Unschooling around the world – United States

Unschooling around the world – United States. Een eerste interview in de serie Unschooling around the world.

Lees hier het verhaal van Tiersa, een unschooling moeder in Florida, Amerika. Zij is actief op Twitter waar zij haar ervaringen deelt zowel van haar gezin als over unschooling in het algemeen. Ook is zij gestart met een online unschooling community.

You are from the United States, can you share the process how to start unschooling according to the laws and regulations in your country? What do parents need to do, or not do?

In the United States homeschooling is legal in every state. The laws are different from state to state, so some states have more regulation than others. In most states, the process begins by notifying the local school district of your intent to homeschool your children. I started homeschooling in Texas, which is an extremely homeschool friendly state. We now live in Florida, which has more regulation, but we are enrolled in an Umbrella school called Florida Unschoolers that allows us more freedom.

Do you follow a school curriculum or course when your children ask for it? And how do you obtain the materials for that? For instance a class of physics or chemistry, biology, literature, history.

We don’t follow any set curriculum. Living is the curriculum. The children do ask for things to aid in their learning which my husband and I happily provide.

For example, my oldest son is interested in mechanical engineering and requested circuit boards and books to study it. My daughter loves to bake, so we have to keep her stocked with all the necessary resources and tools. They use their tablets and phones for literature from the library app provided by our local library.

Do you create weekly or daily schedules for your children?

No. We do not create schedules or routines for them. We honor their natural learning rhythms. Some of the children are more structured than others, and routines naturally emerge for them. My oldest son is very adamant about his routine, but it’s just a checklist of his daily goals, not a schedule by hour. The other children go with the flow more with their day.

How do you find and meet other unschooling families? How is your neighbourhood/city responding to unschooling families?

Unschooling families are easy to find online. There are many Facebook groups and people on Instagram. I have built a community on Twitter of Unschooling families, as well as joined great communities online like My Reflection Matters Village and True.

In our neighborhood there aren’t many Unschooling families, but there are homeschooling families. We were more active with them prior to the pandemic. We hope to connect with the homeschooling community again face to face when it is safe.

The McQueen family

Did you need a lot of time talking to your family and friends sharing your unschooling choice, or did they respect your choice and no word about it?

My family was not very supportive in our choice to Unschool initially. There were some members of the family who thought it was a fantastic thing to do and were very supportive, but our immediate family reacted with much trepidation. I have learned that there is much ignorance surrounding Unschooling.

People truly do not know what Unschooling is, which creates confusion and assumptions.

In order to combat the push back, I have sent many of my family members books and articles about Unschooling in order to help educate them on the lifestyle. This has helped them to respect the choice more.

If people would like to read more about me, the can follow me on Twitter @tiersaj, or read about me in the New York Times.

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