“Wait until they have to get up early for a real job; then they will be in shock by the real world.”

So my son started his first day of school. He is age 19. He has his first experience of agendas, exams, deadlines, and a structured class. He has been unschooled for grades 1-12 and taught himself various high school classes through online and self-directed in preparation for a career in STEM. Last week, he began a 4 course load at university in sciences. He has to get up, take the bus, and attend a campus of 30,000 other kids. He has 4 courses and each has a lab which is a pretty full schedule. He went from sleeping in until 1 or 2 pm and playing video games with studying 1 or 2 courses at a time, to a full schedule outside the home.
You are probably wondering how he is adapting. Well, when kids need to do something that they want to do, they learn and adapt. I can’t say it was easy, but last week was okay and this week is hard with all the labs starting, but he is stepping up to the plate. He sets his alarm, gets to the bus stop on time and puts in a full day.
That is the key point in unschooling. I can’t tell you how many times people would say to me, “Wait until they start school (or work) then they will have to get up at 6 am and won’t they be in for a shock.” Kids step up to the plate when the time is right and it is required of them and they are motivated to do it. We don’t have to “train” kids in a work ethic when they are young, so they will have it later when they are older. This is the whole point of homework in schools, which is so misguided. Kids can learn when they need or want to learn and the time is right for them.
Posted in Elementary Children Ages 5-12, High School Children Ages 15-18, How to Unschool, Junior High School Children Ages 12-15, University Children Ages 18-25, What is Unschooling? | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Screen Time Mitigates Summer Learning Loss


SummerThis meme has been floating around my groups and I have to say that I totally disagree with it. First, I am the worst model of this. Email comes first in the morning with my cup of tea. Every person has to find a routine that works for them.

Second, it sounds so dictatorial. Real relationship parenting starts with a conversation of concerns. I wouldn’t have a list like this for my husband as it is too disrespectful and neither would I have it for my children.

Third, the list defeats the intent. I can see a kid getting through this list in a half hour and then spending all day on electronics. When the parent’s protest, the kids says, “I followed the rules!” All the things on the list should be done without an expectation of reward.  Kids naturally like to help.  It will come with age and maturity, not bribery.

Fourth, children naturally develop self-control as they age. They naturally decide when and how to get dressed, shower, tidy their room, help out with dishes, and clean a room.

Fifth, as an unschooler who has never put limits on screen time when my kids were older than 6 years (there are lots of research that show children under six are at risk for language development with increased use of electronics), I see no problem with hours and hours on screens. The kids learn so much from the internet and playing video games. I do encourage the kid’s self-discipline to build in some exercise time, in their day. They are already very creative on screens with making memes, mods and stuff. Summer learning loss never happens when kids are allowed access to the internet – in fact, they have the time to learn what they truly want to learn, not what the government dictates what they want to learn. Here is a good article on why kids should be on screens all summer!  https://www.ucalgarymag.ca/issue/spring-summer-2017/article/unlocking-skills-power-brain-games

University of Calgary magazine article

Posted in Democratic Parenting, Elementary Children Ages 5-12, High School Children Ages 15-18, Homeschooling, How to Unschool, Junior High School Children Ages 12-15, University Children Ages 18-25, What is Unschooling?, Why Unschool? | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Government Oversight is Over-rated


It’s always interesting to me that society, school administrators and the government feel the need to provide educational oversight in home education. They insist that parents must provide an education “equal to the education children would get in school.” Many home education parents provide an education that is not the same, and is far superior to what children might get in school.

That might include “unschooling,” which is so different from the classroom model and in many ways is so much better.  It provides freedom, passion, choice, control, personal responsibility, creativity, determination, motivation and unequaled absorption of learning for the sake of learning, rather than learning to get marks. Children can’t get much of that in a classroom dictated by government rules and oversight.

The most important years for brain development is from 0-6. Children need 3D experiential learning to develop brain cell connections for healthy growth. Does the government intervene in parenting in order to provide children with the optimal conditions for development in those years?  No.  Why then for the school-aged years? If there is no government oversight in parenting, then there should not be for education either.

The other reason society wants to regulate home education is the theory that a teeny tiny number of children may be maltreated, and will occur under the daily oversight of teachers, coaches, bus drivers and school nurses.  Yes, that may occur.  But it also occurs to children in school.  Abusive parents are good at hiding their child’s bruises in school. Many school staff people are too busy to notice the hidden signs of abuse.  The percentage of children abused at home and attending school is far higher than the percentage of children that are home schooled and may be abused. We don’t make laws based of the .000000001 percent that might be affected by them.

Besides, the vast number of abused children are toddlers and preschoolers, not school-aged children. Young children have very little executive function (self-control) abilities and parents who don’t understand that their children’s “not listening” is a development issue and not a discipline issue, tend to use punishment to correct what they perceive as a defect. It’s wrong, it is misguided, and we have no government oversight for those children. They are essentially abused on a daily basis and nothing is being done for them.  By the time children are school-age, they listen better and the rate of abuse goes way down.  Just as for parenting, government oversight is not required for homeschooling, anywhere, anytime.

Posted in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers Ages 0-5, Democratic Parenting, Elementary Children Ages 5-12, Homeschooling, Why Unschool? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Unschooling To University

Judy Arnall describes Unschooling to University

The book, Unschooling To University, is now available for pre-order on Amazon.  It will be published September 30, 2018

Pre-order on Amazon.com

Pre-order on Amazon.ca

This book explores the journey of the Team of Thirty, a group of young individuals who unschooled from 3 to 12 years each and were accepted or graduated at university, colleges, and technical schools.  12 went into STEM fields.  Learn more about what unschooling is, why it is beneficial, how to unschool and how unschooling fits with child development stages. This book outlines everything one needs to know about unschooling and self-directed education worldwide.

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Elon Musk Unschools His Children

After his less than wonderful childhood in public schools, futurist Elon Musk opts to unschool his 5 boys.  Read more here:


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Attend UCA’s 2nd Annual Online Conference

UCA: 2nd Annual Un-Conference:  Family First

Our second annual online Un-conference will be held online on March 18 and 19th, 2017. Reserve your seat now! Our special guests so far are Pat Farenga, Carlo Ricci, Judy Arnall, Linda Clement, and Pam Laricchia!

Know someone who would like to attend?  Have them join our association for only $11 and they can attend too. Or purchase a non-member ticket for just $22. Sessions will be recorded so if you can’t attend the live presentation, you will still have access to them and the Q and A sessions.

Saturday March 18, 2017

8 am to 11:00 Mountain Time

Speakers:  Pat Farenga, Pam Laricchia, Judy Arnall

Sunday March 19, 2017

10 am to noon Mountain Time

Speakers:  Carlo Ricci, Linda Clement

Register at http://www.unschoolingcanada.ca/events.html


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The Door Stopper

My son was 2 years old and loved those door stoppers that went twang. You know those coiled thingys with the white rubber cap.  They drove me crazy! I wanted to remove them all. But I didn’t, because my son seemed to love the resultant noise.
Here is the email he sent me last night. (He is an unschooler that is now taking engineering.) “Hey Mom, These days I’m doing analysis on oscillating machines, like a door stopper. You know the spring ones where you pull it to the side and it goes dwawawwawanngg? Who’d have thought I’d be doing the same thing today in school as I was doing 22 years ago….”
Posted in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers Ages 0-5, Democratic Parenting, How to Unschool, University Children Ages 18-25, Why Unschool? | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment