The Unschooling Handbook by Mary Griffith

247698 The Unschooling Handbook : How to Use the Whole World As Your Child’s Classroom

by Mary Griffith

As a parent who has been homeschooling for a little more than a year and has found herself unsettled on what path to take, I’ve become more and more curious about unschooling.  I bought this book hoping to get a better understanding of what “unschooling” means, how it’s generally done, and if it might be something I could see doing with my own kids.

Contrary to what probably a lot of people think (and what I thought before I set out to learn what unschooling actually is), unschooling does not mean to neglect one’s children’s education.  I suppose it could legitimately be called anti-schooling, in that the approach flies in the face of pretty much everything most of us have been conditioned to believe about how children should be educated, and it’s definitely antithetical to everything about conventional school.  The core belief that is the foundation of unschooling is that learning comes naturally and need not be forced; that given time, opportunity, and exposure, kids will learn what they need to learn in order to live fulfilling and productive adult lives.

The Unschooling Handbook is a good, solid intro to unschooling.  It’s chock full of anecdotes by both unschooling parents and unschooled kids of all ages.  There is lots of information on how an unschooling family might go about learning different subjects, what unschoolers generally worry about (math!), and how unschooled kids generally fare when it comes to college and careers (excellent!).  The book presents honest information about the ups and downs of homeschooling in general, and unschooling in particular.

Having read it, I feel a little more comfortable dipping our toes into this unconventional educational path.  How far we end up wading in remains to be seen, but I feel good about having read this book.

Highly recommend to anyone interested in alternatives to conventional education for their kids.

4 thoughts on “The Unschooling Handbook by Mary Griffith

  1. Welcome to the world of unschooling! If my own Unschooling blog and soon to be published book, “7 Steps to Beginning Your Unschooling Journey” can help in anyway, then feel free to contact me. I hope to dispel the myths around Unschooling and show people it is not just for “New Age” types, but many progressive thinkers in education and business are endorsing the methods of unschooling as the way education needs to be for the future world our children will be entering into.


  2. I love unschooling and think of it as the “seven day weekend.” As an adult, I follow my own interests and am, for the most part, free to pursue any hobby I choose. I amalso a self-avowed hobby-jumper, and I have been for much of my life. I get obsessed with something and then, after a random amount of time, I move on to something else. Unschooling allows me to give my children a similar freedom. AND it eliminates the “cram and forget, cram and forget” reflex that often develops when children are forced to learn things that does not interest them in the least. Really, it’s the John Holt loving philosophy of trusting your children.


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