unschooling: pros & cons

Obviously, for us, the pros of unschooling outweigh the cons (or we wouldn’t be doing it). Most choices in life are like that. So, what are those pros and cons for our fam? So glad you asked.

(I’m just going to list the pros and cons without any/much elaboration. Then y’all can let me know which ones you’d like to hear more about.)

Let’s start with the cons.

The Cons of Unschooling:

–little/no alone time for Mom.
–many much family togetherness can = bickering/impatience.
–no tests to see how my kids compare to “normal” ones.
–no opportunities to influence public school for the better.
–two teachers instead of lots.
–if kids want to go to college, we’ll have to get creative.
–running errands means getting asked “why aren’t you in school?”
–kids might be behind on fashion trends.

You know something’s a good fit for your family when you’re grasping at straws to come up with drawbacks.

The Pros of Unschooling:

–freedom to travel.
–freedom/time to pursue interests.
–freedom to get a head start on a career.
–flexible schedule.
–family together time.
–love for learning stays intact.
–curiosity and creativity flourish.
–mornings aren’t rushed.
–evenings aren’t exhausting.
–siblings become friends.
–hours and hours to read and write.
–getting to learn alongside your kiddos.
–more time to give in service to others.
–don’t have to learn thousands of facts you’re just going to forget.

There are more, but I’m going to bed. 😉

Anything you’d like me to elaborate on? What pros/cons am I missing?

11 thoughts on “unschooling: pros & cons

    1. Laura

      I think she just means a transcript may take a little more time to create, unless you are keeping good records. 2 of my unschooled children have graduated and gone to community college. I was actually excited when I realized how good their transcripts looked. I had kept no records. They just took a short exam that everyone takes to determine readiness and did fine (well, my musical genius hadn’t done much algebra so he didn’t do well on the math part). The book High School Form-U-La (?) by Barbra Shelton helped me describe what they had done with schoolish sounding subjects, etc. It’s a great book!

  1. Pingback: unschooling: regret | Marla Taviano

  2. Emily Starr

    Hi Marla. I had never heard the term “Unschooling” until I read your blog tonight. But upon reading the Wikipedia definition, I realize that I was unschooled myself! We just called it homeschooling, but I spent way less time in traditional study than some homeschooled peers. And way more time working on our organic vegetable farm, reading, going on mission trips, and helping raise my younger brother…anyway, I had fun reading your blog. ..

  3. Christine

    Marla,
    These are all great advantages of homeschooling at large, not just unschooling. I actually consider some of your cons, pros. (like behind on fashion….means I can cloth all 6 of us at the thrift store, as a one income family, that saves a lot of money,)

    I’m not trying to rain on your parade but you obviously have some readers that are new to home education or interested, and are looking to you for guidance. I feel that you aren’t giving a fair and balanced view to home education at large, (not to mention that you yourself have only been home educating for a short time). Many of the things you have written happen in homeschool settings of all kinds. I promise I’m not the “homeschool police” I’m just a concerned long time home educator, that knows there is a lot of false information bouncing around and there doesn’t need to be more.

    I really have been interested in learning more about unschooling, and was hoping your 31 days would be the way to do it. But as I read you, I find myself going, no,no, no more often than being educated…I wish you well in your endeavors.

    1. Marla Taviano Post author

      Hi, Christine. I hear what you’re saying, but I’m not sure you’re being realistic (or fair) about the purpose of a personal blog. I can’t (and don’t intend to) give a “fair and balanced view” of home education at large (or anything else). (Wow, I’m using a lot of parentheses.)

      I write from my personal experience. Sure, I’ll share other views from time to time and try to get us to open our minds, but I’m mostly writing about my own life and choices. I popped over to your blog (homeskoolmom), and I’m guessing you don’t give a fair and balanced view of public schools, private schools, and unschooling. Right?

      I wish you well in your endeavors also.

      1. Christine

        WOW! You got that from reading my blog? I guess you’re the one that spiked my numbers yesterday 🙂 Wouldn’t it have been much easier to have replied here or sent an email, asking me what my opinions were about different educational options? I would have responded.

        I absolutely understand the purpose of a personal blog, it is designed for persons to give their opinions about matters, to teach others, to talk about their passions, to keep a journal, etc. But shouldn’t we at least try to be honest when we’re doing it? Unschooling is a FORM of home education; all the pros and cons of “unschooling” you listed above are pros and cons of home education at large. I feel you are not only being unfair to home education, but you are not being honest and as a long time home educator, married to one of the first modern home-school graduates, it pains me when I see misleading information about one of my passions.

        I’m actually a bit baffled because I *think* we’re on the same page, yet you seemed to get your dander up because I’m telling you that your pro/con list is more what you’ve made it? (also, part of having a public blog, being open to criticism–although, as a side note, I’d say downright meanness or a personal attack is totally unacceptable on any blog, any where).

        I feel the need to explain since you have obviously made wrong assumptions about me and my beliefs. When I teach classes for our state organization, I offer unschooling as an option, and talk very highly of it. In fact, I’d say most, if not all of home education has some form of unschooling to it. Unless you’re replicating government school at home, and that would be a VERY sad home ed setting.

        Most home educating parents I know, and I know many, do not stick to only their curriculum, if they use textbooks, they go on field trips, study interesting things they find in the yard or attend fun co-ops with classes like cake decorating or soap box derby, go roller/ice skating, etc. When I teach homeschooling how-to classes, I always tell people to think outside the box and not be limited by their curriculum. Another side note: government schools- schools ran by the government, sole purpose is to indoctrinate our kids–you might be interested in watching this movie http://indoctrinationmovie.com/). I’m NOT saying their aren’t good teachers, there are…however, many are leaving for many of the same reasons people are choosing to home educate.

        Personally, Yes! I wish EVERY parent, Christian, non-christian, humanist, atheist, etc. would chose home education for their children. I think it is the BEST choice for everyone and I’ve never been shy about saying it. I think it would benefit our kids and our families and our society at large. I’d LOVE to see the Dept. of Ed abolished as I would many other government institutions…but that’s another topic…
        I hope as two Christian women, we can agree to disagree and harbor no ill feelings…I do wish you well, Cambodia should be an interesting place to home educate your girls; a field trip of the best kind!

        1. Marla Taviano Post author

          Friend, my reply to you was not mean-spirited. I’m baffled by your response. You are asking me to give homeschooling equal play time with unschooling on my blog. But we unschool. We don’t homeschool. My purpose in life is not to get all the people of the world to home-educate. (Nor is it to “save” homeschooling’s reputation.) Not even close. My purpose is to help guide my family along the path that most glorifies God. I share our story in hopes of helping people find their own path that glorifies him. I’m sorry you think I’m unfair and dishonest. I disagree. No ill feelings. But I think you’d agree that future dialogue would be less than fruitful.

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