Child-led learning

Child-led learning (Un-schooling)

Whoever said learning was supposed to be a boring, draining, degrading, passionless experience? Whoever said work was supposed to be boring, draining, degrading, passionless experience? The most successful entrepreneurs are not quiet in expressing their dissatisfaction of school, some barely ever went to school! They owe their success to their passion, curiosity, independence, stubbornness and tenacity. There is no text book on earth that can educate a person like real world experience. No amount of reading can explain how you'll feel at your first job interview, the pain you'll feel when giving birth to a child, or the enjoyment of buying your first house – you have to live it to understand. It is living that gives you the knowledge and emotional drive to continue to live and learn.

What conventional education fails to take advantage of is that learning is life, and as children pursue life, they automatically gain knowledge. They need adults to support them in the process of life, offering guidance and assistance. A 'teacher' or 'guide' is there to cultivate a love of learning, to provide students the freedom, confidence and guidance to follow their own curiosity. 

Any type of coerced learning – such as conventional education – inhibits our natural curiosity and desire to learn. Coerced learning has more to do with control than learning. Because our natural curiosity to learn is suffocated through the process of coerced learning, we conclude learning must be difficult and we must be externally motivated to do it.
The most significant notion conventional schools do teach, is how to snuff out your own curiosities, in order to  be accepted. We relinquish the essence of who we are, we bow to the implication our interests are silly, unproductive, pointless or bad, and finally accept the idea we need to be reprogrammed because we are faulty and don't fit in with society. 

It's true, we don't fit into conventional schools, because they remove our pride, independence and passion for life, and without it we are mindless drones. Life is everyone's right, and to succeed in it we need passion and confidence. Children don't need to be taught how to learn, the brain is born endlessly capable of learning. Children need to know they have the freedom and support to follow their passions with confidence. 

A 'one size fits all' approach to education is neglectful. Each person's learning preferences differ, and is prepared to learn a particular subject at differing ages. A person's present or future needs, interests, goals, and pre-existing knowledge on the subject also needs to be taken into consideration. If conventional schools were concerned with each individual child, they would provide each child with an individualized education focused on each child's strengths, desires and interests. But they don't. They can't. It would be too expensive. And this is when parents can step in to provide the freedom and guidance a child needs to lead their own interests, and ensure the essence of who they are, and their passion for life, is never snuffed out.

For more advice on how to encourage your child with self-led learning click here.

Unschooling Rules
by Clark Aldrich
Quotes About Unschooling / Life Learning
by Wendy Priesnitz
By Sara McGrath
The unschooling philosophy
By Joyfully Rejoycing

You Might Also Like


  1. A sheer symphony of reality and brilliant pen woman ship!!

    Brother Massive

  2. I don't really think it's fair to say that conventional education is a boring, draining, degrading, passionless experience entirely. And I've seen some families who unschool on TV and I wasn't impressed by their childrens progress. So I think something halfway inbetween the two methods would be ideal. I think some pre-schools have found some really creative ways to teach and I think it would be great if schools could follow their example.

  3. Ecomum,

    Thanks for your comment. I also think some schools are better than others - Montessori schools follow a very basic child-led concept, but again learning is still limited to the insides of a classroom, where all a child has to explore are books, toys, craft supplies, and not much else.

    'Homeschooling' is generally just the same school curriculum taught at home, with parents in place of teachers. It in no way resembles 'child-led learning'. For learning to take place in any circumstance a student has to want to do it. The most intense and productive learning takes place when a child is innately passionate and excited about what they're doing.

    Most kids don't get that excited about schoolwork, just ask them if they want more homework. More important than excitement however, is teaching a child the ability to pursue their own ideas and interests with vigor and confidence.

    And Brother Massive, thanks, much appreciated!

  4. Beautifully written. I really believe what you write. I felt so much of mr being lost through my school years. When I finished my schooling I had no idea who I was and what I was supposed to be. On paper I had lots of great grades. But I was a lost lamb in a big world.

  5. Sarah, I felt the same! Infact I'm yet to meet someone who knew who the hell they were after leaving school. Maintaining confidence, initiative and faith in ourselves is so integral in life! Forced schooling will either grind you down into an identity-less, compliant drone, or make you even more rebellious (I was rebellious and proud), or a bit of both.

    By the looks of your blog you have found yourself again - a beautiful mother and human being :)

  6. I work with New Year Publishing, a small company who has published three children's books written by a now 11 year old author about her experience with the birth of her twin sisters.

    "I'm Having Twins" and "My Twins are Coming Home" have been best sellers on Amazon and we just released "My Twins' First Birthday."

    You can learn more about this amazing young author, Paris Morris, and her books at

    We will be happy to send you an eco-friendly PDF review copy if you would like to review it.

    Thank you very much,

    Cristina Deptula

    Dave Morris
    New Year Publishing
    877-697-7323 (NYP-READ)