions.  There we are,  we are
Passion Chasers!!

   This means that our children can do whatever they want, for as long as they want, with who ever they want, stop when they need to, eat and sleep when  they need to, ask questions, read, create, cuddle, exercise when they want to…. Now I understand that this may sound extremely radical if you haven’t thought about it before, but think about this.


The boys on a family tramp in to the beautiful Tararua range

A baby is born with an innate desire to make sense of the world around her/him.  All they are programmed to do it LEARN!  They learn to walk, talk, eat, dress, count, draw, play, ask questions….the list goes on.  If you have ever been a part of a baby’s life and been there while they grow into a toddler, then you have seen unschooling in action.  Why does a baby learn to walk?  Talk?  The very same reasons older kids learn to read, to build things, to play music, to ride a bike, to swim.  They want to make sense of the world, they want to copy others and they want to follow their passion.

Every parent loves their children,(hopefully) every homeshooling parent likes their children and to unschool your child you have to add trust to the list.  Trust that they are doing what they need to for them at this time.

Yes of course you expose them to a wide range of experiences and activities.  Of course you give them chance to try new things, meet new and inspiring people. Yes of course they will grow up within the culture of your family with all its routines, traditions, jokes and a big dose of your own passions.

And also you need to trust their instincts, support their passions and interests, let them be who they are.  My children are wonderful at supporting me in this if I ever forget that they are not mini-Janes!  They will just sigh and patiently tell me that  I can write a book, paint a picture, go for a walk etc….if that is what I want to do , but that they are not me and are busy !   Such wisdom at such a tender age!

So our days involve still a huge amount of question-asking (it does not stop at 5yrs old!!), reading, playing (vital, a child’s work, should be appropriated the respect it deserves), experimenting, cooking and eating, making things, chatting, playing with friends and now as they grow up more and more extra-curricular activity – cubs, scouts, swimming, Tae Kwon Do, drama, french,  piano, activities of all types with wonderful homeschoolers, tramps, camps, music making, family trips, adventures, libraries, museums, theatre….where do other people find the time for school…???

Hannah at her 13th birthday party – a weekend camping and music making with a bunch of great friends and family.


And the big question  of course is does it work??

As they say that is another story, or I guess I should say …another Post!





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