Top 3 Questions I Get When I Tell People That We Homeschool

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“When I tell people we don’t do forced curriculum at my house, invariably people ask me how my kids will learn to do stuff they don’t like. Here’s what I think: How will your kids learn to stop doing things they don’t like?” ~ Penelope Trunk

We actually don’t homeschool at our house. We unschool. Most folks have no clue what I’m talking about when I use the term “unschool” so I just use “homeschool” instead. Unschoolers learn through their natural life experiences. Homeschoolers usually work on a structured curriculum at home.

This topic of conversation usually leads to a ton of questions.  Here’s the top 3 I get asked.

  1. But what if she wants to go to college? I’m encouraging her not to go.  I am a college graduate so I speak from experience. Biggest waste of money. Largest debt. Just as there was a housing bubble that burst a few years back, now comes the education bubble. College debt has eclipsed credit card debt for the first time in history.  After four years of college our youngsters are basically saddled with a mortgage and no home to show for it. Back in the day it meant something to have a college degree. Now, everyone has one. Tuition increases every year but yet where are the returns? College grads are finding it more and more difficult to obtain a job after graduating. How much longer before the higher education bubble bursts?
  2. What about grades and testing?  We use a private umbrella school.  In our state, private schools are exempt from standardized testing. The only thing we are responsible for is 180 days of attendance.  We report quarterly attendance to our private umbrella school which in turn reports to the state. That’s all…nothing else is required. I pay $25 annually for enrollment into the private umbrella school.
  3. But what about socialization?  social·i·zation (-sh-l-zshn) n. – To place under government or group ownership or control.  The very definition of this word makes me cringe.  If you’ve ever met my kid, you’d see that she’s not socially awkward. She’s happy and well adjusted. We do go out in public and interact with the world.  The landscape of homeschoolers is changing. We’re not stereotypical religious zealots wanting to keep our kids sheltered from the big bad world.  My kid gets to hang out with other kids her own age. She’s involved in local group activities with her peers.  And how much social time do kids get in school anyways? A few minutes in passing in the hallways? Thirty minutes over lunch?

These are just three questions I get asked most often.  If you have a question about unschooling feel free to ask it in the comments section below and I’d be glad to answer it for you as best I can.  Unschooling has been the best decision we have made.

Have you ever considered homeschooling or unschooling?

 

9 Comments

  • I am so glad to see you writing about this subject. Alexus is an amazing kid who has been allowed to explore the things that interest her, and that has resulted in a teen who is wise beyond her years and self-aware enough to already know what she wants to do with her life. I find that incredible, and knowing her – and you – has made me a unabashed believer in what you are doing.

  • Meaghan DeToro says:

    I know this may sound like a stupid question but is it hard unschooling? We don’t have kids right now but in the future it is something that we talked about doing with our kids. With the way the world is now a days I’d feel better with this route for education.

    • Not hard at all. Kids have a natural curiosity all on their own. Learning takes place all around us all of the time. I find that just being close by to answer questions is sufficient enough. If the kiddo is curious about something she will research it online and then we will find a way to get her involved hands-on in whatever she finds interesting.

      True mastery comes from hours upon hours of uninterrupted study. You have to be truly passionate about something to spend hours and hours mastering it. Unlike the school environment where kids are forced to study subjects they have absolutely no interest in for one hour. Stop. Move onto the next subject. Stop. Move on to the next subject. etc. etc. How can you truly master a subject if your thought process is brought to an abrupt end after only say one hour. True masters are created by fully immersing themselves in a subject matter until they have learned all there is to know about it. True masters concentrate on what they are good at. School forces children to concentrate on things that they may not be good at. Sounds like a waste of time to me.

  • Serena Skretvedt says:

    I loved this post and look forward to reading more on your experiences with this method of education. It’s surprising to me how many people balk at the thought of not encouraging college, when the statistics speak for themselves. The world is changing and it makes sense that education (or our idea of it) needs to to change with it. We are beginning our first year of homeschool with my oldest next week. I would be curious to know if you started with a more conventional homeschool curriculum at first, or went immediately into Unschooling as your approach. I found myself intimidated to start with that at first, and we are going with a more traditional homeschool course, but I suspect that after getting our feet wet, we may adjust this.

    • Kudos to you for taking control of your oldest’s education. It can be intimidating to take the road less traveled.

      My daughter attended a private school until 3rd grade. The year I pulled her out, I used the private school curriculum at home. It was basically school…but on DVD. I was kind of flying by the seat of my pants back then. This was all so new.

      It was during one of the DVD lessons when I heard something so absurd come out of the teacher’s mouth that it hit me right upside the head. Duh. I was just recreating the school experience at home when what I really wanted to do was let the poor kid BE a kid and let her follow her own passions and study what SHE wanted to study. This is when the unschooling began.

  • Great post! Alexus is a great girl, very well rounded, articulate and adaptable to any social situation. Great parenting and unschooling!! Keep writing about this, I think the curtain needs to be pulled back on the fail of the educational system.

  • Tara says:

    As you know I have followed you for years now and have greatly admired you. I also followed Alexis on IG but wasn’t sure if she thought I was nuts so I stopped. I actually miss it because I enjoyed watching her live her passion. Funny thing was I never knew her passion was her day to day. With two littles I am intrigued. I am curious. I think how lucky she is and I realize why I enjoy her is she is also living what I was passionate about but didn’t have the time or money for at that age. I would love to read her blogs.

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