Why You Should Consider Radical Unschooling

This week, in episode 109 of my unschooling podcast, I’m discussing radical unschooling.

Do you unschool but don’t like the sound of radically unschooling? Maybe you’re convinced you’ll never do it? If so, I hope to change your mind!

I’m pondering lots of questions including:

    • How did we end up becoming radical unschoolers (when I said we’d never do this)?
    • Are radical unschooling parents irresponsible? Or are the critics wrong?
    • How will our kids learn to do the things that are necessary and right if we don’t make any rules?
    • Can anyone radically unschool? Or is radical unschooling associated with only a particular lifestyle?
    • Can Catholics unschool? 
    • How do we protect, care for and share our beliefs with our radically unschooled children?
    • Is it possible to let kids make their own choices and, at the same time, be confident that they will make the right choices?
    • What could happen if we force our kids to live by our rules?
    • Is it really okay if kids don’t wash their hair and clean their teeth?
    • What is at the heart of a radical unschooling way of life?


Show Notes

Blog Posts

Rules, Responsible Parenting and Radical Unschooling

The ‘Risky’ Business of Trusting Children

How to Live Radically

Podcast music

Twombly by Podington Bear(CC BY-NC 3.0)

Where you can find us

You’ll find lots of unschooling posts in my archive on my blog Stories of an Unschooling Family.

You might find me on Instagram at sue_elvis.

Please take a look at Imogen’s latest music video, Symphony and her Facebook page Imogen Elvis. Your interest and encouragement are appreciated!

Thank you

Thank you for listening to this episode. If you enjoy my podcast, please consider writing an iTunes review and sharing the link so we can spread the word about unschooling! 

Would you like to continue the conversation?

Are you a radical unschooler? Did you make a conscious decision to adopt this way of life or did it happen naturally? If you are apprehensive about going along this pathway, what are your main concerns?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences. You could stop by and say hello!

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    • Venisa
    • October 6, 2017

    Loved the podcast and your stories Sue! You are a great storyteller and it’s always enjoyable to listen to you. I think when I’ve seen my children struggle it has pushed me away from a child led approach because I didn’t want people to say I was failing my kids. But we are pretty strong in our unschooling ways now. It’s still difficult going against the tide. I go to dance lessons and I hear parents with such adversarial relationships with their children. Today they were talking about forcing kids to do school work before they could play and grounding kids. It was the tone as much as the subject.

    Something happened to me the other day. I was at our once-a-week homeschool co-op when one of the moms came up and told me it was my turn to clean. But the way she said it, I felt like a small child being lectured. She didn’t seem to trust me to do a good job and was going to pre-empt any trouble with this lecture. Well, I definitely cared much less after that. It was a good reminder for me to convey trust when I talk to my children. I really saw how discouraging and upsetting the opposite could be!

    1. Reply


      It’s hard to go against the crowd and do what we feel is best for our children regardless of other people’s opinions and criticism. We all have times when we doubt what we’re doing. Perhaps we all need the support and encouragement of like-minded friends. Maybe our own experiences help us realise that we are on the right pathway. Yes, it hurts not to be trusted whether we are an adult or a child.

      Thank you for listening to my podcast. It’s always good to chat with you and continue the conversation!

    • Julia
    • October 24, 2017

    Well this podcast has given me not only the nudge to trust my gut and admit that I want an unschooling life with our girls but to take the next step and go into radical. I admit that I was the person saying that I would not be a radical because of the preconceived notions that in order to be *radical* I would have to be completely hands off including hygiene and health. You also made a connection to Unschooling with gentle parenting. I had not thought of this before and I think that is also why I have the pull to unschooling. I am not always the best at gentle parenting, I have a long road to travel, but it is what I want for our family. Unschooling is just the educational model or offshoot for gentle parenting. Thank you for this podcast; it’s the first of your’s that I have listened to. I have a great deal many tabs open to explore in the coming days. Thank you again!

    1. Reply


      I’m so pleased you found my radical unschooling episode helpful. There are many negative posts about this topic on the Internet. I really wanted to share a different view of it, one I feel is true. Yes, those stories about poor health and hygiene are so off-putting. But these issues can be shared gently and we can provide a good example.

      Gentle parenting… Oh yes! Maybe it doesn’t matter about always being gentle. We all make mistakes. Parenting is hard at times. But we can keep trying. I have found that my kids are very quick to forgive me when I fail to be a good parent. It’s all part of being connected as radical unschoolers.

      If you’d like to listen to a few more of my podcasts, maybe these ones will be of particular interest:

      Ep 21: Being Honest: Talking about Mistakes and Perfection
      Ep 54: Attachment Parenting and Unschooling
      Ep 80: Radical Unschooling
      Ep 110: An Interview with a Teenage Radical Unschooler

      I made the last episode only a week or so ago. Maybe it will reassure you that radical unschooling is not an irresponsible or a wild thing to do.

      I hope you enjoy exploring my blog. If you have any questions, I am happy to try and answer them. Thank you so much for stopping by!

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