Trailer Park Unschoolers

Because you don't need to be rich to unschool!

Why We Unschool


It dawned on me today that I’ve never really talked about why we unschool.  It’s not really a complicated thing.  I mean, making it as simple as possible, we do it because it feels like the right thing to do.  Isn’t that why anyone does anything?

Of course, there’s always a way to make it more complicated.  In truth, it really is much more than simply because it’s our choice.  It has a lot more to do with our values and how I want my kids to grow up.

Now, in no way are we as radical as we used to be.  I never used to require anything from my kids.  They showered and bathed because they wanted to.  They brushed their teeth because they liked to.  They weren’t required to have what everyone else was having for dinner (though I was only making one meal, so they had to choose something they could do on their own).  We didn’t even really do family dinners.  Everyone ate where they wanted to eat, engaged in what they wanted to be doing.  Often times this meant watching television shows and chatting about them afterwards.  We were totally radical.

And I wish we could be that kind of radical again, but it’s not in the cards.  As long as we live where we do we’ve got to keep to stricter standards.  Even so, we still want to unschool as much as humanly possible.  We’re trying to do the minimum required to make the system happy, something I wish we didn’t have to do.

But why do we still do it?  Wouldn’t it be easier to go the more formal route?  Aren’t we kind of leaning towards the more formal route by means of doing curriculum?

Well, no, it wouldn’t be easier.  No, we’re not really headed towards the formal homeschooling route.  We’re just doing what it takes to follow the rules.  It’s living within the laws of the society we live in, even if we don’t like all of them.

I’ve seen other homeschool families.  I’ve known a lot of families that work fairly well with homeschooling of all varieties, but when the kids struggle they can sometimes grow to hate the experience.  That’s what I hope to avoid, a scenario that the kids end up hating me, or hating learning because it doesn’t work for them.

Now, for Beekee, he really seems to like the whole workbook thing.  He’s really interested in learning and has no problems with writing, so long as I write out the words for him to copy.  I write faster than he can and he can’t write at speed of thought.  For him I think a more formal style of education might suit him.


But overall this helps us avoid tears.  Instead of fighting to get the required work done, I can relax and enjoy my time with my kids.  I can show them stuff I think is interesting and cool.  They may take to it or they may not.  I introduce topics to my kids and they either take it or leave it.  That’s the way it needs to be.  I’m excited to be able to provide that for my kids.  It’s a free-form kind of learning that I love.

Most of all, I unschool because I’m lazy.  Yeah, I said it.  I don’t want to be wasting my time working on lesson plans and projects that my kids will struggle through because they have to.  I’d much rather throw a few things out there with the vibe of “Hey, isn’t this interesting?”  Then I can sit back and watch them latch onto it, or not.  If they’re not interested, we drop it and move on, but if they take to it, we go deeper into it.

Above all, it’s about freedom.  We can live in the way we want to live.  We can have fun, relax, and enjoy our time together.  There doesn’t have to be tears over lessons, or fighting over getting things done.  There’s no bribery or coercion.  It’s fun, the way learning is meant to be.  That’s what we love about it.  That’s what we hope to keep doing with our time.  Hopefully we’ll be able to get closer to that as we move into the future, but for now we do the best we can, taking it one day at a time.



Author: Fox

With four kids, who has time for much? We spend a lot of time together, which translates to a lot of knitting time for me when we hang out. We've been trying to get back to our unschooling roots. We watch a lot of videos, play a lot of games, and pay attention to the things we notice in our everyday life. It's been quite the big adventure!

9 thoughts on “Why We Unschool

  1. Lazy? Pshaw. I hate lesson planning too. HATE.IT.

    • It is the hands down WORST part of homeschooling for me, which is why we don’t do it.

      • I did it for a few years before I knew what I wanted for our homeschool. I would literally DREAD Sunday nights because that was my lesson planning night. I really feel you should never dread your child’s education. Truly.

      • I can only imagine what that must have been like. I held up with lesson planning for a week, then scrapped it because it was too much work. Now there are some things we hit every day, but mostly we play it by ear.

      • Yup. For my 16 year old, she has geometry, and then whatever else we feel like. The math is organized by the computer program, so I don’t have to do anything else. 🙂 Woot!

      • We have a computer program that the kids like. They all do math and Sander and Luca do Explode the Code, but that’s it for formal stuff. Plus writing two times a week so they have something for their portfolio. We don’t stress about the rest of it.

      • Sounds perfect!

  2. I love hearing about why other families homeschool and/or unschool! We do it for many of the same reasons that you do. My kids continue to blow me away by the things they learn that I had nothing to do with. They have far surpassed many adults I know in their knowledge of the natural world, their reading proficiency, and their advanced vocabulary. With nobody to tell them “this is what you should learn at this age” they just learn what they want. It’s a beautiful thing! I wish you and your kids all the best! Keep being a great mom!

    • Thank you so much. My kids aren’t blowing anyone away yet, but we’re also deschooling and trying to keep up with state requirements. I have a feeling they’ll be much more invested in learning once they’ve been a good long way out of school.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s