How Registered Homeschoolers Can Unschool

If our children are obliged to learn what’s in the school syllabus in order to have their homeschool registration applications approved, surely they can’t unschool? How can they follow their interests and still fulfil the registration requirements?

My children are registered homeschoolers. They are also unschoolers. I manage to keep the education authorities happy (in a state where the regulations are rather strict) without compromising my unschoolers’ way of life. How do I do it? I chat about this topic and share some ideas in this week’s podcast.

I also…

  • describe a method for recording unschooling in an impressive way
  • share how I translate natural learning into the necessary educational language for registration purposes
  • tell how I work out what the official documents such as the school syllabus actually mean
  • discuss what we can do if a child refuses to learn something that’s required by the educational authorities
  • offer a few positives (!) of homeschool registration
  • as well as some examples of how I record unschool learning experiences
A few apologies:

I use the words ‘syllabus’ and ‘curriculum’ interchangeably and wrongly, I’m sure! (I think you’ll still get the idea.)

I also made a mistake about the required hours of schooling. My number was too low.


Blog posts about homeschool registration and record keeping

More posts can be found on my Registration and Records pages

Podcast about homeschool registration and record keeping

Changing People’s Minds about Unschooling or The Tricky Business of Registering an Unschooler as a Homeschooler

Videos about homeschool registration and record keeping

I’m still trying to blog and podcast without a computer of my own. I’m sorry about my podcast mistakes. I had to work in a hurry using a borrowed computer. (Thank you, Sophie for lending me yours!)

Thank you for listening!

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  1. Reply

    Well, I didn't find this a dry topic at all, but that might be because I also have to keep records! I don't have to keep the level of records that you do, but I get "audited" more frequently.

    I also find the record keeping requirement actually helps me keep a record of my family. At the end of each year, I have that year's blog bound in a book, and my kids love looking back through all the old blog books. Since we tend to record more of the fun happy things (and the hilarious disasters) we really have a record of joy.

    I find the requirements make me pause and reflect on each child's progress, what we've done, and what we could do. I don't think I'm naturally inclined to do that, so I think I wouldn't make time to do it.

    1. Reply


      I'm so pleased you commented on this post in particular. You have been such an inspiration to me with your positive attitude towards record keeping and home school registration. Although required record keeping can be a pain, I decided to look at things in a different way too.

      I'm sure your blog books are treasured. Yes, a record of joy! I like that description very much.

      Thank you, Wendy, for being a faithful listener of my podcasts and supporter of my blog. I always smile when I see a comment from you!

  2. Reply

    Sue, I really appreciate your perspective. We have annual tests and quarterly samples here in Alaska. It can ruffle up feathers when it comes to these topics. I keep a notebook of their paperwork but really like the use of evernote to keep track of the wealth of learning gained from other sites and experiences. Thank you for reminding me of trust and peace.

    1. Reply


      I'm so glad our children aren't tested. That must be an added stress for you. It's hard not to get upset about such situations, but perhaps when we can't change things in the short term, it's better for us to be positive and try to stay at peace. (Maybe working for change through other more organised avenues.)

      Quarterly samples… I wonder if electronic samples would be acceptable for you. Last time we had a visit from our Authorised Person she told me that our education department is moving away from paper. Electronic records are becoming more and more acceptable. Oh yes, Evernote lets us include so many records which are hard to capture on paper. I used to write such things as 'watched a video about the history of…'. Now I can add a link to the actual video if the girls watched it online. I no longer have to print out photos of all the wonderful things they do. It's so easy to insert a photo from my computer into my notes. There are lots of other examples, but I'm sure you have ideas of your own.

      I've enjoyed answering your comments. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  3. Reply


    Thanks to your youtube videos on record keeping in Evernote, I started using that platform for record-keeping last year. The thing that I like the most is that on a tough day (or week, or month) I can scroll back and see so many learning moments. It encourages me and helps me keep going.

    I also find that when we are "break" I still end up keeping records, because of course the learning never stops!

    1. Reply


      Thank you for watching my Evernote videos! You are so right: Our homeschool records can be a source of encouragement when times seem tough. I like how Evernote gives us a tool to record so many different types of learning experiences.

      My girls like to say, "The only way we can prevent ourselves from learning is to sit inside a big box, and even then we'll learn that doing that is very boring!" Yes, learning never stops!

      I hope all is well with you and your family. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  4. Reply

    Thank you for your ideas on Geography. My daughter dislikes the subject, but now I can see we have actually been doing it all along !!!!

    1. Reply


      It's all about finding the right educational language to describe learning experiences! The syllabus makes everything sound complicated, doesn't it? I'm glad you found my podcast helpful. Thank you so much for listening!

  5. Reply


    I listened to this podcast this morning while finishing up some chores. Truth be told, I listened to a few of your podcasts. Once again, I have found your words so very encouraging! I love the idea of using the state standards as spring boards for ideas. We are not required to keep records, but I find them very helpful for me only. I tend to have panic moments and pick up the "school at home" attitude again. Having these records helps keep me calm during down times. Using our state standards will also give me ideas to ensure they are getting exposed to ideas and information that I may not think of. Thank you!

    1. Reply


      I was just chatting to Lucinda in the comments box on another of my records posts about making the most of circumstances. It would be wonderful if we didn't have to worry about records like you, but that's not going to happen any time soon. I find it's easier to make the most of a situation I can't do much about rather than get upset about it. Anyway, I suppose this is how I came up with the idea of using the state syllabus as a starting point for resources. I'm glad you like this idea!

      I love looking back through my records books. I'm always amazed at just how much my children are learning. Writing things down is good. Our memories often fail us so seeing things in black and white does make sure we get the correct picture. Yes, it helps with those panic moments!

      I'm really pleased you found something helpful in my words even though this topic isn't really relevant to you because you don't have to keep records. Thank you so much for listening!

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