Unschooling: Exploring Learning Beyond the Classroom By Gina Riley


  • Ryan Cowden


Homeschooling has grown at an exponential rate over the past decade. Despite its popularity, the premise of homeschooling remains foreign to many in our society. Gina Riley’s Unschooling: Exploring Learning Beyond the Classroom is the first academic book on unschooling, lending historical, philosophical, and empirical support to this practice. Riley argues that, despite its recent popularity, the unschooling movement draws upon a long and rich intellectual history.

Unschooling is one form of homeschooling where there is no fixed, explicit curriculum. This means there are no formal assignments, curriculum, or assessments for the student to follow. Instead, the student is encouraged to follow their interests, with the parent acting as a guide or collaborator. An important and related theme is that of intrinsic motivation. According to the author, public schools often rely on extrinsic punishments and rewards to entice learning. Throughout the book, Riley argues that unschooling is uniquely positioned to develop the intrinsic motivation of students, in ways that traditional schooling and homeschooling do not...