Marina Koestler Ruben

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The Difference Between Homeschooling and Unschooling

Until recently, I only had a hazy understanding of the difference between homeschooling and unschooling.  For clarification, I read Unschooling 101: Top 10 Questions About Learning Without School, by Sara McGrath.

Here's my current understanding:

When we talk about homeschoolers, we're talking about the broad category of students who learn outside of the full-time American school system.  

Unschoolers are a particular type of homeschoolers.  Similar to other homeschoolers, they may choose to follow an official curriculum, participate in group or individual lessons, and enjoy a personalized education.

What defines unschoolers as a separate group is that its students are never required to pursue topics or activities that do not interest them.  A homeschooling family might tell its children that they must study multiplication because the parents feel it's important; an unschooling family would not force an area of study on a resistant student.  Unschoolers learn voluntarily, as their passions direct.

(Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, homeschoolers and unschoolers, or to add any distinctions that I may have overlooked.)

Next I'll be reading Radical Unschooling: A Revolution Has Begun, by Dayna Martin.

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Close enuf for me for a brief definition. I would advise skipping Dayna Martin and reading some Sandra Dodd ( or her book Joyce Fetterol ( IMO, Dayna is a johnny-come-lately poseur who is proselytizing LOA more than unschooling.

Thanks for your comment, Frank.  It took me a minute to figure out what LOA meant—thought it was “Leave of Absence” at first, then did a little research and found it was “Law of Attraction.” 

I finished Martin’s book and will be posting about it soon.  Some parts resonated with me; others didn’t. 

If Martin is focused on the Law of Attraction, it would explain the portion of the book where she talks about how her son “manifested” a kayak.  Though I’d appreciated some of Martin’s earlier points, I felt the book took a turn toward the supernatural at that point.

I appreciate your recommendations.  I’ll look at the Dodd and Fetterol sites that you provided.

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