Question: Isn't “unschooling” just a fancy way of saying you ignore your children? Is that even legal?
Lara Ashmore responds: True unschooling does not involve ignoring your children. On the contrary, unschooling requires a comprehensive understanding of your children's unique individual needs plus creative and spontaneous thinking on your part, in order to turn everyday moments into valuable learning opportunities. Unschooling in this way can be even more work than following the instructions that come with packaged curriculums!
Unschooling is a philosophy of education embraced by many families who choose to educate their children at home. Unschooling allows children to choose their learning experiences and allows parents to use everyday situations to help children learn about the world in practical ways. Unschooling parents provide children with an abundance of free time for play, exploration and discovery. Many unschoolers feel that learning is a natural extension of their daily life and they do not generally do not keep a syllabus or checklist of skills to be learned.
The most valuable benefits of unschooling may go unnoticed by traditional measures and standardized assessments for a period of time. These factors may contribute to misunderstandings about unschooling. Regardless of misconceptions, any parent who takes an active role in her child's life and makes conscious decisions about his education is not likely to be ignoring her children.
Yes, unschooling is legal everywhere. However, some states have little or no requirements. Others may impose certain requirements, including registering with the state, keeping records and submitting curricula for review. You can obtain information about homeschooling/unschooling laws in your particular state at www.unschooling.com....
© Lara Ashmore
Lara is the founder and director of the Dallas, Texas, vegetarian group Veggie KIDS. She currently works with the Robert Muller Center for Living Ethics exploring creative uses of technology and conducts parent and teacher education workshops on a variety of topics including multiple intelligences, parenting in the digital age, multimedia scrapbooking and digital storytelling.