Are You an Unschooling Multipotentialite?


Are you an unschooling multipotentialite? If someone had asked me that question a couple of weeks ago, I wouldn’t have had an answer. I’d never heard of that word before. Yes, multipotentialite is a new word in my vocabulary.

My friend Lucinda introduced me to the concept of multipotentiality. She sent me over to the blog Puttylike. I started reading and soon I was thinking, “Oh my, this describes my family perfectly!”


Puttylike is written by Emilie Wapnick. This is how she describes a multipotentialite:

A multipotentialite is a person who has many different interests and creative pursuits in life.

Multipotentialites have no “one true calling” the way specialists do. Being a multipotentialite is our destiny. We have many paths and we pursue all of them, either sequentially or simultaneously (or both).

Multipotentialites thrive on learning, exploring, and mastering new skills. We are excellent at bringing disparate ideas together in creative ways. This makes us incredible innovators and problem solvers.

When it comes to new interests that emerge, our insatiable curiosity leads us to absorb everything we can get our hands on. As a result, we pick up new skills fast and tend to be a wealth of information.


That might all sound wonderful but there is a downside. Multipotentialites often reach a bored stage when they’re exploring a subject. They then look around for something new to tackle. It may seem to others that they jump from one thing to other without ever finishing anything.

Unfortunately, mainstream society tends not to value or recognize multipotentiality and labels this sort of “jumping between interests” flaky, immature behaviour.

Perhaps we worry if we see this kind of behaviour in our kids. But when we understand how they’re wired, maybe we can accept how they learn.

Multipotentialites think outside the box.

So do unschoolers! Perhaps you’re an unschooling multipotentialite. Or could your kids fit this description?

In this week’s podcast, I talk about multipotentiality. I’m still at the exploring stage. I have a lot to ponder. So I hope, if you listen to episode 86, you will also hop over to Puttylike to fill in the gaps. I’m sure I didn’t say all I could!


In episode 86, I ask the following questions:

  • Is it okay to have multiple interests, to pursue one thing, get bored and then move onto something else?
  • When are we finished with a topic? When people move quickly between interests do they lack perseverance and commitment?
  • Should we encourage kids to focus on only one interest? Is this best for a future career? Or is okay to have multiple interests?
  • Are we a family of multipotentialites?
  • Are people who move continuously from one interest to another frustrating?
  • How does the way I’m wired affect my online life?



Show Notes


Puttylike blog

Terminology: What is Multipotentiality and other associated definitions

How to Make Money as a Multipotentialite

Ted Talk: Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling


 Youtube Channel

Facebook Page

Writing blog: Gossiping with Dragons

Music blog: Imogen Elvis

Animation Websites



My Video

The Extraordinary Ordinary Things of Life


Stories of an Unschooling Family

The Not So Proper Unschoolers Group

My Podcast

Podcast Player with all episodes on my blog

on iTunes

on Podbean

How to Write a Review of Leave a Rating in the iTunes Store or App Store

Podcast music

60’s Quiz Show by Podington Bear, (CC BY-NC 3.0)


Images: My daughter Sophie has many interests: photography, videography, hair braiding, cooking, music, exercise… Will she have to choose only one of these as her future career? Or will she be able to have it all?


This is my last podcast of the year. I’d like to thank you for supporting my podcast during 2016. I hope you’ll listen again after Christmas!

So I’m wondering…

Are you a specialist or a multipotentialite? How about your children? And what do you think about finding a way to incorporate multiple interests into a career?

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    • Tanya
    • November 21, 2016

    Excellent topic! Emily and I will spend time taking a look at your other resources you posted as well on this topic. We’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving this coming week here in America, so I’m sending you Thanksgiving wishes! I am most thankful for our friendship over the last year or so. God Bless!

    1. Reply


      I’m grateful for your friendship too. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration with your family. Thank you for your kind wishes. God bless you too!

  1. Reply

    I love the way you’ve shared about multipotentialism, Sue! You’ve enhanced my understanding of what it means to be a multipotentialite and how it relates beautifully to lifelong unschooling.

    1. Reply


      You are so right: Multipotentialism relates beautifully to unschooling! I’m glad I made some kind of sense in my podcast. Sometimes I get excited and muddle things up! Thank you for pointing me in the direction of Puttylike. I feel like I’ve made a big discovery about the way I am wired. It’s always a pleasure pondering things with you, Lucinda!

  2. Reply

    I’m an inveterate multipotentialite, and the kids might be also. Elaine, my wife, points out that I usually have 10 or more project rumbling about in my head at a time. I’ll read up on some of them, and start to make plans on others. Over time several of them will float off to the wayside, (sometimes to reappear months or years later), and I”ll wind up focusing on only one or two of them until I move onto something else.

    To me, one of the big appeals of unschooling is that it seems to support/encourage multipotentialite behavior. It allows kids to be interested in whatever they like, pursue it as deeply as they want, and then move onto the next subject.

    1. Reply


      You sound just like me. I also have 10 or more projects rumbling round my head at any one time!

      I’ve been thinking more about unschooling and multipotentialism. Since recording this podcast, a lot of unschoolers have told me they can relate to my words. Yes, they think they’re multipotentialites too. Perhaps many people who gravitate towards unschooling do so because they are curious people interested in everything. Unschooling does indeed seem to encourage multipotentialite behaviour!

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