Common Unschooling Myths BUSTED!

Common Unschooling Myths BUSTED!

Maybe you’re an unschooling family, maybe you’re just beginning or you’ve been doing it for years. I bet you’ve heard some of these unschooling myths from people before. Maybe they’re your concerns now, and you’re batting your way through de-schooling. Maybe you’re interested in how unschooling would work for your family and you’ve got some questions. I bet there’s some mythology behind your questions! Here Whole Woman debunks some of the most common unschooling myths!

You need to be a teacher

No! In fact you do not need any teaching qualifications whatsoever to home school. Having been present in the classrooms of some teachers it’s possible to argue that even teachers don’t need teaching degrees … but I digress. What gives parents the edge on teachers is that no one is as dedicated to seeing their children succeed as a parent.

My child is not interested in learning

All living things are driven to learn, it is fundamental to survival. Who cares if your child isn’t interested in calculus (I don’t even know what it is) who cares if your kids don’t want to read Shakespeare, it’s not remotely relevant to a modern lifestyle. Let your child follow their own interest! If they’re interested in cars, they might be a mechanic, if they’re interested in animals they might be a vet, if they’re interested in reading they might be a writer, if they like fashion they might design clothing or fabric etc etc. Do not give credit to any curriculum that was not designed by your child because children will only truly absorb that which interests them. The idea that children aren’t interested in learning is based on children not being interested in what schools teach them, it isn’t based on reality. For this reason we have totally busted this unschooling myth for you!

A child can not learn to read without school or at least structured lessons

Actually a child can learn to read all on their own. A child who lives in a  society where so much revolves around literacy will naturally want to learn to read and will ask the questions they need to ask in order to self teach themselves. In the very very rare event (there are no documented cases of unschooled children not learning to read, however there are plenty documented cases of schooled children not learning to read)  that your child does not self learn literacy, adult literacy classes take thirty hours to teach the skills needed in order to read successfully.

Without discipline a child will never succeed in the REAL world

Discipline comes from within, it can not genuinely be enforced. It is not self discipline that makes a person keen to be employed full time, it is a basic need to earn money in order to survive in our currency based society. Self discipline helps, but it isn’t the reason people seek employment. But sure, many people skive off work however the overwhelming majority of them were schooled, the vast majority of society in general, is schooled. Is every single person who went to school well disciplined and in full time employment? Of course not! People are people, no matter how they are educated.

Without school kids can’t function in the real world

Some people who go to school never function in the real world either! But having said that, it’s important to point out that school is not the real world. School is school. There are no similarities between life in the real world and schooled life. The idea that unschooled children will never make it in “the real world” is just another unschooling myth. In the real world people must make decisions for themselves, at school children need to follow orders unquestioningly. In the real world people go to the toilet when they need to, at school children need permission to go to the toilet. In the real world, if you hate your job, it’s possible to look for alternative employment. Not so with school, not unless your parents will help you. In the real world, bullying and harassment is a criminal activity and the police can investigate. At school, where children aren’t always able to adequately advocate for themselves, finding support or escape is very hard.

School socialises children

One of the most persistent unschooling myths there is. Let’s bust it! The definition of socialisation in the Cambridge dictionary is “to train people or animals to behave in a way that others in the group think is suitable”. Animals hey? Nice! However that’s not what people mean, they usually mean that children will be lonely and have no friends, and that couldn’t be further from the truth! Home school groups meet right across Australia. They go on camping trips, excursions to the museum, beach, zoo or anywhere else you might see a normal school outing, they have formal dances, work experience, and they meet just to play all the time. Home schooled children are very social! Children are innately social, they don’t need to be taught how to behave in social settings.

Home schooled children can’t go to university

Actually universities are falling over themselves to snap up the homeschooled kids. They have discovered that children fresh out of school are so accustomed to being told what to do and how to do it that they require constant instruction whereas unschooled children are for the most part self driven and very independent. Homeschooled children do not receive a leaving certificate like schooled children but universities offer an entrance exam to ensure the student is well equipped to succeed in their chosen course.

They won’t learn the same stuff that all the other kids learn

No. They won’t! And the children in other countries, other states, and even just another school in the next suburb won’t learn exactly the same stuff either. Unschooling is an advantage because children don’t fill their head with useless stuff that they forget as soon as the the standardised test is over. They learn things they are really interested in and retain most of the information. If all the children left school and all entered the same occupation then it would be important for them to all learn the same stuff, but school leavers will do everything, from entering university to study more, to traveling, working in a factory, starting a family and so many other things. What children need to learn is life skills, not trivial facts.

So we’ve busted some of the most persistent unschooling myths, but there are others we haven’t covered here. What unschooling myths have you encountered? What myths would you like to see busted? Leave us a comment with your experiences. If you’ve got an unschooling blog we’d love you to link it here so other readers can learn about your journey!


Unschooling Myths - child in woods
Busting the Unschooling Myths!
License: Creative Commons CC0.

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4 Responses to "Common Unschooling Myths BUSTED!"

  1. Darlene Cavallara  17 May, 2016 at 3:23 am

    I have unschooled my two sons their whole lives – they have a movie production business, write scripts/books, read adamantly, have a 5000 year history knowledge (favorite subject), have not been sick for years (strong immune systems), love to invent, can communicate with clarity and truth, are creative artists that paint every day, deeply connected with nature and animals, have a deep trust in life, understand human nature, are very social, not afraid to follow their dreams, and have laughed and played everyday of their lives. They are 15 and 18 years old now and have just this last year acquiesced to having a cell phone so I could call them if they were snowboarding or out hiking around….they did not grow up texting as their first form of communication….. I highly recommend to all parents to let their children grow organically on their own and simply give them the resources they need to follow their own path. I had to deal with all of the above myths both internally and externally over the years and I am so thankful that the internet had networks, articles, and support for me. This article is a great resource for parents making that decision and I hope my story is inspiration. My son’s and I plan on writing a book when they are both over 18 to help encourage other parents and share some of the structures we used for their learning.

    • MHeket
      MHeket  18 May, 2016 at 12:43 pm

      Thanks for sharing your insight! Fantastic words of encouragement.

  2. Rahat  22 May, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    I am going through this.home schooling my son while others say i am insane.i am going through difficulties and get depress but now i am feeling much satisfied after reading all about unschooling myths.thank you so much for this push up i must say.

    • MHeket
      MHeket  28 May, 2016 at 8:08 pm

      Keep going! The benefits will speak for themselves if you can just get through the uninformed criticisms and find your own way forward.


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