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Grown Unschoolers’ Evaluations of Their Unschooling Experiences: Report I on a Survey of 75 Unschooled Adults


  • Peter Gray Boston College
  • Gina Riley Hunter College, New York, NY


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.


Author Biographies

Peter Gray, Boston College

Research Professor of Psychology, Boston College

Gina Riley, Hunter College, New York, NY

Adjunct Professor, Special Education, Hunter College


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2015-07-31 — Updated on 2022-09-25




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