Some Thoughts about Proper and Not So Proper Unschoolers


Some random thoughts, loosely linked together…
Is there any such person as an expert or proper unschooler?

Do we ever get to a point where we can say, “I know everything there is to know about unschooling”? Despite unschooling for quite some time, I haven’t yet reached that point. I am continually discovering new things.

Why do I never seem to get to the end? Why is there always something more to learn? Could it be because unschooling is life? Life is a continual learning experience.

If we are always learning more about unschooling at what point can we say we’re unschoolers? Are there boxes we need to tick off before we qualify for this label?If there is no accepted definition of what it means to be an unschooler, what’s the point of having a label? Couldn’t anyone claim to be an unschooler? The label won’t mean anything.

But what if we are on the unschooling pathway? We know where we’d like to go but we’re still far from knowing it all? Could we still call ourselves unschoolers?

What if someone criticised us for doing this? What would happen? What does criticism do? Is it valuable? If I point out what a person is doing wrong, won’t she change and do it the right way? You want to unschool properly? Here’s what you need to do…” Except that won’t work. What if a person can’t immediately do what I think she should be doing? What if she can’t trust and let go completely in the perfect unschooling way? She might give up. I’ll never be able to do that. Unschooling isn’t for us.

What if we, instead of criticising, accepted a person as a fellow unschooler even if they don’t unschool in the way we think of as ‘proper’? Would they feel encouraged to keep going down the unschooling pathway? Perhaps, with time, they will gain confidence and start letting go bit by bit. They could end up ticking off all those imaginary boxes. More importantly, they might reap the benefits of living an unschooling life.


Do we need to trust and let go of our old way of thinking completely before we can experience the full benefit of unschooling? Oh yes. But isn’t a step in the right direction valuable too? Who knows where it will lead? Do some people unschool perfectly from day one? Or does it only seem that way? Certain people might give us the impression they never had the same doubts as us? Surely they never made any mistakes? But they probably did. It doesn’t matter how much reading we do, how prepared we are before we have children, we only really learn by experience. We’re all going to make a lot of mistakes before we get to a point where we feel we know what we’re doing. And even then, there is always something more we can learn. That’s just the way it is. Maybe proper unschoolers weren’t always so proper.

And if there is no such person as an unschooler with a perfect history, shouldn’t we all be more accepting and understanding of each other? Perhaps we shouldn’t get too rigid when it comes to applying the word ‘unschooler’. We should encourage families who are still in the early days of unschooling. Be accepting of where they are.

Unless of course, we want to keep unschooling to ourselves. Be a bit exclusive. Close off the conversation. But I’m not interested in doing that. I want to share what I’ve discovered. I want everyone to experience the joy and love of living an unschooling way of life.

That’s why I’ve created a Facebook group called The Not So Proper Unschoolers. It’s for anyone interested in unschooling. All members are accepted for who they are. No requirements to fulfil. No criticism. Just encouragement and support wherever you are on your unschooling journey.If you come over to the Not So Proper Unschoolers on Facebook, you’ll get a warm welcome. If you are still finding your feet, we’ll encourage you. If you’re an experienced unschooler, then we hope you’ll share what you’ve discovered.

And whatever stage of unschooling you’re at, we can all be friends.

So how about it? Do you want to join us?

These photos are of some of my not-so-proper unschooling family. This morning we went to the shopping centre and enjoyed morning tea together!

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  1. Reply

    Sue, I love you! This post gave me so much joy. It was good for me to read. Because I'm probably one of the not so proper unschoolers. 💕

    1. Reply


      I'm so glad you understood what I was trying to say. Maybe it's more important to share joy than it is to be proper. We can be not so proper unschoolers together!

  2. Reply

    Love it Sue! I certainly have nothing to gain by keeping unschooling to myself and I'm far from perfect at anything! Good points.

    1. Reply


      It's good to share the things we love. Yes, we can't keep unschooling to ourselves! Thanks for stopping by to comment!

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