Our learning mantra.


It makes sense that our one important mantra comes from one important man…the man that led us down our unschooling journey. Benjamin Franklin.

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

When Naturalist and I read this quote almost 2 1/2 years ago, we both were stressed to the max. She, from an ill suited and one size fits all educational mold that left her defeated and withdrawn. Me, from taking on the overwhelming job of ‘educating’ her without knowing how. As both of us read this, a lightbulb went off and we collectively relaxed. She realized that maybe she wasn’t stupid or lazy for not getting ‘it’ at school. I realized that my first step as a homeschooler wasn’t to find the things to tell her or teach her, but was to most importantly of all simply INVOLVE her.

After a year of pushing through a curriculum, the change that’s happened in the 2 years since this eureka moment has been huge! Not a lot of battles, tears, frustrations, or shutting down moments. By involving her in the process she has not only taught me how she learns, but has also taught herself. In the life of a twice exceptional learner, that is a huge obstacle that she’s overcome. And it’s a kind of empowerment that I see her bringing into all aspects of her life.

And so, this is our big requirement for anything that we do in our unschooling life. We love to find classes to take, courses to sign up for, and even curriculum to learn…but only if involvement is the primary method.

The only way I can possibly describe the difference in our homeschooling lives is that now, instead of my kids being as stiff and inflexible as a wooden board, they are like little sponges, soaking up whatever they can. Their involvement in the learning process has created a drive for them to be involved in every aspect of the world around them. It’s a dynamic that was sorely missing from their standardized world of public school.

4 Responses

  1. I shudder at the thought of doing “school at home”. Required stuff, “it’s time for this…” stuff. Doesn’t sound very joyful for this house.
    Some people will probably read that and think “She (me) doesn’t teach her kids anything!!” (and it’s true that I try to keep my bossy nose out of it.)
    But it’s such a joy and so wonderful to see the magic happen – to see them learn joyfully and with delight – to uncover and discover, explore and explode, living and loving their lives and their processes.
    It’s a wondrous thing, this unschooling business.

  2. Can my daughter come to chool at your house? I don’t think our experience would be the same with only one kid…

  3. Loving the fun quote again! 🙂 And the analogy of sponges vs. boards. 😀

  4. We never really got to the school-at-home stuff, never got past “deschooling” before we found unschooling. But the fighting, tears, frustrations, etc we had plenty of in private school. Looking back I still can’t believe how different our thoughts were on education, how different we thought Zeb was, how much we conformed and went along with what the teachers said.

    Then upon reading about unschooling (Thank Gd for John Holt) so many lightbulbs went off and now I just wonder how I had sat in the dark for so many years. For goodness sake, I unschooled in high school! But I just didn’t see how it would work for younger kids until I realized how everything else wasn’t working.

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