I’ve been thinking and reading a bit about homeschooling (also known as “unschooling”) lately and am feeling myself gradually coming round to embracing the idea more and more.

I think, like many parents, my number one fear is: What will I do with the kids around ALL day, every day?? How will I ever get any work done? So, it’s interesting that a consultation client of mine is also facing this same issue of homeschooling vs. normal school with his 12 year old daughter (details changed to protect identity, of course). He writes:

We hope to get her back to school (a much better one than before) in September. However, if she’s still not well enough, she won’t be able to go. To what extent her illness is all part of a way to avoid something she sees as unpleasant, is something we have to bear in mind. But it’s not easy to handle the thin line between encouragement to go back to school and letting her off because of her illness.

So this is what I wrote back:


Let’s turn this around and have you ask yourself: Does my daughter have to develop an incapacitating disease before I will listen to her and allow her to follow her path/wisdom?

Examine the reasons you are so keen on her attending school: Are you worried about her socialization? Financial reasons? Is it putting a burden on your time and reducing your income having her around the house? And then I suggest you have some honest discussions with her about your fears. And listen to her reasons why she doesn’t want to go to school. Then do some solid research into homeschooling, or as it is often called: unschooling.

You may be surprised and perhaps even liberated at what you discover. My brother had fellow students at both Oxford and Harvard who were homeschooled. I read an article once that highlighted how many of the ivy league schools in the States were headhunting homeschooled students – since their minds functioned better.

A friend of mine, Naomi Aldort PhD, unschooled all 3 of her children – the youngest is a concert cellist, the middle one in college and the eldest in University – however, their university is mostly a social event for them and doesn’t detract from their true ambitions which encompass things like filmmaking.

Instead of seeing your daughter as attempting to “get out of” going to school, if you can look at it from the angle of: What if my daughter is wiser than me? What if her whole gut and spirit is telling her something I can’t see yet? That may change your dialogue.


Well, something for all of us to think about…