Never Ending Unschooling

Imogen has started full time university work. She’s studying professional writing and publishing. She’s also having singing and piano lessons and preparing for exams. You wouldn’t think she’d have much time left over in her day, would you? But recently…

  • Imogen has pulled on her running gear, and headed down the tracks with us, whenever I’ve suggested a run.
  • She was eager to watch the TV series, Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets, when the other girls and I settled on the sofa to enjoy it.
  • She couldn’t resist watching the opera The Love of Three Oranges, with us when we discovered it on Youtube.
  • Of course, she had to join us again when someone slipped The Life of Birds into the DVD player.
  • She wasn’t going to miss out on a trip to the library so she could borrow a towering pile of books.
  • And she certainly couldn’t refuse an invitation to go on a picnic.
  • She wants to listen to the stories of the saint of the day, and enjoys the discussions that follow.
  • She listened eagerly while I read about the Incorruptibles, and then chatted about St Bernadette, St Catherine of Bologna…
  • She wants to look at the Vermeer paintings I am strewing on the wall.
  • When we discovered Vermeer’s wife’s jacket was edged with ermine, it was Imogen who rushed off to find out what ermine is.
  • She wants me to print a set of art cards for her, just like I’m doing for the other girls.
  • She joined in with a discussion on medieval weapons, and one on secret codes… and all the other discussions that seem to begin spontaneously around the dinner table.
  • She finished another draft of one of her novels.
  • She has cooked, and drawn and written blog posts…
  • And done so much else in the past couple of weeks that I haven’t taken the time to record.
  • Did I mention she also did full time university work? And music lessons and practices and choir and piano teaching?

“Anyone would think you’re still unschooling,” I remark to

Imogen grins and says, “I am. Does unschooling ever stop?”

“Look at you, Mum,” says Sophie. “You’re much older than Imogen and you’re still unschooling.”

Sophie is quite right. I’m learning so much every day. I am definitely unschooling.

I think back to the end of my own school days. My friends and I couldn’t wait until the final day of the final term of our final year of school had been completed. How light-hearted we felt as we sailed through the school gates for the very last time. No more school! We’d survived. And I never wanted to learn anything ever again.

At the time, I didn’t realise that school (as I knew it) and real learning are two different things. One does finish eventually. The other continues for the rest of our lives.

“Do you want to watch Swan Lake with us?” Gemma-Rose asks Imogen.

“Of course! I can’t let you watch it without me. I’m not going to miss out.” Then Imogen adds, “When are we going to watch another Shakespeare play? There’s still a few I’ve never seen.”

But I know Imogen will see them all eventually. She might be too old for school, but she hasn’t run out of time. 

Fortunately, unschooling never ends. It’s just part of life.

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    • Vicky
    • February 28, 2013

    I'm in awe of what Imogen fits in to her life! And inspired, too. Was there anything specific you think you did to cause her to be a high achiever or do you think it was general life style? Or, perhaps, it's a personality trait?

    Your days sound like a lot of fun! It seems as though learning is almost like play:-)

    God bless, Sue:-)

    1. Reply


      I think anyone can fit lots into their life when learning isn't confined to official school hours. Most of what we do could be described as educational. The girls watched some of those DVDs after dinner in the evening. Lots of the discussions occurred while we were eating lunch. We run before breakfast. Imogen has also been able to find the odd half hour or so during the day to join us if she notices we are doing something interesting. Maybe during assignment and exam weeks Immy will have less time for unschooling, but at the moment she is indeed living a full life!

      Perhaps it's a love of learning which gives someone the motivation to achieve a lot. Also a love of being part of the family and not willing to be left out? I don't really know.

      Our days are very enjoyable. I don't think learning need be arduous. From what I hear, you also have lots of fun as you homeschool.

      Thank you so much for your comment!

  1. Reply

    Absolutely true!

    1. Reply


      Thank you for visiting my blog!

      God bless!

  2. What wonderful things you all do! When I think of how I spent most of my time at university (ahem), I realise I could have learnt a LOT more if I had had an unschooling upbringing! I have no regrets, because everything has brought me to the happy place I'm in now – but I'd love things to be different for my children.

    Oh – and I've given you a Very Inspiring Blogger award!


    1. Reply


      I wasted a lot of time at uni too! But I do agree that every experience is valuable. We can't waste more time having regrets. Yes, if nothing else, we learnt we want something better for our children!

      Thank you very much for the blog award!! I am so excited. Can you see me smiling and jumping up and down? I will enjoy writing a post about it soon. Thank you!

  3. Reply

    Dear Sue
    Thank you for your friendly comment! In fact it is the very first one! I have started my homeschool blog not long ago. Being a homeschooler in my country is very extraordinary, being a Catholic homeschooler even more and being a Catholic homeschooler with unschooling tendencies… you get it.
    Any way, I am also English speaking,but my German is just more advanced.
    I am happy to have come along your blog and – if I would have lots of time, I would have already read all of it.

    1. Reply


      I am so happy you stopped to say hello. Thank you! I wrote the first comment on your blog? How special!

      I'd love to hear more about homeschooling in Germany. I wonder what prompted you to homeschool when there aren't many homeschoolers in your country. Isn't it wonderful how the Internet connects us all together, regardless of where we live in the world? We can all chat and support each other to make up for the fact we don't have other Catholic unschoolers living close by.

      Please feel welcome to stop by again another time. Thank you for reading my posts.

      God bless!

  4. Reply

    Hi Sue
    We live in Switzerland (swissgerman speaking part), not Germany! In Germany homeschooling is not allowed, so far. Switzerland has some liberal areas.
    I like your new header picture!!

    1. Reply


      I am so sorry! I should have read your blog more carefully. I will have to return and get to know you better. I guess it's a bit like assuming someone who speaks English must be from England. Now I want to find out more about Switzerland!

      Sophie will be pleased you like my new header. She drew it for me!

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