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How do I know if unschooling is right for my child?

Michele Borba
Psychology
Not every child learns the same way, and not every child thrives in public school (private, charter, homeschool or unschool). The key is to identify how your child learns best, and then provide the type of education that comes closest to the ideal match for your child.

Here are characteristics of kids who usually do better in an unschooled environment. Please keep in mind what we all know: every child is different (thank heaven!).
  • Self-directed. Is my child a self-starter and inner-motivated? Does my child have a strong work ethic? If your child is “praise-aholic” (and always needs rewards and external recognition), needs to be jump started or pushed to work by you, unschooling may not be the right choice.
  • Curious with identified talents and interests. Does my child have an identified talent or strong interests? Is my child precocious, creative or original? Unschooling can be ideal to draw out talent or creativity in a child. Not every child is a Bill Gates, Steven Jobs (or Thomas Edison or Margaret Mead, who were unschooled). Be honest about your child’s learning strengths and weaknesses.
  • Learns best without boundaries. Does my child learn best where structure and boundaries are unclear? Some kids need structure, a clear agenda and specific time lines. Is this my child?
  • Solid parent-child relationship. Does my child have the type of relationship with me to pull off? Is your relationship solid enough to pull this off so you will still enjoy being with your child at the end of each day? (If so, more power to you! Seriously. Hats off!)
The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.