Unschooled kids Mythbusting

by Shae on April 22, 2013




Generalizations make the baby jeebus weep. And I’m getting a bit over them to be honest. Lets bust some myths shall we?


Unschooled kids are all weird. You know what? Some are. REALLY weird even. But then there are a whole bunch of kids who have never set foot inside a school who are all decidedly un-weird. Like any group of kids they will all be different.


Unschooled kids look like they fell out of the thrift shop bin. Sometimes I see a group of kids (including mine) that will all be dressed quite “eclectically” and I often think that we look like what homeschoolers are “supposed” to look like. But that doesn’t account for everyone. It’s not against the rules to have nice, fashionable clothes for unschooled kids to wear. And you know I buy my girls fancy MATCHING outfits to wear at xmas right?

Unschooled kids play Minecraft all day. Some do. Some don’t. You don’t get a merit badge if your kid likes computer games nor are you a morally superior person if you kid has never heard of Skylanders.

Unschooled kids can’t take extra curricular classes. There is a fair bit of infighting about what can and cannot be called unschooling at the moment (and it’s not cool TBH) but of course kids do classes that they are interested in. Unschooled kids go to horseriding or swimming or clarinet or hip hop dancing lessons and so on and so on. The possibilities are endless!

Unschooled kids always/never eat junk food. Different families do different things. Not to mention kids having different tastes.

Unschooled siblings don’t fight. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA no. I’m sure there are some very harmonious families out there but most families will have some periods of sibling conflict. It’s pretty normal really.

Unschooling mothers are more patient than school mums. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. While we do have the kids around all the time we don’t have to deal with homework or school lunches or show and tell or stupid rules/red tape you might not agree with. That all takes patience too. I really want this myth busted because it can be a barrier to some who might want to pull their kids out of school but think they will lack “patience”. If the energy from being an agent of the school was channeled  into having the kids at home you might find all kinds of patience.


Any sort of learning or social difficulty an unschooled child has is because they don’t go to school. NOT TRUE. There are plenty of kids in the school system with these issues. PLENTY. Kids are kids and some will have quirks, learning difficulties, behavioral stuff, be introverted, cautious, gifted, highly extroverted, anxious, super ambitious or dyslexic etc etc in spite of-not because of- where they do or don’t attend school.


I’m pretty sure the theme of this post is that there are lots of different families with lots of different kids who choose to unschool for a whole host of reasons. Generalizations don’t help anyone. Neither does the culture of us versus them.

Let’s just knock it off huh?


Got any other unschooled kids myths you’s like to bust?




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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Ingi April 22, 2013 at 9:05 am

Yes!!! I have worked in schools, and I don’t hesitate to tell people who ask (and many that don’t) that those “issues” are found in all manner of kids who attend school. Schools don’t magically fix them and in most cases, they make them worse.

What about “how will your child go to tertiary education if they never take tests etc)?” or “what about the HSC?”. Just because you unschool, doesn’t mean you never do anything academic. If that’s what the child enjoys, then you can work that way! Also, if there is a goal a child/teen wants to work towards, they will find a way. Many unschoolers go onto tertiary study, very successfully, I might add.


Deb @ Bright and Precious April 22, 2013 at 9:54 am

Loved this post, Shae. I found the point about patience a compelling one. x


Kathy April 22, 2013 at 9:59 am

The one I still hear whenever I make longing noises towards home education is “But they won’t be well socialised with their peers!” My outsider observation is that some unschooled kids are indeed not … and some schooled kids are not either … and some in both camps are perfectly well socialised.


Chantelle April 22, 2013 at 10:53 am

I love this. There’s not just one way to raise a child.

I was talking to my Aunt {a high school teacher} yesterday about unschooling, and asked what would happen if an unschooled child decided they wanted a university education.

So not really a myth, but something I’ve often wondered.

I loved that there were options – options that I never have known were there.

Thanks for sharing this. Very insightful. :)


Shae April 25, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Uni is easy :)
Most kids who are keen for tertiary education know when they are old enough to do VCE/HSC so they either do it by distance ed, at school or tafe. The other option is applying as a mature age student with a folio and RPL. Some also do a bridging course at uni or tafe to get them into their chosen course if that isn’t enough.


Nikole April 23, 2013 at 7:57 am

Hear, hear! Unschoolers are such a diverse lot. That’s kinda the beauty of it.


bek April 23, 2013 at 9:47 am

And I thought over there was supposed to be more advanced and sophisticated and cosmopolitan than over here 😉 Even the bogan area I live in I get asked more sensible questions than most of those statements. Where are they coming from? 😀

Thanks for reminding me (again), I need more Lego.


Selby April 23, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Well spoken!:)


Michelle April 24, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Absolutely brilliant! LOVE it! :)

A myth I’d like to bust about Homeschoolers is that we are not all religious or hippies. Some of us are plain old boring people really… even if that is a hard concept to grasp for most.

My least favourite question is always the socialisation one. How will they have friends? How will they learn to interact with peers? Oh and also “How can you teach them when you don’t have an education degree?”


Shannon May 9, 2013 at 9:54 am

Dropping my teary-because he wanted to stay home with me and his siblings- 8 year old boy at school the familiar longing for unschooloing arose and funnily enough the first thought to counter was “I am not at all patient enough to have them all at home.I would make their life a nagging,yelling filled misery’. But you make a good point about the difference not having them at school might make tio stress levels.

My other questions are:
Do you think you have to be on a decent income to be able to keep them at home (buying art supplies/lego,activities,etc..)?

How do you actually go about taking your kids out of school once the dept of ed has them tightly in their grasp? lol

Great post BTW!


Shae May 10, 2013 at 7:30 am

I think it really helps to be on a decent income to be honest. It is not essential however-I know plenty of families who are natural learners who are not. Like any family a bit of extra money is a help! But like the school stress point-school isn’t free either and comes with it’s own set of costs.

Depending on which state you live in you just need to register them within 14 days of pulling them out of school. You don’t need the approval of the school you are currently at to do so. :)


Shannon May 14, 2013 at 9:14 am

Well thats a relief to read it is that simple!
I thought there would be some sort of interrogation..i mean interview process that I would have to go through or something. (Did you know we have to ask permission to take our kids on holiday during school term?!)

Thanks for getting back to me :)


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