Learning to trust

Here's information about Unschoolers Unlimited. We are an informal network of people who are learning to trust our own and our children’s ability to choose the best ways to learn and grow.

Ned and I are parents of a 36 year old son. When Cassidy was a baby, we were inspired by John Holt, who said “Children do not need to be made to learn, or shown how. They want to and they know how.” We decided that Cassidy would determine what, when, where, how much and with whom he would learn. We never used school books or taught lessons. We answered his questions when he asked and helped him gain access to the real world when he wanted it. We called it unschooling.

When we went to homeschool support group meetings, the conversation was usually “How do I get my kids to do math, what curriculum do I choose, etc.” When we said we don’t “teach” our son, there might be one or two other parents who said “We don’t either, but we thought we were the only ones.” So we started a support group.

We hold family gatherings -- usually on the third Saturday of every other month. We come together to play and socialize, to support and encourage each other, to share ideas and information, and to reassure ourselves that we are not alone in believing that children and adults can be responsible for our own learning. We publish an occasional newsletter and a mailing list.

Our son celebrated his graduation (Magna Cum Laude!) in 2002 from Hunter College in New York City. After college he moved to Brooklyn and got into bicycle riding. He rode across the country to Seattle where he worked in bike shops and met the love of his life. Lucky for me, he persuaded Kim to come back to Brooklyn.

In 2009 he opened Bespoke Bicycles in Brooklyn NY.
Now he and Kim and their beautiful twins live in Philadelphia. Cassidy is managing Mainline Cycles

Ned died peacefully at home in July 2009 after a long illness.
I continue to do this group because I love talking to people about homeschooling and enjoy holding their hands as they make the leap into self directed learning.

Please call or write if you have questions. I look forward to hearing from you and meeting you.


Luz Shosie
Guilford, CT

Would you like to receive our contact list and occasional newsletter? Send an email to nedvare@ntplx.net
There is no charge. We welcome contributions of any kind.


Our mailing list is circulated only to other families on the list.
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CHILDREN’S NAMES AND BIRTH DATES (if you want them published)

What are your interests, concerns, or questions about unschooling?
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Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Uncurriculum

“To parents I say, above all else, don't let your home become some terrible miniature copy of the school. No lesson plans! No quizzes! No tests! No report cards! Even leaving your children alone would be better; at least they could figure out some things on their own. Live together, as well as you can; enjoy life together, as much as you can. Ask questions to find out something about the world itself, not to find out whether or not someone knows it.”
John Holt Teach Your Own

No school books? no tests? no grades? Well what, then???

Play is children's most important activity. It's the way they figure out how the world works, what part they have in the world. Cassidy and his friend used to say, “Let's betend...” and then spend hours being race car drivers, cops, robbers, parents, space cadets, puppies, babies, hunters, merchants, explorers.... Scientists play with theories, writers play with words and ideas, inventors play with materials & concepts, parents learn how to play again...

Work: No, I don't mean forcing kids to do chores, but allowing, encouraging (and having patience with) them to join you in your work at their level of ability and interest; helping them to find access to their own work in the real world when they choose. Real work. Real tools. Real responsibility. Volunteering, getting paid for some of those chores, apprenticing, starting a business...

Reading: Being read to (if and when you and they enjoy it); seeing others read for pleasure and curiosity; playing with books, letters, words, maps, puzzles, board games, comic books... No pressure -- some learn to read at 4, some at 12 & by the time they're 16, no one can tell the difference.

Math: Instead of math lessons, check out the fascinating and beautiful books in the library. Pocket money or allowance, getting & spending; blocks, cards, dominoes; sports & games; origami; cooking, gardening; building a model or a tree house, measuring distance, angles, heat, light, weight, speed...

Science: Humans are born scientists. Encourage curiosity & help kids go where it leads: mud, pets, rocks, bugs, stars, trains, bicycles, fishing, swimming, computers, dinosaurs, food, bodies, weather...

Art & music: real materials and instruments, lessons & practice (if kids choose) or messing about with piano, recorder, ukulele, drum, clay, paint; seeing art & artists, acting, listening to music, dancing, playing along...

Doing nothing: thinking, dreaming, watching the clouds, imagining... Often “doing nothing” means kids are not doing what parents think they should be doing. Which means kids are doing what they choose, which is the best way (maybe the only way) people learn. The point is, schooling, textbooks, and most “educational materials” are artificial, boring and limiting. Real life and real work are unlimited, unpredictable, fascinating. And kids know the difference.