Noncoercive Learning for Unschoolers

I recently put the finishing touches on a new lecture in my Unschooling for Entrepreneurs course.

Students asked for ideas to help counter the mindset that a child should “read well” by a certain age. Inspired by my fellow believer in school-free living, Bethanie Garcia, coupled with the requests from my online course, I gathered my own memories and research to create a short, written account of some ways to engage a child in reading without force, and with observation–not influence–as one of the main goals.

I address noncoercive, exploration-based options that respect a child’s process.

And more than that, these options also create space for that child to learn how to embrace learning, challenge herself, and nurture her own interests with confidence and clarity.

Though I am immersed in unschooling with my daughters and husband every day, it hasn’t been until recently that I’ve talked about aspects of unschooling on a daily basis. Having been on American daytime television under the premise of “new age parenting” was certainly the impetus for these regular dialogue.

Shout out the producers of The Steve Harvey Show for having the good sense to include alternative learning methods as part of their parenting discussions.

One of the aspects of child-led learning (a common synonym for unschooling) is of course, literacy.

Many adults feel that children cannot learn how to read or spell if they are not coerced to do those things. That is a fear, not a truth, though fears can often feel very true.

To address this fear, particularly since I understand it so well, I’m sharing some ideas that worked well for my daughters, and based on feedback, for many other parents as well.

These ideas worked well with my daughters during their toddler years, and a bit further on. Some of these ideas won’t work for your child, and some might even seem silly; others might work beautifully. There is no formula in unschooling, just process, presence, trust, and respect. 

Preview the unschooling course to try out the ideas that resonate most with you.