The supermarket checkout worker asks why Ramona, 10, wasn’t at school. “We don’t go to school” she replies, nonchalantly, packing the bags. “Oh, you’re lucky to have your mum teaching you!” the worker says. Ramona pauses,  looks her dead in the eye, says “My mum? My mum doesn’t teach me a thing.”

Words crowd my mouth, we do a type of consent based education, there’s not curriculum as such, it’s self-directed, based on the child’s curiosity, I am their cheerleader really, their support person! A coach, if you will! … but I swallow them down. I don’t have to be some kind of unschooling evangelist every minute of the day. I leave the moment to Ramona’s sense of sovereignty.

What does unschooling mean?
We have been unschooling for twelve years now – in fact, neither of my two children have ever been to school – and in that time I’ve seen so many different examples of unschooling and types of unschooling. But the most basic definition of unschooling is:
“Raising children without school, teachers or curriculum”

But even then, there are unschooling schools! See below for “Types of unschooling” and also some unschoolers do use a curriculum – but the big difference is that unschoolers themeselves choose what they want to learn, it isn’t enforced.

Further more, unschooling is about far more than learning! It’s about raising kids without overriding their autonomy, about creating as much opportunity for them to self direct their lives, with self trust at the very heart. So if we want to go for a truer definition of unschooling it would sound something like:
“Raising children without school, teachers or curriculum and as autonomously as possible”

Unschooling Curriculum
Few unschooling families use curriculum, however some children love to learn this way and insist upon it! As long as it’s in an environment of trust and consent, children should be free to use curriculum and workbooks.

In a way, the main unschooling curriculum should be for the parents who have to go through a huge healing journey of deschooling



Types of unschooling
Unless you’ve seen unschooling in action it can be hard to picture it! I can remember first wondering about it and thinking how does unschooling work? The principles of unschooling can be applied in so many different settings.

Examples of unschooling
Every unschooling family looks completely different to the last! Examples of unschooling depend on the unique personality and passion of your children, the environment you live in and other very personal factors. Here is an example of our daily unschooling routine and how that has changed:


unschooling vs homeschooling
Sometimes when I am out and about and don’t have the time and energy for a big explanation I simply say “We are homeschooling” but the truth is unschooling vs homeschooling is like comparing my bedside table to the milky way. They are planetary systems apart! (And my kids always disrupt my easy “Oh,we are homeschooling” by saying “What? We are UNSCHOOLERS!” proudly, like it’s an identity.) Here’s the key ways homeschooling is different to unschooling:

Traditional Homeschoolers do School At Home
Unschoolers believe that school is the source of many wounds and any remnants of school-like thinking should be shaken out

Traditional Homeschoolers continue hierarchical relationships of power (ie teacher and learner, decision maker and follower)
Unschoolers try and subvert this powerarchy, raising children who know they matter, that they are worthy of rights and dignity

Traditional Homeschoolers believe there are learning subjects and non learning subjects
Unschoolers believe humans are born learning and that EVERYTHING is a learning subject

Traditional Homeschoolers live by the idea that there are strict boundaries around work and play
Unschoolers orientate themselves around joy and fulfilment, anything can be work/ play

Unschooling FAQs


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