Is unschooling high school illegal or a valid form of high school homeschool? Does learning from life and following passions without an unschooling curriculum for high school prepare homeschoolers for college and beyond? Learn how to unschool a teenager, including unschool transcripts, homeschool diplomas and more!
ABOUT UNSCHOOLING HIGH SCHOOL
What are your teenage student’s options for options for high school and college, especially when they aren’t enrolled in conventional school and learn by following passions and curiosities and learning as a natural extension of exploring student’s personal interests.
ENTER: Un-School Home School
Before we get to how to unschool high school, let’s answer some common un-school questions…
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.
Also, if you’re wondering How do I unschool my child? know that you’re asking the wrong question. Unschooling is about the student leading in the education process and you acting as a facilitator.
Is unschooled legal?
Is unschooling illegal or 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. 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.
Can you unschool high school?
You can unschool high school in the United States because homeschooling is legal in America and unschooling is a form of home school. With unschooling high school, parents will still need to keep meticulous records of unschooling interests for graduation, transcripts, college, or even jobs.
Un schooling for high school students will probably look very different than what you’ve experienced or what society tells you high school is supposed to look like.
Can unschoolers go to college?
Yes! Just like homeschoolers who follow a homeschool curriculum, unschoolers who learn without traditional unschooling high school curriculum or courses can also go to college. There are many colleges and universities that are excited to accept homeschoolers and unschooled students who meet their admission requirements.
MORE HOME SCHOOL HIGH SCHOOL HELP: CAN HOMESCHOOLERS GO TO DANCES?
Now that we’ve answered some common unschooled questions, let’s take a closer look at homeschooling vs unschooling.
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
The thing about unschooling is that 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.
How do I start unschooling?
There are no specific unschool rules or unschool schedule, but following these steps will help you get started with un school.
How to start unschooling:
- Check your state’s homeschooling laws. Do you have to register for homeschool? What are the state’s reporting requirements (if any)? How will you fit unschooling into those requirements?
- Ask: How self-motivated is your child to learn on their own and follow their interests? (One of the most important things for your unschooling success!)
- Understand how your homeschooler best learns and if they have an interest in self motivating.
- Be open to realizing that learning comes in many different shapes and forms and probably doesn’t look anything like what you think “learning” is. (This will probably push you way out of your comfort zone!)
- Ask your child what they would like to learn and discuss their goals. Do they plan to attend college? (If so, you’ll need to make sure you meet college entrance requirements.) Do they want to go straight into the work field after high school? (What can you do to facilitate that within their unschool schedule?)
- Provide opportunities and resources for learning based on your child’s interests.
- Document what and how your child is learning about topics.
Unschooling might involve:
- Researching topics at the library
- Textbooks (yes, they’re allowed in unschooling!)
- Documentaries and movies (we love this platform for a variety of homeschool subjects!)
- Art and music projects
- Mentoring programs
- Game play (board, video, etc.)
- Afternoons out in the wood shop or in the garden (or wherever is best their interests)
- Hours spent researching the details of what fascinates your teen
- More hours learning to put that information to use
- Unschool trips and field trips that support student interests
- & MANY OTHER THINGS
What about unschooling high school math (and other specific topics)?
You can also unschool high school math or even do unschooling high school science with an unschool schedule. Some people think that you can’t follow a homeschool curriculum, or take unschooling programs online, or use courses. However, the most important thing in unschooling is to follow your child’s interests and goals and incorporate math (or science or literature) into your child’s passion. In some cases, that might include taking some traditional courses.
Although unschool is a great option for self-directed learners, there can be some unschooling cons.
Problems with Unschooling
Disadvantages of unschooling can include:
- Implementing unschooling with children who are not self-motivated or self-directed may set the family up for challenges.
- Transitioning from a structured environment to an unstructured environment (like public school to unschool) may be difficult for some families.
- Schooling with this style may work for some kids in a family, but not others, so parents have to use different home education methods within the same family.
- Trying to be a teacher for the kids instead of facilitator may be a hard transition for parents.
- Keeping meticulous records for unschooling and equating non-traditional learning to credits and transcripts can be confusing.
- Dealing with and other people’s opinions and criticisms of unschooling may be annoying and even distressing.
- Misunderstanding of unschooling in society may create challenges, including for jobs or college.
How To Document Unschooling
Unschool High School Transcript / Homeschool High School Transcript
With high school, documentation is important for graduation, especially in homeschooling or unschooling. High school documentation and transcripts will help to “graduate” your student and get them a homeschool diploma.
However, when you’re not necessarily following an unschooling curriculum, how do you create a homeschool 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.
There are unschool tracker systems and online systems designed to help homeschooled high schoolers track their education that can also work for unschooling students.
Learn more about unschooling high school diploma:
ALSO CHECK OUT:
How Do I Get My Homeschool Transcript? (to help with how to create unschooling high school transcript)
Want to hear about a personal unschool experience and find out if unschooling works?
Here’s what guest contributor Jennifer Duncan had to say about her unschooling experience…
Unschooling High School: One Mom’s Personal Journey
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.
Thanks. I think he’s good.
I’m not writing this to brag on my kid, because 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!
At various times in our homeschool journey, we chose to unschool and even decided that unschooling a high schooler was an option.
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!)
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!)
Contributor Jennifer Duncan is the founder of Life Beyond the Lesson Plan.