Sandra Dodd

Whose term is this? Where did this “unschooling spectrum” come from?

I had been told several weeks ago that the term was out there, but I didn’t know it for sure.

Someone applying to be in the group (and I hope she WILL join) wrote "Although a complete surprise to me, we tend to be on the unschooling spectrum with our homeschool. Hoping to learn from those more experienced and wiser!”

I hope she will join and stop using that term. :-)

Unschooling is not, can not be something that just surprises a person.
It’s not something people tend toward.

When someone says “We were unschooling for years before we knew there was a name for it,” it can make them think they don’t need to deschool or that there’s really nothing TO unschooling, so they don’t try to learn what it actually is and how to do it well.

So for anyone who feels it just happened to them and that there’s a spectrum, as though it’s a disorder some people have more severely than others, please stop. As mazes go, that’s not the path to a win. All the effort to go down a blind alley should be spent headed toward peace and light.

So tell me… whose term is “unschooling spectrum”?

Below are some things on my site about unschooling in ways other than what is supported in this discussion, but first a link to reorts of people who once thought they understood it, and how it felt when they actually DID get it.

There is “just unschooling”—academic unschooling—which doesn’t work NEARLY the same way as full-on unschooling that involves the whole family learning, not just the family leaving the child to try to discover school subjects on his own during school hours.

There is “kind of unschooling” or partially unschooling. Their results won’t be good.

Quotes from that page:
Schuyler Waynforth: "Unschooling school is still about school and not really about life. It's not seeing how life is bigger and brighter and richer and shinier and more than school could ever hope to be and always about learning whatever tool it is you are using to explore it. “

Pam Sorooshian: "I have a friend who used Calvert Curriculum on her kids. She called herself an unschooler because she didn't make them do it EXACTLY as required by Calvert. She'd let them do two lessons on Monday and Wednesday, and they'd take Tuesday and Thursday off, for example. And they'd skip stuff that they didn't think was necessary.”

There’s more, there and here:

If people come here with rough or faulty ideas, I hope more experienced radical unschoolers will help them see how living with learning in all aspects of life creates something bigger, better and different than any partical-sorta-kinda unschooling. (new page)
which leads to


Joyce Fetteroll

*** So tell me… whose term is “unschooling spectrum”? ***

It’s old. (Relatively.) I see a reference back to 2007. It’s in the description of unschooling groups — spreading from one to another.

There’s a large group on Facebook started 2013 called Unschooling Spectrum.

In that context it means the spectrum between unschooling and radical unschooling. (I see a lot of familiar names on it.)

"Where on the unschooling spectrum are you? This group is for unschoolers and radical or whole-life unschoolers and everyone in between.”

A description of why the group was created

But at some point it became the thoroughly unhelpful “spectrum” between a little bit of child chosen learning to radical unschooling.

From 2016:

"while most unschoolers probably will agree with most of what I am saying, there are so many different styles of unschooling, some have called it the "unschooling spectrum". Some use unschooling concepts in their parenting as a whole and call themselves "radical unschoolers", some are not radical unschoolers but educate completely as unschoolers, and some people are unschooling inspired, doing a mix of regular homeschooling and unschooling.”


Sandra Dodd

Thanks, Joyce, for the report on the term “the unschooling spectrum.”

It’s not that new, but it’s not that old. :-)
The second link you brought about what unschooling is and isn’t had some good things but near the end it was too much about “education” and I didn’t like this:

Unschooling is...
Child Led Learning

So even the more conservative of the links is still not as good (in my opinion and experience) as the information here.

Thank you for allt he clarification, of something that is not clear or clarifying. :-)