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When Can I Start Unschooling?

By Leo Babauta

I've had a number of parents of young kids (toddlers and preschool-aged) ask what age they should start unschooling -- when is too early? And some parents of older kids (middle school, high school) are also wondering if it's too late to start unschooling.

I'll do my best to answer those two questions in this post.

First -- what age is too early? When can you start, if you have a young child? The simple answer is that you're already doing it. You're unschooling.

Say what? Let me explain: unschooling isn't a specific method of learning. It's basically just living your life, exploring and playing and doing whatever you normally do -- outside of the artificial learning environment we call the classroom. Everyone does it, from adults to toddlers to yes, even kids who go to school. We all unschool.

What is Unschooling?

On Indigo Girls Gone Wild

By Leo Babauta

Unschooling is a version, a subset, of homeschooling -- schooling at home. I also think it's the best version of homeschooling (or learning in general), because it prepares you for life, for being an entrepreneur, for learning anything, for being autonomous.

What makes unschooling different from other homeschooling methods? Often when people homeschool, they just do school at home -- do a curriculum with math, science, reading, history, etc. at home, often with similar teaching methods and books.

But that doesn't take advantage of the freedom of homeschooling! We can do whatever we want, because there are no rules, no one to tell us we're doing it wrong, which means we can get creative as hell.

So unschooling throws all the rules of school out the door:

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