Is unschooling high school a legal and valid form of homeschool for high school? We’ll discuss un school and does learning from life without an unschooling curriculum for high school prepare homeschoolers for college and beyond? How to unschool a teenager, including unschool transcripts, homeschool diplomas and more!
Can you unschool high school?
At various times in our homeschool journey, we chose to unschool and even decided that unschooling a high schooler was an option.
What does unschooling mean?
Unschooling is an educational philosophy or a method of homeschooling that doesn’t use a formal curriculum. It’s child-led learning homeschool and a more relaxed homeschool high school, middle school, or elementary school option.
If you’re finding that traditional school or homeschooling isn’t working for your kid, unschool homeschool in high school is one of the alternative school options that you might consider.
Is unschooled legal?
Unschooling is a form or method of homeschooling, so unschooling is legal in all 50 states because homeschooling is legal in America. Even though each state has different homeschool laws and requirements, they should all be unschooling friendly states. You can unschool all ages and stages, from preschool to high school.
However, each state has different home school laws. So, be sure to check the homeschool requirements for your state.
What is the difference between homeschooling and unschooling?
Unschooling is often considered a method under the bigger umbrella of homeschooling. The major difference between unschooling and homeschooling is that in unschool a child leads his/her learning, while in homeschooling in may be more directed by the parent.
Both are valid home education methods.
How do I start unschooling?
- Check your state’s homeschooling laws.
- Understand how your homeschooler best learns and if they have an interest in self motivating.
- Be open to understanding that learning comes in many different shapes and forms.
- Ask your child what they would like to learn.
- Provide opportunities for learning based on your child’s interests.
When my son was young, we just received a few sideways glances about unschooling:
”Oh, you’re one of those. We don’t do that…”
(The homeschooling judgment got annoying, but whatever.)
As he got older, though, those glances turned into concerned comments.
Am I damaging his college prospects by unschooling high school?
(He’s currently a senior in college with a 4.0, so apparently not!)
Will he ever get a job if we unschool?
(He’s had a few, and has risen pretty quickly in them.)
Won’t he be unable to work as part of a team?
(Yes, back to the homeschool socialization thing.)
As I write this, he’s helping lead a volunteer team for a political campaign.
He also travels to other countries with missions teams several times a year.
I think he’s good.
I’m not writing this to brag on my kid, because, well . . .
he hates it when I do that.
I’m writing this to dispel some long-standing homeschooling myths, especially about unschooling.
(It’s not a drop out of high school and unschool and do nothing kind of thing, like some people think.)
I’ll cover the details so you can take an honest look at it and figure out if it might work for your family!
What Is Unschooling Homeschooling?
So, what exactly is unschooling?
I think a lot of the misconceptions about unschooling come from a misunderstanding of what it is because there are no unschool rules.
Simply put, what unschooling means is unschooling – or delight-directed learning, as it’s often called – is allowing your child the freedom to learn about what interests them in the way that makes the most sense.
And, for us, unschooling for high school was an alternate approach to high school individual interests and talents.
Pretty easy, right?
But that definition is also pretty broad.
Sometimes, it’s easier to define something by stating what it’s not.
Unschooling is not . . .
• Unschooling is not a Lord of the Flies type of educational philosophy. It does not involve setting your child loose in the savage wastelands of academia, hoping that they emerge unscathed on the other side.
• It’s not a child-run dictatorship in which you bow to your child’s whims, never requiring them to learn anything they don’t “like.”
• Contrary to popular belief, unschooling does not require you to move to the mountains and live completely off the land, forsaking society and its comforts. (You’re welcome to do this if you choose, but it’s by no means the norm.)
What is the difference between homeschooling and unschooling?
How To Unschool High School
That’s kind of the thing about unschooling; there is no set blueprint.
(And, there is no unschooling curriculum, so you don’t need an unschooling high school curriculum.)
Un schooling for high school students really does look different for every family.
That’s also the point, though!
When unschooling through high school, you don’t set the course of study by yourself. You don’t require your child to fulfill it according to the teacher’s manual.
Instead, you work with your child to determine what best fits them.
When unschooling in high school, discuss their goals, their likes, their strengths and weaknesses – and then work with them to set a plan.
ALSO CHECK OUT:
HOW TO UNSCHOOL
Unschooling might involve:
- Textbooks (yes, they’re allowed in unschooling!)
- Mentoring programs
- Afternoons out in the woodshop or in the garden (or wherever)
- Hours spent researching the details of what fascinates your teen
- More hours learning to put that information to use
- & MANY OTHER THINGS
For my son, it meant a huge Audible library of political theory and philosophy, as well as a few dozen rolls of duct tape to make an arsenal of medieval melee weapons.
(He’s now a Politics & Policy major and a Military History minor. Go figure!)
It also meant several hours of comparing his favorite novels to their movie counterparts in order to figure out the details of storytelling on paper and onscreen.
(He’s currently planning a novel trilogy with what he’s learned.)
And when he couldn’t sleep, because he’s a teenage boy, it meant hours on YouTube watching Disney clips from the 40s through current movies.
I found out later that he was analyzing the social messaging.
He then compared it with cultural changes he noticed in literature and politics.
(Funny, I just memorized the songs!)
This is just an example of unschooling — you can cover unschooling high school english, unschooling high school math and more like this!
Your unschool journey will look very different.
(And, that’s OK! It should!)
Unschool High School Transcript / Homeschool High School Transcript
An unschool high school transcript will look more like a resume or a CV. Your courses will be the projects, activities, experiences or lessons your high schooler worked on.
You can also convert your projects to unschool high school credits (like the Carnegie Unit) and track those for an unschooling transcript.
Learn more about unschooling high school diploma:
ALSO CHECK OUT: How Do I Get My Homeschool Transcript? (to help with how to create unschool high school transcript)
An Important Note on Unschooling
It is really important to note that unschooling is not the right choice for every child.
If it was, other homeschooling methods wouldn’t exist!
If your child is not a self-motivated learner, unschooling might not be the right choice.
Notice, however, that I said “self-motivated to learn.” I didn’t say “self-motivated to learn with the method we’re currently using.”
There’s a big difference!
If your child needs a strong structure with daily checklists and clearly defined boundaries, you may want to check into something like traditional textbooks or classical education.
Unschooling does offer some amazing opportunities, but the boundaries are pretty loose.
This is freeing for some students, terrifying for others.
That’s ok, though – do what works best for your child!
RECAP: Unschooling High School
There are many different ways to unschool high school — everything from writing and literature analysis to science and math, and everything in between.
There will be plenty of ideas for out-of-the-box subjects and projects, too. You can even find an un high school internship for your high schooler and have a lot of fun with homeschool high school electives!
So if unschooling sounds like something that might work for your high schooler, it is possible (and they can even get into college after unschooling!)
ALSO READ: How To Start Unschooling (LEGALLY)
Contributor Jennifer Duncan is the founder of A Helping Hand Homeschool, providing resources, unit studies, support, and consulting for homeschool families.