Definition of Unschooling

There are probably as many definitions of unschooling as there are unschoolers.
That's the beauty of it - it adapts to the person rather than the person having to adapt to it.

A simple, single-phrase definition is "interest-led learning" but that is almost too simplistic.
Unschooling is so much more than just learning about what you're interested in.
Unschooling encompasses your whole life and everything in it.

Here's a wonderful definition one of our list members, James Skeen, posted when asked the question
"What is the UC definition of unschooling?":

There isn't one. UC is the hot forge upon which unschooling is currently being hammered ....
and here as much if not more than any place else in the world.

We have engaged in The Cat in the Hat's practice of Calculatus Eliminatus
and have approached a definition of unschooling by realizing what it is NOT.

It is not 'schooling' .... and 'schooling' is quite easily defined.

Some have subbed to this list and left because they say we don't talk about education much.
We in fact do, we just don't talk about schooling much and the two are easily confused,
if not one and the same, in the schooling mind.

Unschooling does not fit under the microscope of lesson plans, workbooks, curricula, and goals.
Using only those tools the schooling mind can easily come to the conclusion that
unschooling is insubstantial, hardly existing at all.

Unschooling is a relationship with your children.

That is why it is impossible for a 'teacher' in a 'school' to unschool.

It is a philosophy of trust in humankind in general, children in general, and your child in specific.
For the schooler to become an unschooler there takes place a 'metanoia', a change of the mind,
(the term used in the New Teatament for 'repent').

When this metanoia takes place, the center of focus shifts from norms, grade level,
standards of learning .... to the child. Norms and grades become annoying and
out of place as scaffolding around a healthy growing tree.

Those who have read on this list for some time may notice that there is much more a joyous
celebration of 'look what my child did' rather than 'can you recommend some confining sack
(ie: curriculum, workbook) that I can stuff my child into.'

Can you come up with a written plan for educating (read 'schooling') your child?

Can you come up with a written plan to trust the inate worth, dignity, curiosity, and ability of your child?
Of course not.

The latter is not made of the same stuff. Like the chains that bound the Fenris Wolf,
it is made of the sound of a cat's paw, the breath of a fish, and all those things that defy examination ...
yet are strong beyond measure.

And once the parent's mind is on the child, and no where else, the rest can but follow.


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