Principles of Unschooling
By Pam Sorooshian
Learning happens all the time. The brain never stops working
and it is not possible
to divide time up into "learning periods" versus "non-learning
periods." Everything that goes on around a person, everything they hear,
see, touch, smell, and taste, results in learning of some kind.
Learning does not require coercion. In fact, learning cannot really be forced
against someone's will. Coercion feels bad and creates resistance.
Learning feels good. It is satisfying and intrinsically rewarding. Irrelevant
rewards can have unintended side effects that do not support learning.
Learning stops when a person is confused. All learning must build on what is
Learning becomes difficult when a person is convinced that learning
Unfortunately, most teaching methods assume learning is difficult and that lesson
is the one that is really "taught" to the students.
Learning must be meaningful. When a person doesn't see the point, when they don't
know how the information relates or is useful in "the real world," then
the learning is superficial and temporary - not "real" learning.
Learning is often incidental. This means that we learn while engaged in activities
that we enjoy for their own sakes and the learning happens as a sort of "side
Learning is often a social activity, not something that happens in isolation
from others. We learn from other people who have the skills and knowledge we're
interested in and who let us learn from them in a variety of ways.
We don't have to be tested to find out what we've learned. The learning
will be demonstrated as we use new skills and talk knowledgeably about a topic.
Feelings and intellect are not in opposition and not even separate things. All
learning involves the emotions, as well as the intellect.
Learning requires a sense of safety. Fear blocks learning. Shame and embarrassment,
stress and anxiety—these block learning.
© Pam Sorooshian
This is lifted lovingly from Dan Vilter's site, so if one of our sites disappears, Pam's words won't.
Here's Dan's Homeschooling Resource Page.
How to Be a Good Unschooler by the same author,
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