Grown Unschoolers

One of the main objections or questions I get from people when I describe unschooling concerns what happens to these kids as adults. “How will they learn to do something distasteful?” “Won’t they be unable to fit into a workplace where they are told to do something by an authority-figure?” And, I had to agree that the answer was not obvious. I mean, if kids are raised where they are constantly directing their own learning, always the one to choose the activity, then it would be difficult for them to accept being told what to do once they reach the “real world” or, even worse, college.

Before crafting my response to this question, I went on a web-quest. I searched for the term “grown unschoolers,” and was very happily surprised by the number of pages I found. First, there are numerous adult unschoolers who are now sharing their thoughts on blogs. I have linked to some of them under “Unschooling Blogs” to the right.  They are almost always ferociously defensive of their unschooled heritage and continue to bring that philosophy to their lives. Some decide to continue their unschooling education by traveling instead of attending a traditional institution. Let me just say here that I would be perfectly fine if my children decide not go to college. Hey, I have a bachelor and two masters degrees, and what I am doing now requires none of those (though, admittedly, they don’t hurt one bit).  Other adult unschoolers find themselves struggling with a flawed system where they have to do something just because that’s the way it’s done or because their boss or professor told them to. But, I think we need more people to fight against this structure. Those in authority need to be pushed and questioned. Most companies need to seriously revamp their corporate structures and policies, and it’s this generation of unschoolers who can offer the most insight into a new structure.

Oh, sorry, did I rabbit-trail? Anyway, after finding these adult unschooler blogs, I also discovered a couple of documentaries that have been made about unschooling. I’d love to watch them, but for now I’m relegated to reading about them and watching the excerpts. I’ve also put those links on the right side under “Unschooling Multimedia.”  

So, in response to the objection about not being able to fit in, I have a few answers. First, I don’t want my kids to do something they don’t love. If they find that they have to discipline themselves to work on something they don’t find interesting, I’d rather they think, “Hmm, maybe I should change focus or careers.” However, just because their schooling will be child-led doesn’t mean their entire life will be. The very nature of a family dictates that someone won’t be completely happy about the chosen activity or trip. At some point, they will all have to learn how to do something that isn’t their first choice.  And, they will still do chores and be responsible for their actions and decisions, just as they would in any other family.  I am not advocating an anarchist home, rather a libertarian one; where everyone is responsible for him or herself, but also gets to choose their own path.

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