• Home Education Funding Alberta

Unschooling vs. Homeschooling

Updated: Jan 13

Comments and emphasis done by Home Education Funding Alberta

Homeschooling is not the same as unschooling so please make sure you are aware of their differences.

What is Homeschooling?

Renown anthropologist Margaret Mead once said,

My grandmother wanted me to have an education, so she kept me out of school.”

Homeschool can take many forms, but essentially it’s built on the premise that parents accept total responsibility for their child’s education.

Religious families seeking faith-based education embraced homeschooling nearly 50 years ago, but homeschoolers today cite many motivations including stopping bullying, introducing less homework and more flexibility, allowing more sleep, tailoring teaching to their child’s interests and learning style, and addressing special needs — learning or attention difficulties, autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia, etc.

The term homeschooling is somewhat misleading, as many families that make this educational choice enroll their children in group learning classes and activities at local museums, libraries, and learning centers. They foster learning outside of the home and encourage their children to form social connections with peers on sports teams, in homeschool collectives, and elsewhere.

What is Unschooling?

Unschooling is often described as a type of homeschooling, however the approach to learning is notably different.

Unschooling is dictated by the child’s interests and is less structured than homeschooling.

Homeschoolers are guided by state and national standards — parents plan lessons, assign homework, and grade assignments. Unschooling is whatever the student wants it to be.

To some degree, both unconventional approaches to learning are driven by the individual child; unschooling takes this to the extreme.

Unschooling families look for opportunities to make learning opportunities out of everyday visits to the grocery store or the veterinarian or household tasks like replacing the smoke alarm batteries or the car air filter. Children are encouraged to pursue their interests — like dinosaurs or fashion or farming — with books, videos, hands-on activities, games, experiments, and even internships.

The trend to educate children at home began growing in the 1970s. John Holt, an educator, and author of several books including How Children Fail (1982), is considered the father of unschooling and the person who coined the term.


The following article was taken from the link provided below:



To recap, unschooling is only directed by the child and homeschooling is directed by the Educator which is primarily a parent.

Both forms of education have their own advantages and disadvantages but the most important thing to note here is that homeschooling teaches structured time management that is task-oriented and prioritizing with proper knowledge of adaptability which is VITAL for any child to grasp especially as they grow up and enter the workforce.

Unschooling on the other hand does not teach children how to prioritize or manage their time as they can do what they want when they want and this is unfortunately not a very adaptable mindset to have, especially when they grow up and enter the workforce. This will give them quite the reality check.

Nonetheless, homeschooling helps children to advance further than they ever could by teaching them crucial information that they would have missed out on learning if they were unschooling, or rather, directing themselves to learn.

Remember, Unschooling is considered a TYPE of Homeschooling- there are many other types of Homeschooling like, traditional, Charlotte Mason, Classical Education, Unit Studies, etc.

An example of Homeschooling... (parented)

An example of Unschooling... (unparented)

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