One response to “What should I expect if I start being open about being an unschooler?”

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    A couple responses from the Not Back to School Camp community:


    I address this from a parental perspective with younger kids in one of my blog posts…

    If you’re able to translate what you do into educational language – to show people how learning occurs in an unschooling context – then people will find you intelligent and somewhat relatable. If you don’t feel comfortable talking about how you learn various subjects or what grade you’re in, then people will think you’re neglected and uneducated.

    While we all know there’s a huge difference between being unschooled and uneducated, the public thinks they are the same if you can’t be the interpreter for them. They speak one language about learning and you speak another language about learning that they don’t understand. You have to translate unschooling experiences into the learning-language that they speak if you want to be relatable. Don’t expect them to learn your language. Some folks might eventually, but only if you open up lines of communication with them first.

    Interpret for them….

    “Being unschooled means I direct my own learning experiences. Lately I’ve been heavily invested in STEM fields, working on some of the technical aspects of gaming. I’ve also explored some of the history of games and how they reflect our socio-cultural structures.”

    Or “lately I’ve been working with food chemistry and investigating some business math concepts around the feasibility of starting my own baking business.”

    Or “I’m particularly interested in studying the intersection between myth, fantasy, and history and culture – things like Tolkein and D&D.”

    Then people see that you’re still learning and find you semi-relatable. But if you say “I just do whatever I want all day and mostly play video games and binge watch Netflix” they aren’t going to understand how learning occurs.


    I would say that it is good to be more honest with people about what you are doing. I would explain it is self directed learning and that you always learn more when you are actually interested in the subject and not just following a typical course of study.
    I would also tell them that directing your own learning is a great skill to have no matter what your age – as many people have difficulty with that.

    Unschooling gives you a level of independence that has given you the opportunity to learn lots of different and interesting things and this will help you as you continue to make decisions about what you want to learn and do with your life.

    You are still the same person, now maybe they will understand more about why you love certain subjects and can talk endlessly about the latest interesting thing you learned.

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