What My Unschooled Kids Never Learned

What MY Unschooled Kids NEVER LEARNED!

Podcast Transcript

What My Unschooled Kids Never Learned!

I do a lot of interviews with people who are curious about how unschooling works. Lots of times, they want to know if I have regrets or if there are things my now grown kids wish they had learned. I guess they hear so much good stuff about unschooling that they want to find where the flaws are. They know there have to be some skeletons in there! It can’t be Utopia!

I’m Sue Patterson, and this is the Unschooling Mom2Mom podcast. I’m here chatting with you each week, helping you feel inspired and encouraged to continue along the unschooling path. I have resources to help you in the show notes and at the website - guides, courses, coaching. So reach out if you need a little more help.

Back to those people wanting to know where the flaws are. I mean, they’re right about one thing… Unschooling is NOT utopia.

And the truth is, some decisions do close doors. If you go Left, you can’t go Right. If you choose to join the dive team one summer, you’re probably going to have to take a pass on archery this year. Time, money, energy all play a part when we are making decisions. And Life is full of decisions, right?

But there are some things my kids didn’t learn - and it’s all because we unschooled. It’s all because we took this unconventional approach and didn’t choose the path everyone else chose.

I made a list - a Baker’s Dozen! 13 Things My Unschooled Kids did NOT Learn.

Think about this first...

As I share my list with you, I want you to think about 3 things.

  • Your Own School Experiences.
  • Your Child’s school experiences if they’ve been or are in school.
  • And Your child’s experience as an unschooled child. Maybe you’re already unschooling and you can see these same things being skipped - your kids, like mine, just don’t get to have these experiences. One decision simply takes them on a different path.

13 Things My Unschooled Kids Never Learned

So here’s my list of things my kids did not learn because of unschooling.


They didn’t learn to hate the idea of learning. They didn’t see “learning” or or the term “educational” as something negative or something to avoid. They didn’t get the message that Learning isn’t fun.


They didn't learn to wait... and wait... and wait. They didn’t learn that you have to wait for someone to tell you what the next right step is. They were never told to “not read ahead of the group” or discouraged to work on anything ahead of where the group was. They were not conditioned to wait and be spoonfed. They were not forbidden to trust their instincts and punished for taking decent guesses. Being wrong wasn’t the end of the world, so they didn’t learn to avoid it at all costs.


They didn’t learn how to do the minimum to get the grade. They didn’t learn to not be bothered with actually learning the topic, just figure out what’s expected and do that - they didn’t learn that technique. They didn’t learn to the skill of trying to get by by doing the least you have to do to get the score or grade you want.


They didn’t learn to set aside their interests until the adult in charge decides they can explore on their own. They didn’t have this pounded into them so much that they stopped noticing what they were interested in. They didn’t learn the lesson that the school work matters more than their own interests and curiosities.


They didn’t learn there's only one right answer. They didn't learn them mistaken idea that there's only one correct way to learn.


They didn't learn to use grades to determine worth. They didn’t learn to think they’re better than someone else - or worse than someone - because because of how well they did in a certain subject. They didn’t learn to value their worth (or anyone else’s) because of scores on tests or grades on quizzes.


They didn’t learn to make fun of people who don’t conform, seemed a little different, or weren’t considered popular.


They didn't learn to guard their work from others. They didn’t learn the idea that collaborating - working together - is cheating.


They didn’t learn that you can only be friends with kids the same age as you. They didn’t learn that very weird thing about kids younger than you were less than you somehow, and kids older than you were to be revered - simply because of the year they were born.


They didn’t learn to distrust adults or believe that the grown ups were the enemy.


They didn't learn much about bluffing. They didn’t learn not to ask questions or appear to not know something. Their curiosity pushed them to want to know more - not just appear smart.


They didn’t learn to downplay their intelligence to fit in.


They didn’t learn the importance of Conformity. Or the mistaken idea that Conformity is what leads to success.

It’s no wonder so many of us grow up to be such People Pleasers!

Whether we were trying to get our peers to like us or win the approval of the teacher and the adults in our world - we didn’t get much time to figure out who we really were, what we really liked, how we really wanted to live our lives. We do now - kind of. And for many of us, it’s still a struggle. Those ways that have been drummed into us. It takes a while to undo. It takes effort.

And I’m not saying that my kids have perfect young adult lives. No one does. But they didn’t have to overcome 12 years of these things… and the ripple effect that happens because of it all. They won’t have to carry that baggage into their adult lives as they become parents trying to figure out how to raise their own kids.

And it’s all because of the choices we made as their parents. This choice to do things differently. This choice to set the priorities in completely different places from those who send their kids to school. Or homeschool in a more schoolish way. It’s because we unschooled.

And your kids don’t have to learn these lessons either. Isn’t that a relief?

Reach out if you need some support and I’ll be back again with more of the Unschooling Mom2Mom podcast. If you want to buy me a coffee, there’s a link in the shownotes.

Enjoy your kids - and take care and happy unschooling!

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