What is the difference between natural learning and unschooling?
by Beverley Paine, Mar 2015
Just to clarify things, I personally think natural learning and unschooling are two different things. Most people use the terms natural learning and unschooling interchangeably. I'm cool with that. It's just that I don't.
Natural learning is something we all do. Learning is natural for human beings. We live, we breathe, we learn. Until we die. Sometimes we're not aware of what we're learning and the role it plays in our lives. Sometimes we are. I find that the more aware of what I'm learning (and why) the more efficient learning becomes.
Unschooling for me is the deliberate choice to not send my children to school, forcing them to learn in a particular way or with particular resources for any particular reason that doesn't make sense to them. Unschoolers offer their children freedom and choice about when, how, what and why to learn the stuff that kids in schools are supposedly offered in the curriculum.
I am a natural learner that chooses unschooling. My daughter was, for a time, a natural learner that chose to go to school. She wasn't there because she had to be: she was there because she wanted to be there. She learned what she wanted and needed, not specifically what they assumed they were teaching her. I don't think I could logically call her an unschooler while she was attending school though. I think anyone can use any label they want to describe what they are doing - and interpret those labels the way they want. I am happy using the terms homeschool, unschool, life learner, natural learner. I'm happy using labels. They don't define who I am, they are simply tools I use to give a shorthand abbreviated definition of a concept.
Was this article helpful? Was it worth $1.00 to you?
Your gift of $1 or more helps to keep this site operating
and reassurance to families
better outcomes for their children.
Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.
Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active support of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
"You've been an inspiration to me, I love the way
you really listen to people." Vanessa
"Whenever I read your writing I always come away
with increased confidence in my ability to provide and
share a wonderful learning journey with my family!" Davina
"Your guidance, understanding, support and words of
wisdom changed our lives. We now offer support and
organise many homeschooling events for others." Lesley
"Thank you once again for your prompt and friendly service.
I am convinced that your books are going to add
quality and peace of mind to my journey of teaching my kids
at home! Just from studying your website, until almost
in the morning, I 've been encouraged!" Louisa
"Thank you for all your many,many reassuring words
over many, many years. You probably don't know exactly how
valuable you are to the Australian Home Education community.
I've been reading your stuff for maybe 8 years or more now.
And I'm very grateful." Gythaa
I am currently giving this site a much needed facelift!
If you experience difficultiess accessing any page can you
please email me the link? Thank you.
Welcome to the
World of Home Education and
Learning without School!
We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine
The information on this website is of
a general nature only and is not intended
as personal or professional advice.
This site merges and incorporates 'Homeschool Australia' and 'Unschool Australia'.
Advertise with The Educating Parent
||DIY Getting Started with Home Schooling Pack
Beverley Paine's best selling comprehensive common sense manual detailing how to write your own curriculum tailored to your children's educational needs
PLUS 9 of Beverley's popular practical home educating series booklets!
Great value $60
and Unschooling Pack
Each Pack contains a copy of the following:
Natural Learning Answers
A5 or A4
Learning Naturally Diary
Learning Maths Naturally
A Sample Approved Natural Learning Program and Review
Only $29 or $33
Home education is a legal alternative
to school education in Australia.
State and Territory governments are responsible
for regulating home education and have different
requirements, however home educating families
are able to develop curriculum and learning programs
to suit the individual needs of their children.
Without revenue from advertising
by educational suppliers and Google Ads
we could not continue to provide information
to home educators. Please support us by letting
our advertisers know that you found them on
The Educating Parent. Thanks!