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.