Grown Unschoolersâ€™ Evaluations of Their Unschooling Experiences: Report I on a Survey of 75 Unschooled Adults
Keywords:Educational alternatives, Self-directed education, Unschooling, Follow-up study
Seventy-five adults, who had been unschooled for at least the years that would have been their last two years of high school, responded to a survey about their experiences. Their responses indicated that their parents generally played supportive, not directive roles in their education and played bigger supportive roles for those who started their unschooling early than for those who started later. The great majority of respondents reported that they were very happy with their unschooling. Nearly all of them valued the freedom it gave them to pursue their own interests in their own ways, and many reported that unschooling promoted their capacities for self-motivation, self-direction, personal responsibility and continued learning. A minority said they experienced a learning deficit as a result of unschooling, and most of those said they easily made up that deficit when they needed to. Most said they had satisfying social lives as unschoolers, and many commented on the special value of having friends of a wide range of ages. Only three respondents said they were unhappy with their unschooling, and those three all said that they were socially isolated, in dysfunctional families with mothers who were psychologically depressed and fathers who were uninvolved.
English, R. (2014). Too cool for homeschool? Accessing underground unschoolers with Web 2.0. In K. Trimmer, A. Black, & S. Riddle (Eds.), Mainstreams, margins and the spaces in-between: New possibilities for education research (pp. 112-124). London: Routledge.
Farenga, P. L., & Ricci, C. (2013). The legacy of John Holt: A man who genuinely understood, respected, and trusted children. Medford, MA: HoltGWS.
Gloeckner, G. W., & Jones, P. (2013). Reflections on a decade of changes in homeschooling and the homeschooled into higher education. Peabody Journal of Education, 88, 309-323.
Gray, P. (2010). Children teach themselves to read: The unschoolersâ€™ account of how children learn to read. Blog at Psychology Today: Freedom to Learn, Feb. 24, 2010. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn.
Gray, P. (2013). Seeking unschooled adults to tell us about their experiences. Blog at Psychology Today: Freedom to Learn, March 12, 2013. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn.
Gray, P., & Riley, G. (2013). The challenges and benefits of unschooling according to 232 families who have chosen that route. Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning, 7, 1-27.
Grunzke, R. Z. (2012). Pedagogues for a new age: Childrearing practices of unschooling parents. Dissertation, University of Florida. Ann Arbor, MI: Proquest LLC.
Kirschner, D.H. (2008). Producing unschoolers: Learning through living in a U.S. education movement. Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved from http://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI3309459.
Llewellyn, G. (1998). The teenage liberation handbook: How to quit school and get a real life and education. Eugene: OR: Lowry House.
Martin-Chang, S., Gould, O.N., & Meuse, R.E. (2011). The impact of schooling on academic achievement: Evidence from homeschooled and traditionally schooled students. Canadian Journal of Behavioral Science, 43, 195-202.
Medlin, R. G. (2013). Homeschooling and the question of socialization revisited. Peabody Journal of Education, 88, 284-297.
National Center for Education Statistics. (2008). Homeschooling in the United States in 2007. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education. http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2009/2009030.pdf.
National Center for Education Statistics. (2013). Parent and family involvement in education, from the national household education surveys program of 2012. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education. http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2013/2013028.pdf.
Ray, B. D. (2013). Homeschooling associated with beneficial learner and societal outcomes but educators do not promote it. Peabody Journal of Education, 88, 324-341.
Riley, G., & Gray, P. (2015). Grown unschoolersâ€™ experiences with higher education and employment: Report II on a survey of 75 unschooled adults. Other Education, 4(2), pp. 33-52 [this issue].
Smith, W. G. (2008). Does gender influence survey participation? A record-linkage analysis of university faculty online survey response behavior. ERIC. http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED501717.
Thornberg, R., & Charmaz, K. (2012). Grounded theory. In S. D. Lapan, M. Quartaroli, & F. Reimer (Eds.), Qualitative research: An introduction to methods and designs (pp. 41-67). San Francisco, CA: John Wiley/Jossey-Bass.
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License of their choice (usually CCBY 3.0 unported, but determined at the proofing stage by consultation with the Editor - readers looking for copyright permissions are required to do this on a case by case basis) that allows others to share the work in some way with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal. We appreciate authors placing a link to the Other Education site wherever they choose to offer a PDF download to the original OE article.