Is it Unchristian to Unschool?

Bible 015There is a myth that abounds: all christians who homeschool their children play “schools” at home. They either sit around the kitchen table while Mum plays the role of teacher and her children are the pupils, or she supervises them while they sit at their desks, compliantly completing all set work with a smile on their face.

Is it possible there could be another way?

Is it “unchristian” to allow our children more freedom than that? To allow their natural love of learning to flourish in an environment that supports their interests in practical ways, and invites them to explore the wonder of the world around them? Or must a christian parent, in an attempt to “train” their children, force compliance with set tasks determined by the parent?

Is it possible for christian home educating parents to allow their children the privilege of an unschooling life? To allow them to live and learn in freedom alongside a loving parent or two, without the expectations or constraints of schoolish ways and schoolish thinking?

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In Mythbusters lingo, I would say that I think it’s not only possible, it’s plausible! And there are in fact hundreds, if not thousands, of unschooling christians around the world. It can take some effort for christian unschooling parents to swim against the tide, and they often feel like they live in no man’s land, being too conservative for many unschoolers, and too weird and liberal for many christian homeschoolers. But the reality is, unschooling can be a perfect fit for a christian family where love and grace are given freely.

If you’re willing to consider debunking the myth that all christian homeschoolers are conservative in their beliefs and methods, check out my guest blog post over at Christian Unschooling.

Published by

Karen Lee

FAMILY: Married since 1989 (does that make me old?), a full-time Mum since 1993, and unschooling my kids since 2005. On a journey of learning to live free and fully loved as God intended, following Jesus rather than an institution or "religion". Caring for the world and its people as best as I can.

6 thoughts on “Is it Unchristian to Unschool?”

  1. We have been unschoolers for years and radical unschoolers for a year. We have never fit in with Christian homeschoolers or secular homeschoolers because we don’t school at home. I even led a group for 5 years and didn’t fit in. I think Jesus gives us freedom to be free from constraints.

    1. True! Freedom is a wonderful thing. It can be sad to see friends living under lots of constraints and limitations though, hey. Sometimes my children are judged by their friends for the freedom they have, and I think it is their friend’s feeling jealous of my children’s freedom, and perhaps having a hard time reconciling it with the limitations they are living under.

  2. I don’t think it’s unChristian to unschool, as with all things people are quick to jump to conclusions. I love reading and chatting about what Christian unschooling means to people. I really REALLY (great vocab, hey?!) enjoyed your article and the rabbit trails it lead me to explore.

    It IS often uncomfortable to be an imperfect, Christian, sometimes conservative but not mainstream, sometimes unschooler, who borrows favourite bits from everywhere and does none of them ‘properly’. There’s always someone who thinks (or ‘we think’ they think) we’re too relaxed, too structured or too undecided. I choose the label ‘eclectic’ because it’s comfortable, flexible, non-commital and explains our quirks.

  3. I so agree with this. We are relaxed/unschoolers and Christians at the same time. When We lived in Washington, we were the super conservative of the homeschool group as most tended towards a much more radical form of unschooling than we did. Now that we live in Missouri, we are the crazy liberals because most around here practice school at home.

  4. Yes,Yes,Yes, – comfort is not the path for a Christian Unschooling Family. We have been at it for 5 years now. My kids have not caught on yet but we get eye rolling, avoidance and lots of misunderstandings about our educational philosophies. When a homeschooled child is asked “what grade are you in?” this is awkward but when the answer is “we don’t emulate the public school and have grades” Oh BoY, strange looks and ignorant comments flow freely. I appreciate your post Karen and hope to support others who are swimming upstream as well.

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