Changing People’s Minds about Unschooling

Sometimes when I’m hopping around the unschooling blogosphere I stumble across places where I don’t feel I belong. As I read the posts, I can feel the high emotions: “No one can tell us what to do with our own children. Society is wrong and we’re going to fight the system.”

And although I agree, I don’t really see myself as a person who’s willing to put on my tough boots, arm myself with strong language, and head into battle. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to do anything about the situation. It just means I prefer trying a gentle approach, if I can do this without compromising my children’s way of life. For of course, if I ever do have to choose between my own family and outsiders who want to control what we do, I can be as tough as anyone.

Can a gentle approach be effective in changing people’s minds about unschooling? Sometimes just the word ‘unschooling’ can raise people’s hackles. They won’t even listen so it’s no point talking. They have misinformed preconceived ideas about what unschooling is. Most times I can shrug my shoulders and not worry about what other people think of our way of life. I don’t need to convince anyone that what we’re doing is actually okay. They have no influence over our lives. Or do they?

It is very inconvenient but there are actually some people in this world who do think they can make rules about the way we raise our kids and how we educate them. I’m talking about the educational authorities from our state governments. I can understand why they think they need rules. They don’t want any kids falling between the cracks and missing out on their right to be educated. The rules were made to protect children. But these rules can seem very unnecessary, especially to us who are living an unschooling life.

So how do we deal with what appears to be an unfair registration process? Do we stand up and be very vocal as we fight? As a group, I think we should. But is there also a less confrontational way we can use as individuals? Can we unschool without compromise, and still remain within the system? Is there a way to present our children’s learning to the education department which ensures they are impressed, despite the fact our children are unschoolers? Can we change people‘s minds gently?

I talk about all these things in today’s podcast, as I report back on last week’s homeschool registration visit. I hope you’ll listen!

(In my podcast, I know I sound like an Evernote salesperson. I did get a bit carried away with enthusiasm!! I do realise there might be other systems which are equally effective at showcasing unschooling!)

Program Notes
My Homeschool and Registration Records blog posts
My video: Registering as Homeschoolers Using Evernote Unschool Records:

Podcast music: Twombly by Podington Bear(CC BY-NC 3.0)

Photos: In my podcast, I mentioned how Gemma-Rose has been making notebooks. This one started life as a hardback novel. Gemma-Rose enjoyed showing her finished book to our Authorised Person when she came for our registration visit!

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    • San
    • April 3, 2015

    Another fab podcast! I will be looking at Evernote as a means of strewing ideas for Benedict. Hope you have a very blessed Easter.

    San xx

    1. Reply


      Your comment makes such a difference. I always feel so encouraged whenever you stop by. Thank you, dear San! I hope you have a very blessed Easter too. We only have a few hours to wait. In a couple of hours' time we'll be heading off to the Vigil Mass. I can hear our singers doing some last minute practise. I can feel the joy already! May you be filled with joy too!

  1. Reply

    I really appreciate this post and podcast. We are working together to keep the government from mandating testing, control, and busy bodiness in the lives of our children. We are actually boycotting some testing this week since the new testing contract is so open-ended and vague that the concern is that the government will have access to individuals results. Here I Alaska we do not have to register as homeschoolers. We want to keep it that way. There are a few other states in the union that also do not require registration. Some states require a lot of adherence to government structure and others are more free. It is a lot of distraction from what is the main focus – being with and learning with our kids. It's like a mocked up version of grade school where someone wants to be running the whole show and everyone has to do it their way. Blessings and peace to your family. Praise God for His control and involvement in every facet of our lives – including our governments.

    1. Reply


      Testing is such a big worry. I'm so glad we don't have it here. Registration is a nuisance and I'm sure you are glad you don't have to do it. There are also a lot of differences between our states as far as homeschool registration is concerned. Our state of NSW probably has some of the strictest requirements, but we're coping. It could be a lot worse. I think you are quite right: God is ultimately in control of everything. I trust He looks after us and will help us through all the red tape so we can live the lives He has planned for us.

      So good to chat with you. May God bless you and your family!

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