Friday, December 17, 2010

Spanish Constitutional Court says "No."

Home schooling is not legal, rules Constitutional Court
The ruling states that "the right of parents to choose for their children an education outside the compulsory education system for reasons of pedagogy does not fall within any recognized constitutional freedoms."

I think there will be
another gavel coming.

The article reports that the children in question "spoke five languages, knew music and were taught math, science and language, and ethics education."

Part of the ruling: "The court added that the exclusion from the formal system can generate in minors "serious problems in their future development" both in academia (in reference to the difficulties of access to university) and in the social and integration with other children their age."

That was a tactical error on the court's part, to clarify. Their "clarification" can be refuted pretty easily, with statistics from other countries, if they'll accept any outside information.

No doubt this will be overturned before long, but for now Laura Mascaró, the author of Educatíon y libertad (lower right on this page) wrote "I'm thinking of moving to another country or something..."

Laura's article on this ruling is here, in Spanish: El TC contra la libertad educatvia

Links from Laura's notes:
La verdad siempre vencerá, por Julian Assange en La Jornada

Controlar a los controladores, por Francisco Capella en Expansión

Pero qué malo es Google, por Antonio José Chinchetru en Libertad Digital

Beneficios de educar en casa (XXIII edición del carnaval de blogs de homeschooling), por Ketty Sánchez en Mariposas Multicolores

The most dangerous place in the world, por Priscilla Hill en Preserving the torch

Update on Christer, en Friends of Domenic Johansson

Sunday, December 05, 2010

A homeschooler's commentary on six weeks in high school

One of the unschooling moms on facebook posted this introductory note:
Here's a video by one of the unschooled boys in our homeschool group. He talks about his six weeks of high school and explains why he stopped going. It's definitely worth watching!

A little story with big meaning

Hazel Mae Donovan wrote on facebook:
On our first midterm, there were only 4 As in our class of about 40 people. 3 of the 4 As belonged to homeschoolers (myself included). Surprising? I think not.

These stories are heard quite often. I have a son taking his first college classes. English 101 (which he tested into without preparation, after unschooling) isn't going as well as the math, but he's like his dad, who also had some English 101 problems, after 13 years of public school.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Study finds no advantage to early reading

Unschoolers (and others) have known for decades that late reading has no effect on learning, nor does it show when they're older, but now those who prefer statistical analysis to anecdotal evidence can share this as needed:

"At the end of the study, the data was analysed using Hierarchical Linear Modelling, which is commonly used in longitudinal studies, and a particularly robust way to analyse data, and estimated the point at which the early starters and later starters of learning to read met - and it came up with 10.89 years - between 10 and 11 years of age," he says.

"It was very exciting and unexpected - one of those science moments. The results concurred with the results of the other two studies and there were no differences in the abilities of the early and later readers by 11."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Unfortunate title, but decent article

'Unschooling' Lets Children Dictate Their Learning

'Unschooling' Lets Children Dictate Their Learning
CBS4 Miami Tue, 26 Oct 2010 19:53 PM PDT
Who needs textbooks and lesson plans? Some parents say children should decide what they learn, not teachers. That's the basis of a controversial educational philosophy known as "unschooling", a movement that's gaining traction across the country.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Changing Paradigms

Wonderful animated illustrations to Sir Ken Robinson's talk:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"Creating your own curriculum"

Creating your own curriculum, article by Kelly Loeper, Queen's University The Journal, September 21, 2010.

Unschooling, self-teaching or life learning—an educational philosophy where children don’t attend school but “learn through life”—is growing in popularity as an alternative to traditional blackboards and books

(The link was going around facebook, from Wendy Priesnitz, and I snagged it. —Sandra)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

"No wonder there is resentment of life learners!"

For years people have said "It's jealousy," or "it's resentment" when someone is complaining vaguely about unschooling being "not fair." Wendy Priesnitz of Life Learning Magazine has explained it very clearly and taken it one level further, into economic realities and the changing world.

Learning Happens
Wendy Priesnitz
28 September 2010
I’ve been having a discussion with an intelligent and open-minded critic of unschooling life learning. She keeps insisting that these kids “aren’t doing anything”…or at least not anything they couldn’t be doing on the weekends and going to school too. For awhile, I was stuck on trying to convince her that the school part is harmful, that there’s not much real learning goes on there, etc., etc. But the more she insisted, the more it seemed like she was whining! And that’s when I realized that her criticism isn’t based on facts, but on emotion – in this case, on resentment. Sadly, she agreed with me.
Read the rest:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Effect of homeschooling on ADHD-labeled kids

Experiences of ADHD-Labeled Kids Who Switch from Conventional Schooling to Homeschooling or Unschooling
These kids and parents manage ADHD better without conventional schooling.
Peter Gray, Psychology Today
Published on September 9, 2010
Several weeks ago (see post of July 20, 2010) I posted a call for stories about children who have been diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and have been homeschooled, unschooled, or "free schooled." I received 28 such stories and subjected them to a qualitative analysis.

My analysis of these stories suggests that (1) most ADHD-diagnosed kids do fine without drugs if they are not in a conventional school; (2) the ADHD characteristics don't vanish when the kids leave conventional school, but the characteristics are no longer as big a problem as they were before; and (3) ADHD-diagnosed kids seem to do especially well when they are allowed to take charge of their own education. In what follows I will elaborate upon and support each of these conclusions primarily with quotations from the stories. But, first, here are some numbers concerning whom the stories were about and who wrote them....

Monday, September 27, 2010

"Two Thoreaus of Sakwa County"

The link below was sent to the Always Learning list by Aravinda. An Indian couple with PhDs moved from a city to the small village of Sakwa, where they have farmed and homeschooled two sons.
Looking at both them, it's hard to believe that they were both professors at an Engineering College in Ahmedabad. Or that he has a degree in Engineering and she studied Physics and Space Science in college. The story of why two PhD's dumped a city life for tribal one, traded in their teaching careers for a shovel and a hoe, and opted to live on 12,000 rupees ($300) a year is an inspiring tale...

. . . .

Raising Children

The two Soneji sons were both born after they moved to Sakwa. Vishwain is 17 and Bhargav is 14 today. Arguably, the biggest challenge for the Sonejis came when Vishwain became of elementary school age: do we home school or send him to an institutionalized school?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sam Fuller, unschooled teen, interviewed

There is a transcript and a photo, and a place to comment, at the KQED radio site here:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

TV interview in Spain, Laura Mascaró

Laura Mascaró was interviewed on TV in Spain:

More information on Laura is here:, and her book is linked in the lower left, there.

Friday, September 17, 2010

New documentary: Learn Free

A video by Lillian Mauser-Carter:

Learn Free from Lillian Mauser-Carter on Vimeo.

"Learn Free" is a documentary about unschooling which is a educational philosophy that states children learn best by not attending traditional school, but rather through their own interests and by living life.

Made for an 11 week Documentary class.
Further edited in Advanced Editing.

Filmed on Panasonic DVX
Edited in Final Cut Pro
Motion Graphics in Adobe After Effects

Saturday, September 11, 2010

More families are deciding that school’s out – forever

More families are deciding that school’s out – forever

Kate Hammer
From Saturday's Globe and Mail
Published on Friday, Sep. 10, 2010 5:00PM EDT
Last updated on Saturday, Sep. 11, 2010 5:46PM EDT

It has been Saturday in the Laricchia household for nearly a decade.

The family's three teenagers, Michael, Lissy and Joseph, have known nothing of alarm clocks, races for the school bus, arguments over homework or report-card angst since their parents started “unschooling” them in 2002.

The small but growing movement the Laricchias have joined is known by many other names, including deschooling, life learning and edu-punk. At base, unschooling is home-schooling returned to its postwar progressive roots, far from the Bible-thumping mould that has come to dominate the modern image of home-schoolers. . . .

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Homeschooling is legal in India

Until earlier this year, there was no compulsory education law in India, and as school was not required, homeschooling wasn't illegal. The pressure there was from grandparents, because of the emphasis on professional degrees as a mark of success.

This week there is a clarification of the law. It will require each state to provide education, but not require every child to attend those schools.


From Homeschooling in India – An Education called Life

Homeschooling – Legal in India as per RTE act 2009


In addition to the half page feature on homeschoolers in India in today’s Times of India Pune edition, there is an important legal article too on the front page titled – RTE: Homeschooling too is fine, says Sibal

Here is what it says -
RTE: Homeschooling too is fine, says Sibal
But States Must Ensure Education For All: Minister
Neha Madaan | TNN Pune

Homeschooling parents can continue to educate their children at home now that HRD minister Kapil Sibal has clarified the ministry’s stance.“The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 wants every child to be in school,but if somebody decides not to send his/her children to school, we are not going to interfere. The compulsion is on the state, not on the parents. Parents are free not to send their children to school, but teach them at home. We cannot be micromanaging,” Sibal told TOI on Tuesday.

The Act stipulates eight years of formal education for all children between 6 and 14 years of age. Homeschooling parents believe in individual skills and want to nurture them in their children at home rather than in schools. The Act, outlining the duties of the parents,says,“It shall be the duty of every parent or guardian to admit or cause to be admitted his or her child or ward, as the case may be,to an elementary education in the neighbourhood school.”

The 25-odd city-based homeschooling families and scores from other cities have been looking at the implications of the Act and seeking clarifications over whether it is a punishable offence. Educational expert Alok Mathur said homeschooling is not punishable under the Act. Mathur, the director of teachers’ education at Rishi Valley school in Andhra Pradesh, which imparts alternative education, was part of a group which met Sibal a few weeks ago in Delhi. The meeting was initiated on behalf of a Delhi-based homeschooling parent. “I accompanied him for the meeting since a group supporting alternative schooling had sent a letter to the minister along with the homeschooling petition. I was among the signatories,” said Mathur. According to him, the minister, at the meeting, had said that the purpose behind the Act is to make it obligatory for the government to provide reasonable quality education to all sections of society, especially the poorest and deprived sections. In the minister’s view, if parents wished to and had the means, they can homeschool their children.

A Delhi high court division bench in April 2010 heard a PIL which said that the Act infringes on the freedom of parents and should be amended for homeschooling. The petition was dismissed, but the bench asked the petitioners to make a representation to the HRD ministry seeking its views on homeschooling. The homeschoolers group’s letter to Sibal asked him to accommodate homeschooling in the RTE Act or clarify its stand on homeschooling and alternative education. At the meeting, according to Mathur, Sibal had said that he did not feel that the government should enact or provide any special provision to cater to the specific needs of ‘gifted and talented’ children. “The minister associated these children with the betteroff sections of society who are already empowered to provide specifically desired education for their own children in the manner they wish to,” Mathur said. Nyla Coelho, coordinator for the Goa-based Taleemnet, a facility to support meaningful and alternative education, said, “The Act is more about giving the masses a chance to literacy. The government would not intervene if parents wish to homeschool their children. I have wanted to convey this to the parents of homeschoolers in Pune to allay their doubts about the Act.”

RTE: Homeschooling too is fine, says Sibal

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Christian Unschooling

I've been working on web links and updating Christian resources. This seemed a good place to mention that.

Imagine being a homeschooler and getting pressure from relatives, friends, schools...
Imagine being an unschooler, and getting pressure from relatives, friends, schools and homeschoolers.
Imagine, then, being a Christian unschooler, and getting pressure from relatives, friends, schools, homeschoolers and other unschoolers.

It can't be easy. It is NOT easy. If anyone has resources in addition to these that promote gentle, natural parenting for Christians, please leave a comment with a link.

The pages I was working on:
Overcoming Pressure from Conservative Christians to Spank

Unschooling in the World

Links I've added or spruced up:
Christian Unschooling:

Christian Unschooling (facebook page):

Parenting in Jesus' Footsteps:

Parents for Nonviolent Parenting:
A yahoo group I had listed has disappeared, but here is a search page for Christian unschooling groups on yahoo; this is not a recommendation, just a resource:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Problems from early daycare

Family under the microscope
Avoid putting the under-threes in daycare if you can

Oliver James

The article came to my attention in this paragraph:
In an op-ed for the Guardian, James described a study measuring the amount of cortisol, the stress hormone linked to our flight-or-fight response, in babies left at daycare facilities. On the first, fifth, and ninth days, the babies’ cortisol levels doubled from their home levels. Five months later, the levels, though no longer doubled, were still significantly elevated. And these effects appear to be long lasting, he says: “When cortisol is measured at age 15, the longer a child was in daycare when small, the higher its levels. As high cortisol has been shown many times to be a correlate of all manner of problems, this is bad news.”

...which appears at the end of this blog post at

It's #16 in a series called "Month of Thinking Dangerously." This one is called Parents Don't Matter, and has a pro and con (quoting studies and articles). Oliver James was quoted in the rebuttal section, why parents DO matter.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Deciding to Home-School

I've never seen a more beautiful description of a decision to homeschool a young boy as this, by Chandra Hoffman:

Why would someone decide to homeschool?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Long interview in Spanish

EDUCAR EN CASA – Homeschooling. Entrevistamos a la experta Laura Mascaró sobre todos los aspectos de esta opción educativa

Continuar leyendo en El Blog Alternativo:

Twenty-two pages of interview!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Unschoolers: an interview and a report

A Massachusetts article and video:

Beth, the mom in the video, sent me a note and said, "We recently were interviewed (for over an hour and a half!) and he squished it into 2.5 minutes....but I really think the overall story was very favorable to unschooling."

A quarterly summary by Shannon Burton, of learning activities sorted roughly by subject. (Most unschoolers don't take notes that way, nor need to, but Shan is in New York State and keeps a portfolio.)

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Reasons NOT to send kids to college

Seven Reasons Not to Send Your Kids to College
August 2, 2010

You can read the first six reasons, which have to do with finances (because it's a finance/investment article) at the link below, but here's the seventh item in the article:
7. Alternatives to spending $200,000 per kid so they can waste four years of their lives:
  • Give them $20,000 to start one to five businesses. Most businesses fail but that's ok. The education from the process lasts a lifetime and the network you build when you start a business will lead to many future jobs and possibilities.

  • Travel the world. That would be an education that pays many dividends and is much cheaper. Your kids can then go to college with a much more mature view of the world.

  • Work. They won't get the best jobs but they can make money, network, get a "hands-on" education, learn the value of money and go to college in their 20s when they can afford it—and make every dollar worth it. Plus your kids will have a more clear idea of what they want to do in the world.

  • Volunteer. Let them see a side of life that is harder and where they can add value. An education like that is invaluable.

  • Do nothing but read. Get the benefits of a college education without paying the $200,000. I'd be happy to support a child that wants to home school a college education.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Research Finds No Advantage In Learning To Read From Age Five

Research Finds No Advantage In Learning To Read From Age Five

Unschoolers knew this well. :-)

For those who only believe "scientific proof," though, here it is:

A University of Otago researcher has uncovered for the first time quantitative evidence that teaching children to read from age five is not likely to make that child any more successful at reading than a child who learns reading later, from age seven.

The ground-breaking Psychology PhD research, conducted by Dr Sebastian Suggate, has been placed on the University's "distinguished list" of doctoral theses for 2009. Dr Suggate has also been awarded a prestigious Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from the Humboldt Association in Germany to the University of Wuerzburg in Bavaria to further his studies into childhood education.

Starting in 2007, Dr Suggate conducted one international and two New Zealand studies, each one backing up the conclusions of the other; that there is no difference between the reading ability of early (from age five) and late (from age seven) readers by the time those children reach their last year at Primary School by age 11.

Comparing children from Rudolf Steiner schools, who usually start learning to read from age seven, and children in state-run schools, who start learning to read at five, he found that the later learners caught up and matched the reading abilities of their earlier-reading counterparts by the time they were 11, or by Year 7.

read the rest:

Sunday, July 25, 2010

"I Have Completed This Period of Indoctrination"

(the beginning of the article "When I leave educational institutionalism, will I be successful or forever lost?"
Sunday, July 25, 2010 - Helping to Homeschool by Amie Beal):

Among the congratulatory plaudits and cliches passed out at the annual commencement ceremonies, one valedictory speech was delivered this spring with a refreshing twist.

"I have successfully shown that I was the best slave. I did what I was told to the extreme. While others sat in class and doodled to later become great artists, I sat in class to take notes and become a great test-taker. While others would come to class without their homework done because they were reading about an interest of theirs, I never missed an assignment. ... So, I wonder, why did I even want this position? Sure, I earned it, but what will come of it?"
Enter one Erica Goldson, valedictorian of Coxsackie-Athens High School, class of 2010.

"I Have Completed This Period of Indoctrination"

You may have come across the text of Goldson's speech - it's been making the rounds on the internet.

Forsaking the typical "first day of the rest of our lives" quotations and Dr. Seuss, Goldson chose instead to fire a clear shot across the bow of public education, a deliberately incendiary projectile from a departing star member of the ranks.

More of the article at the Washington Times site:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

HSC Conference SOON!!

Online Registration Deadline Extended through July 18th!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Spanish TV coverage of homeschooling

From July 4, 2010, on laSexta TV network, in Spain. It was on TV Sunday night, and is on the web, too.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Knoxville TN online article

Alternative form of homeschooling offers little structure, free-spirited learning
By Jessica Boyd
Posted June 29, 2010 at midnight

Part of the interview is with a school-at-home family, and it's not very long, but it happened and I'm announcing it!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Times of India (Marathi supplement)

Hema Bharadwaj, from Pune, in India, has sent a note and link to an article (in Marathi) new this week:

A few of us from our Pune Homeschoolers group were interviewed recently. The journalist Karuna did a good spread about Homeschooling and Unschooling. She interviewed me for over 2 hours and has written candidly and clearly. I was nervous about being misrepresented and quoted out of context... as has happened in the past (a few months ago). But Urmila assured me that this journalist came across differently. And after reading the article i can see that she was right.

Its for a Marathi supplement paper that is part of the Times of India Group. I will get a translation from a friend within a few days and post that link back here.

. . . .

Then you click "next" at the end of the article twice to get to the 3rd page.... where our individual interviews are.

the original link no longer worked; these should:

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Zoë Bentley wins 2nd place in NASA competition

"Thirteen-year-old unschooler, Zoë Bentley, has won the $1,000 second place prize in the NASA No Boundaries National Competition, in competition with high school students."

Unschooler won 2nd place in NASA No Boundaries national competition

Zoë's website, Exogeology ROCKS!

The contest described:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Unschoolers in the News (again)

Very brief article in the Health Section of the Washington Post online. As it might not always be available, I'll quote it here. If it's still at the link above when you read this, that has live links to several mentioned lists and sites.
How do unschoolers learn what to eat?

A segment aired on Good Morning America last week raised a buzz over "unschooling," the practice of keeping your kids out of school and allowing them to live an unstructured life without offering any formal academics -- or really much guidance at all.

The idea is that kids freed from the fetters of formal schooling (or even traditional home schooling) can explore the world on their own terms, learning what they need, when they need it.

That philosophy applies to all aspects of the unschooled life -- including what kids eat.
Of course, parents buy the groceries. But according to the unschooled way, kids are allowed to make their own food choices about what and when to eat.

Proponents argue that kids left to follow their own compasses are likely to make (mostly) sound food choices and, better yet, they won't be saddled with the weight of the food- and diet-related anxiety that plagues so many of us.

Sandra Dodd, a New Mexico mom who runs a Web site and blog devoted to unschooling, maintains a page on her site featuring anecdotes from unschooling parents about their kids' eating habits. Not surprisingly, most of the tales are of kids' making good choices.

I'm not eager to leap into the fray over the merits of unschooling in general. But it has me thinking about whether following our natural instincts would lead us all, kids and grownups alike, toward a more healthful diet. Or do we really need to be told what to eat?

It's a compelling question, especially as we await delivery of the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans. That document, the product of myriad meetings, discussions and hearings, will be full of information about how we should manage our diets, and Americans will be urged to follow its advice. Of course, the guidelines are one of the weapons in the battle against the food industry's incessant advertising and other efforts to convince people to eat their products, whether they're good for us or not.

But before 1980, when the first Dietary Guidelines were issued, we somehow muddled through without them. And, as I blogged last week, it's increasingly confusing to sort through all the food-related advice that's floating around the world these days. I find myself wondering whether there exists a purely instinctive, natural approach to eating that I've completely lost touch with? If so, it sure would be great to connect with it.

Maybe those unschoolers are onto something, after all.

The Good Morning America article to which they referred was a video shown Monday, April 19 with a follow-up live interview Tuesday, April 20. Ronnie Maier made a collection of links to those her favorites of the subsequent writings on her blog here:
(And in case Ronnie's blog disappears, here are those links; notes are Ronnie Maier's:)

The original Good Morning America piece
The follow-up interview with the Bieglers this morning

Unschooler responses to the GMA content and to the subsequent huge wave of negative comments about unschooling:

Good Morning America: Don't You Love Your Children?
Jeff addressing the "they're lazy" theme.

Unschooling on GMA
Child's Play point-by-point rundown on the original piece.

Unschooling Stephanopoulos: Good Morning America Fail
Heather explaining what unschooling is rather than what it isn't.

Unschooling: How Good Morning America Got It All Wrong
Filmmaker Lee Stranahan cuts through the hyperbole.

Inspired by the Good Morning America piece
Ren talks about her priorities.

Unschooling Gets Publicity...In a BIG Way
Idzie on what all this publicity might mean.

23 Facts About Unschooling
Brianna lays it all out.

Good Morning America - Featuring Unedited Unschoolers
Humans Being commentary on how the second piece today may have been too little too late, plus general commentary on the short attention span of your average American TV viewer.

The Uproar Over Unschooling
Tara theorizes about why people are freaking the hell out.

My Thoughts on the Recent Unschooling Hub Bub
Amy writes about why quickie descriptions of unschooling don't cut it, and more.

Tori's response to the comments on the GMA feature
Grown unschooler Tori shares her opinions.

And my personal favorite ;-) ...
A Modest Proposal (a la Swift but not as draconian)
Frank suggests better use of the word "unparenting."
Bad Press
Holly talks about why unschoolers should speak out.

Wild Week
Sandra shares some quotes from the continuing flow of ooze and joy the GMA piece has spawned.

So Today I Hear I'm a Neglectful Parent
Kelly advises gentle discourse and keeping things in perspective.

Unschooling and Unjournalism
Media analyst and homeschooling dad Peter J. Orvetti critiques the original GMA piece

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Online Chats in French, and in English
Password/le mot de passe: goodidea

Upcoming chats:

en français

Discussions en ligne en français sur le thème du unschooling
les lundi de 9h à 10h heure du Québéc (15h à 16h heure de France)
et les mercredi de midi à 13h (18h à 19h heure de France)
Beatrice Mantovani

In English:

Monday 3:00-5:00 p.m. Mountain Daylight time
Friday 10:00-noon Mountain Daylight time

Sunday, April 18, 2010

New Book in Spanish

Educación y libertad

Una defensa del homeschooling como máxima expresión de la libertad educativa

By Laura Mascaró Rotger

Product Details

Copyright Standard Copyright License
Published April 16, 2010
Pages 176

Binding Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink Black & white
Dimensions (inches) 5.0 wide × 8.0 tall

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

U.K. proposals dropped; good news

Balls Bill shrunk in the wash-up

Government forced to drop home ed registration system from CSF Bill #WeLoveHomeEd #csfbill

Statement on the Children, Schools and Families Bill

East Tennessee Unschooled Summer Camp

Note from Laura Bowman, April 7, 2010 at 7:15am
Subject: still space!!

We still have spaces left for camp!!! we hit our "must have" mark but would love to have even more campers!!

Join us for our very first year of camp

August 8-14, 2010

Buffalo Mountain Camp location

what is ETUSC?

ETUSC is a 6 night summer camp for approximately 80 unschoolers ages 13-18. There will be many activities, camper run workshops, jam sessions, bonfires, swimming, kayaking, counselor mentoring, dancing every night, and much more.

At camp we want to stay true to the unschooling philosophy that learning takes place everywhere, all the time...especially when you're having fun! But above all, we want to encourage and be an example of a lifestyle built on the idea that our children are to be respected and trusted.

ETUSC is a non-denominational, non-religious camp. We strive to honor each person's religious beliefs or lack thereof. We welcome campers of all races, ethnic backgrounds, genders, religious beliefs, sexual orientations, economic backgrounds, political affiliations, and physical capabilities.

It is our hope that our campers will learn more about themselves, make lifelong friendships, and discover new interests...all while having an amazing time in a beautiful setting.

This being our first year, we have a lot of learning and growing to do together. There will be bugs to work out as we go but hopefully not too many big ones!!

Join our Yahoo Group here:

Monday, March 01, 2010

Dragonfly Kaizen

Ronnie Maier, the mom of unschooled teens, has a directory of her unschooling blog posts, grouped by topic.

Well worth exploring, and there are trails and paths to other people's ideas, photos, writings in and among those.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Two positive studies of homeschooled adults

HOME-SCHOOLING: Socialization not a problem

This article cites a study in the U.S. (funded by HSLDA) and a longitudinal study in Canada.

An excerpt:
The results are a great encouragement to all home-schooling families and to parents thinking about home-schooling. Home-schoolers, typically identified as being high academic achievers, also can make the grade in society.

Both "Homeschooling Grows Up" and "Fifteen Years Later" amply demonstrate home-school graduates are active, involved, productive citizens. Home-school families are leading the way in Canadian and American education, and this new study clearly demonstrates home-school parents are on the right path.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The father of a six year old changes his mind

Waterpark, Educational Development and A Wake-up Call

It was snowing just about everywhere this week. I know because I watched the weather channel a bit and I could see the snow pile up outside of our hotel. Yes, we had the the good fortune of being snowed in at Kalahari, "America's Largest Indoor Waterpark." We had planned the trip almost six months ago and my focus was to enjoy a week with my bride and best buddy playing in the water. I had no real intention of participating in the "Unschooling" conference that was the reason we got such a good deal on our vacation. I figured that I would interact with a few parents and watch the parade of what I what I assumed would be socially challenged people from afar, but my focus was on my family and fun in the water. Needless to say, the experience was much different than I expected.

I found a group of people who were passionate about their children, who put family first (far beyond their career) and made the time to help their children follow their interests in creative ways. They were not the mere spectators that many parents have become, as they completely outsource educational development to the school system and athletic development to volunteer coaches. I arrived this week halfway thinking this would be the tipping point that convinced Marianne and me to put our son back in school (he attended public school for kindergarten, but he has been spending his first grade year at home), and things did tip, but in the other direction.

Read the rest here:

(and before you comfort yourself with the idea that he's some kind o' hippie, he's a Naval officer; just saying'...)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

April 1-4, Ugena, Toledo

FIHOO Festival Internacional de Homeschoolers

First International Festival of Homeschoolers


os invitamos a participar en el FIHOO:

Fechas: del 1 al 4 de abril de 2010

Lugar: "La Chopera", Ugena, Toledo.

Tarifas distintas según se vaya en cama de albergue, tienda de campaña o casa rural.

En la página web del Fihoo podéis pinchar en la sección de Festival y ver los distintos precios según edades y necesidades.

Si queréis participar con alguna actividad concreta en el festival indicadlo en y si los niños preparan alguna actuación o demostración para el show infantil del sábado también.

Para inscripciones:



Supportive Spouses, and The Mahogany Way

There's a new blog carnival (a collection of links to posts on the same topic) called "Parenting with Support". It appears on the blog, owned by Darcel Harmon, who also has created a ning network, very nicely furnished already, although it's fairly new:

The Mahogany Way
A Place for Mothers of Color to discuss Natural Living

Though Darcel is an unschooler and her blog reflects that, and there are unschoolers on the ning, there will be other parenting philosophies there too.

There's a page of videos, with baby wrapping instructions and other great things: and that's accessible without joining the site.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Sleep, TV and obesity (probably not what you think)

Abi Fuller sent this:

I found this article from last week's Guardian Family section interesting regarding the tv-watching-equals-obesity myth. You may have seen it but if not here's a link:

The descriptions in the article about the effect of lack of sleep on children also fit with the differences in energy / enthusiasm I
have observed recently between my son (5 1/2 - who goes to sleep when tired & gets up when he wakes up) and his peers who began school last August. They all seem so tired and their mums have tales of having to peel them out of bed in the morning.

Before any jump to what's in that article (an excerpt from Nurtureshock), I want to say that energy and enthusiasm also have to do with happy anticipation, and not just the number of hours slept. If there's something wonderful going to happen, people can wake up energetic and enthusiastic for it. I don't think there are enough hours in the year for a teenager who is beat down by school, and tired of school, to wake up with energy and enthusiasm for another schoolday.

The article is about lack of sleep contributing to obesity, rather than TV. It's interesting. It's supportive of what unschoolers do. It is NOT supportive of anything it suggests will help, really. The "fixes" mentioned in the article reminded me of a story I can't find now. I thought it was AEsop, but it might be someone else.

A farmer had a garden, and the birds kept getting in. He watched, to see how to keep them out. He noticed that when they entered the garden, they barely skimmed the top of the garden wall. So he added one more row of bricks to the wall to keep them out.

What will help is not starting school half an hour later, or an hour later, or trying to make teenagers go to bed an hour early. Making school really useful and exciting might work, but that's not going to happen.

What helps with all the things mentioned in the article is letting children and teens sleep until they wake up naturally.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Northeast Unschooling Conference

August 26-29, 2010
Wakefield MA

Note received from Jean Dorsey:

Help spread the word...

The NEUC site is up and running at

Kathryn has already outdone herself... lining up Peter Gray as a speaker for 2010!!!

Head over and take a look at what is already planned, and check back often for updated info.

Early bird registration has begun, so sign up soon for a great price.
Can't wait to see you all there!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The value of fun

Julie Daniel sent this. It's about an experiment on how many people would use stairs instead of an adjacent elevator if the stairs were made more fun.