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What is Unschooling Homeschooling: 7 Things You Need to Know

Wait… did that say unschooling? Isn’t school kind of a key part of this whole homeschooling thing? What is unschooling homeschooling?

This article will teach you a little about the background of unschooling, the pros and cons for you to consider, and 7 things you need to know to help you decide if unschooling is a good fit for you.

What is unschooling homeschooling?

Instead of trying to learn a little bit about everything, unschooling gives homeschoolers the chance to learn when, where, what, and how they like!

  • A learner-centered method of informal teaching and learning.
  • It allows students to learn authentically through real-world experiences, such as participating in chores, playing outside, asking and answering questions, and exploring their own interests.
  • This homeschool style is often associated with homeschooling, but it is approached through curriculum-free and lesson-free learning experiences.
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Where did the word unschooling come from anyway?

First used by John Holt in the 1970’s, unschooling is a way of teaching and learning that is unlike traditional teaching and learning from a school setting.

Why is it so popular?

Although it existed before this, nschooling gained major popularity during the 2020 pandemic, which caused many families to be creative about teaching their own children.

I believe this is the reason it became such a popular homeschooling style.

What are the benefits?

When asking yourself what is unschooling homeschooling, I think you’ll agree that unschooling is a great fit for lots of homeschoolers, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you. When considering if this homeschool style is right for your family or not, consider the pros and cons.

Related: ALL Homeschool Styles Mega List


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    • Gives homeschoolers the chance to customize their learning
    • Child-directed learning means kids feel empowered and valued
    • Option to choose a flexible or structured schedule that can change each day
    • The family unit can explore, learn, and play together
    • Creativity, open-ended learning, and asking questions are celebrated


    • Lack of structure may lead to lack of foundational knowledge
    • Inability to authentically expose children to a wide range of topics if these don’t interest them
    • Knowledge gaps may be created over time
    • No way to “prove” kids are learning; may lead to parent anxiety

    How does unschooling relate to deschooling?

    Deschooling is like juice cleanse for the mind that helps your kid shake off the structure, expectations, and rules from traditional school. It may help you as a parent, too.

    Many homeschool parents also choose to deschool before beginning homeschool at all, especially if the parents weren’t homeschooled.

    Why is deschooling good for unschoolers?

    • Deschooling is the process of falling in love with learning again.
    • Starting with deschooling can be a great way to ease into homeschooling and break any negative associations students may have with learning.

    How to start unschooling

    One of the great things about this homeschool style is that you can start whenever you’re ready! After learning what is unschooling homeschooling and how to do it, you’ll want to check out my list of suggested unschooling supplies here.

    Once you’re ready to start, you might choose to start your first day outside with open-ended exploration and wonderings.

    1. Start unschooling by deschooling.
    2. Choose a nice day and explore the outdoors.
    3. Try out gameschooling as a family.
    4. Go on a field trip, such as visiting the park, beach, or museum.
    5. Give it time and do what works for you!

    What does unschooling look like in homeschool?

    Unschooling and homeschooling can easily go hand in hand, because homeschool often gives kids the chance to be in charge of their learning.

    You might have already been unschooling within your homeschool teaching style without knowing it!

    • No set schedule
    • Children act as their own teacher with guidance from the adult
    • Field experience as often as possible, such as field trips or exploring outdoors
    • Knowledge is often gained through play

    Hybrid options

    Many families find a hybrid style of learning between traditional homeschooling and a sprinkle of unschooling beneficial and enjoyable.

    Your family does not have to completely dive in to one homeschool style all the time. You can pick and choose what works best for you.

    Little girl holding a leaf

    How do I get support?

    I recommend learning about the topic through Google searches. This can help with deciding if it’s a good fit for your family, and even finding resources on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest for support with unschooling.

    Being a part of an unschooling community can help you quickly get questions answered, generate new ideas that can inspire you to try out new things, and can help ensure you have a successful experience.

    How do I know if unschooling will be a good fit for my family?

    If it is important to you and your family to have a structured plan and set expectations that rarely change each day, unschooling may not be a good fit for you.

    If you are okay adopting a go with the flow approach towards homeschooling, this homeschool style could be your jam!

    It’s up to you to decide. Check in with your kids and see if it’s is a good fit. If it’s not, you can always change homeschool styles after you give unschooling a try.

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    Bottom line: The 7 things you need to know about unschooling

    1. Unschooling homeschooling is a flexible way of learning that is driven by the students through play-based learning and learners as the leaders of their own discoveries.
    2. You do not have to fully commit to one style of learning to be successful at unschooling.
    3. Unschoolers can consider deschooling themselves and their families first as a way to transition from other schooling methods to unschooling.
    4. There are no required materials that only work for unschooling. The choice of supplies is yours based on what you have available, your budget, and how your children explore new topics during unschooling.
    5. Parents can check in on unschooling learning easily through conversations about children’s interests.
    6. There are a wealth of resources available to learn more about unschooling, as well as support groups to join or conferences to attend.
    7. There is no one way to learn while unschooling. Kids can learn in many ways. Try it out, find your style, adjust as you go, and have fun unschooling!


    Unschooling is a homeschool style that has numerous benefits. It can be fun while inspiring creativity and a deeper family connection. You might start out by deschooling, then give unschooling a try!

    Does unschooling sound like a good fit for you? Share why or why not in the comments below. We look forward to talking with you in the comments! For everything homeschool, we can PlanIt! ♥

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