Saturday, March 28, 2015

Who Would I Be if I Were Radically Unschooled?

In this project, I am going to examine and analyze what I would have been like if I had been radically unschooled.

Introduction: The Role of School in my Life: 

When I was four years old, I was forced into the mandatory school system, and I was not okay with that at all. I never wanted to go to school, and it is not okay that adults forced me into it. Even when I reached an age where it was in my control whether I wanted to continue school, it was never really my choice. I never wanted to go to college, but I was expected to go. I knew from a very young age that college came after high school, and it never felt negotiable.

When I was younger, I had a “school self” that was totally different from how I behaved in real life. I hated my school self – she was quiet, obeyed the rules, and let adults tell her what to do – but I at least managed to keep her separate from my real self. When I got to high school, my school self and home self started to merge together. For the most part, this was a positive transition because I was able to act more like my real self at school. I was with all new kids in high school and I had a lot more freedom than I did in K-8 school. I got really into activities at my high school, and theatre became my primary focus. I also developed more of an interest in going to events with friends outside of school. I found myself wanting to go out with friends on a Friday night instead of spending that time with my parents or doing something fun by myself. But something was lost in this transition because high school did not give me enough free, unstructured time to just do whatever I wanted. There was way too much homework, and too much of my day was filled with organized activities. I loved my activities, though – the things I really needed to eliminate from my schedule were my academic classes.

College was school on steroids for me. Merging school life with personal life was the absolute worst thing that I have ever done to myself.  My college itself was horrible, but I honestly do not think that any college would have been okay for someone who doesn’t like school. I am five years out of college and still suffering the damage that the experience did to me. Ever since college, I’ve found myself acting more like my school self and less like my home self in my everyday life. Those two personalities finally merged together in a way that made my school self a real part of who I am. 

I was a kid who should have been radically unschooled. No formal schooling, no bedtime, no rules, and no having my priorities disrespected because of my age. I should have just been free to run wild with all the unstructured time in the world.

I am not saying that schools are inherently bad. I’ve talked to a lot of people who love school, who like organization, routine, and structure, and who would be really bored with a lot of free unstructured time. I’ve talked to people who truly love working hard and would not feel fully satisfied or have a sense of purpose in life without being in school or having a job. I know that plenty of people would be much less happy if they did not go to school. The problem is not the fact that schools exist, but the fact that school is required and the fact that people like me who don’t belong at school are forced to go. The problem is that “good parents” not only force kids into school without consent, but also force them to do well at school. The problem is that children are said to be “doing well,” on the basis of getting good grades, when they may in fact be much happier getting all F’s at school and focusing on things that interest them. The problem is that without basic income, it’s impossible for most parents to unschool their kids even if they want to.  My parents had actually wanted to homeschool me but couldn’t afford it, and that’s not their fault. 

I have awesome parents who accept me unconditionally, were very involved in my life, and helped me to discover what truly interested me. When I expressed an interest in something, my parents helped me find ways to pursue those interests.  I was also financially privileged, so my parents could take me to fun places and pay for activities outside of school. In our current world, every single kid who hates school would not necessarily be in a better situation if they didn't have school.  For a lot of kids, school is the only opportunity to pursue things that interest them, even if school itself isn’t where they belong. For this reason, the “unschooling” condition in this study is not just a world where schooling is not legally required, but a world where everyone has basic income. Work is done by people who want to work, but having a job is optional, so any parent who wants to unschool their kids can do it. 

Although college is not part of mandatory schooling, I was expected to go to college whether I wanted to go or not. In this study, I am including college as part of my mandatory schooling because a radically unschooled kid would not be pushed to go to college if they didn’t want to go. 

About this Project:

My idea for this project began when I wanted a way to show everyone exactly what I would be like if I had been radically unschooled. I thought about personality tests. I have always loved personality tests, but I often have a hard time answering questions when I know that I would behave differently in different situations. I know that everyone does, but most of the time for me, the reason that I behaved the way I did in a situation had to do with whether or not the situation was consensual. For example, I was always very talkative at home, but I was very quiet at school because I did not want to be there. I always put tons of effort and energy into personal projects that I cared about, but practically no effort into the schoolwork that I was forced to do. My answer on almost every question comes down to, “Is this situation consensual?”  That never seemed fair. It never seemed like I should have to count how I behaved in situations that I did not choose to be in, but I felt weird ignoring those situations since they made up so much of my life. 

I was a sophomore in college the first time I took the Big Five Personality Test, and I noticed right away that my answers were completely influenced by the college environment that I despised. I knew that I would have had a higher interest in going to parties and spending time with my friends if I didn’t live in a dorm. I knew that I would have considered myself capable of getting a lot done back when I didn’t have a college workload. 

As an experiment, I decided to see how my personality would be different in an alternate universe in which I had been radically unschooled. To show this difference, I took a personality test under two different conditions: First I answered according to who I am and how I feel right now. Then I took the test a second time giving the answers that I think I would have given if I had been radically unschooled. 

The reason that I am able to guess at what I would be like in a different circumstance is because I did experience being radically unschooled, even if it was only a small portion of my life. I went to school, but I had a personal life outside of school which was mostly unstructured. I didn’t do many extra-curricular activities when I was younger, so most of my free time was actually free. There were also summer vacations, which were mostly unstructured days of doing whatever I wanted to do. Aside from having a bedtime, my summers were essentially radical unschooling. I know who I was over the summer and how I behaved. If I had to guess at what I would have been like in a situation that I had never experienced, like if I had grown up in a different country or during a different time period, I would be at a loss. But in the case of radical unschooling, I have experienced enough of it to guess what I would be like if that had been my entire life. This test is obviously biased because I wish I had been radically unschooled, but I did not purposely exaggerate my answers or imagine that everything about my life would be perfect if I had not gone to school. (You will see that many of my traits are the same or only slightly different across the two conditions). I know what I was like outside of school, and I used that to make the best guesses that I could make. 

About this Test: 

I chose the Big Five Personality Test because I know that my answers on this test are very much influenced by being forced to do things against my will (as opposed to my Myers Briggs type, INFP, which fits me perfectly both in and out of school). I do not think that the Big Five Personality Test is a very good test in general because the results are very judgmental, with a clear way that a person is supposed to come out. It defines introversion as the lack of extroversion, rather than a trait in and of itself. Lots of qualities are correlated together that should not be correlated, like morality and rule-following, or cheerfulness and being with people. I do not approve of tests that tell you what you should be or encourage unwanted self-improvement, but this was the best test I knew that would demonstrate what I am trying to show. 

All of these results are given in percentiles rather than raw data.  That means that if I’m in the 30th percentile on a particular trait, I have more of that trait than 30 percent of the other people taking the quiz. If I score in 30th percentile on a trait in my current condition and in the 60th percentile in the hypothetical, unschooling condition, that is not necessarily a 30-point difference. The actual difference in points could be higher or lower. I would prefer to use raw data, but I do not have access to it.

On most personality tests with 1-5 scales, I tend to choose a lot of 1’s and 5’s as opposed to the middle numbers. When estimating my answers in the unschooling condition, I had to use more of the 2-4 numbers since I am not 100% sure about how I would be. If I had actually been radically unschooled, my results would be different because I would have been sure of how I was and picked more 1’s and 5’s. 

Self-assessments always have the variable of how you see yourself, which may be different from how you actually behave. I am sure that in addition to being different if I had been unschooled, I would also view myself differently. I gave my answers in the unschooling condition based on how I think I would see myself if I had been unschooled. 

Although the test itself is judgmental, I do not want this project to involve telling anyone what to be. I personally am extremely emotional, introverted, and non-conscientious, and those are not things I intend to change. This project is purely to show what the real me would like if I had been radically unschooled.


So to recap what I’m doing here:
-I took the Big Five Personality Test twice. The IPIP-300 test on this site:
-In the “Current” condition, I gave my answers based on how I am right now.
-In the “Unschooling” condition, I answered based on how I think I would answer if I had been radically unschooled.
-I compared my answers on both versions of the test, with the “difference” being the change from the current to the unschooling condition.
-I will explain the reasons behind all the differences that are 10 points or greater.

(Significance behind the graph colors: The current condition colors are all basic colors that you would find in a box of 8 crayons – blue that’s just plain “blue,” not turquoise or sky blue or cerulean. The unschooling condition colors are fun variations of the current condition colors that you would only find in a crayon box with more colors. We were only allowed to bring boxes of 8 crayons to school).

Trait Current  Unschooling      Difference
Adventurousness 8 38 +30
Artistic Interests 47 90 +43
Emotionality 90 97 +7
Imagination 95 95 0
Intellect 4 81 +77
Liberalism 99 99 0


Trait Current Unschooling      Difference
Achievement-Striving 0 29 +29
Cautiousness 4 21 +17
Dutifulness 2 60 +58
Orderliness 2 7 +5
Self-Discipline 0 36 +36
Self-Efficacy 0 92 +92


Trait Current Unschooling      Difference
Activity Level 6 57 +51
Assertiveness 27 95 +68
Cheerfulness 54 89 +35
Excitement-Seeking 34 45 +11
Friendliness 35 59 +24
Gregariousness 4 11 +7


Trait Current Unschooling      Difference
Altruism 22 49 +27
Cooperation 11 1 -10
Modesty 2 1 -1
Morality 19 43 +24
Sympathy 86 94 +8
Trust 77 91 +14


Trait Current Unschooling      Difference
Anger 99 99 0
Anxiety 97 81 -16
Depression 78 17 -61
Immoderation 98 90 -8
Self-Consciousness 93 39 -54
Vulnerability 100 95 -5

Explanation of Differences

I will now explain the reasons for all of the traits that differ by 10 or more points in the unschooling condition, beginning with the lowest differences and ending with the highest.

Cooperation: Current: 11  Unschooling: 1 Difference: -10
This may seem like a negative difference, but the truth is, I really do not have much interest in cooperating, getting along, or working well with others. I like to work by myself, and I’m not interested in trying to compromise or figure out what will work best for a group. “Cooperative” was never something that I wanted to be. Outside of the classroom, I stayed uncooperative during most of grade school, but college definitely made me develop a sense of wanting to keep the peace and not cause conflict or do things that would make people uncomfortable. If I had never been to school, I would not have developed that tendency.

Excitement-Seeking: Current: 34  Unschooling: 45  Difference: +11
(I actually seek more excitement in my life than this test shows. The test defines excitement as going to big events with crowds and being around lots of people, which does not interest me. There were no questions in this section about things that actually excite me).

Based on what this section measures, my desire to do high-stimulation things probably increased because I would have no forced social interaction or stimulation this world. If I got invited to a huge party with lots of noise and people, and I wanted to go, I could decide that the party would be my one stimulating event for the day, or even for the next few days. I would not have to worry that I would have already had way more stimulation than I wanted at school or work that day.

Trust: Current: 77  Unschooling: 91  Difference: +14
I’ve always been very trusting, but in the unschooling world, I would have had fewer adults force me to do things, push their values on me, and claim that I would look back one day and think it was okay. I have a distrust of adults now that I wouldn’t have if they hadn’t proven themselves to be untrustworthy. 

Anxiety: Current: 97  Unschooling: 81  Difference: -16
A lot of anxiety came from school. Without school, I just wouldn’t have had very much stress in my life.

Cautiousness: Current: 4  Unschooling: 21  Difference: +17
I’m a bit surprised that I came out so low on cautiousness because I always feel like I’m more cautious than I want to be and don’t end up doing the things I want to do as a result. I think the test defined cautiousness as the opposite of reacting quickly and making rash decisions, which does fit me.

I think my cautiousness increased because in my radical unschooling life, I probably would not have as much interest in being reckless purely for the sake of being reckless, like I do now.  I was never very reckless when I actually had the freedom to do what I wanted, and I was always cautious when experimenting with dangerous things on my own.

Friendliness: Current: 35  Unschooling: 59  Difference: +24
I’m definitely not a people person, but I know that in this radical unschooling world, there would be no such thing as forced social interaction. If I wanted to play with other kids, I would. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t. If I signed up for any organized activities, they would take up a very small portion of my time. With control over when I interacted with people, I wouldn’t have as many times when I was unfriendly towards someone because I didn’t feel like talking to them – I would just not get together with them in the first place if I wasn’t feeling social. An element of the friendliness trait involved caring about people and taking an interest in their lives, which, again, would much higher if I chose to interact with people rather than having to be with them against my will.

I made a few close friends in K-8 school, but a lot of the kids I played with weren’t really my friends. I was stuck with them because we were part of a group of friends and had to sit with each other in the cafeteria in play together at recess. There weren’t enough cafeteria tables to just sit with one or two people. It wasn’t like outside of school where you can just invite the people over that you want to spend time with. Most of the fighting that some of my friends and I did in K-8 school was because we really didn’t get along and were really not meant to be friends, but we were stuck together because there was no place else to sit at lunch and no one else to play with at recess. I didn’t have the option of just walking away and not being friends.

It was much easier to make friends in high school because, in addition to there being lots more people to choose from, there was no forced interaction with individual people. If I wasn’t up for all the noise and stimulation of the cafeteria, I just could go the library and read a book and no one would even notice. We never had that basic freedom in K-8 school. Even if I wanted to eat lunch, my lunch table was a group of kids who didn’t fit into any of the other groups, and I could sit there and not talk to anyone and nobody cared. There was no pressure at that table to fit in or be social.

College was 7/24 forced social interaction, so I had no interest in being friendly towards anyone, even people I liked.

The truth is, I really haven’t stayed friends with anyone who I was forced to be with, even if we seemed to get along at the time. All of the close friends I have now are people who I never had forced social contact with, and I think it will always be that way.

Morality: Current: 19  Unschooling: 43  Difference: +24
There is an element of following the rules involved in morality on this test, which I answered no to in both conditions. I suppose that I don’t have as much of an aversion to doing good things in a world where I was never told that I had to be good, or that good things were my only option. In this world, I also would not have been pressured to join clubs or go to events about important issues, would not have been told what to care about, and would not have been made to feel guilty for being a hedonist and for caring more about things that affect me personally. I would have never been expected to be an activist when I didn’t want to be. The possibility of doing good things would have never made me feel guilty for doing the other things that I wanted to do with time, or for just not doing anything at all.

Altruism: Current: 22  Unschooling: 49  Difference: +27
The reason for this difference is partially the same as the explanation for morality. Also, prior to college, I thought that any good you did for people was good. There were no standards of how important anything had to be. College was all about setting standards for what was worth your time, pushing people to do more than they really wanted to do, and making everyone feel like nothing they do is good enough. If you go to one event that involves helping people, you’ll be pressured to go to more events and become a “regular” who goes to events all the time. It was never good enough to just do one thing, and I would always leave feeling much worse about myself and wishing that I had never gone, even if I was doing something good by going.

One time, a college club that I was in brought up the idea of donating 50% of the profits from our end-of-semester show to a group that supported arts programs for kids in the local community. I thought this was a great idea, but I was completely outvoted. Everyone else’s attitude was, “Who cares about that?” Someone even said, “They’re not dying children.” So apparently, even though we were a performing arts group, it wasn’t good enough to donate our profits so that other kids could get to do the things that we loved to do.  We did donate our profits in future years, but only to charities that our college already had a connection with – charities that the entire college community agreed were “good enough.” 

I’m really not interested in sticking to things that are “good enough,” or that someone else has determined are worthy of my time and energy. Back in high school, there was a constant threat of our theatre program being eliminated due to budget cuts. I made a promise to myself that if I ever had enough money someday, I would come back to my high school and set up a fund for the arts – a special fund that could only be used for the arts programs, no matter what else was needed in other areas of the school. When I went to college, I basically had this desire beaten out of me and was told that I needed to care about more important issues. Since college, I have lost most of my interest in doing anything good at all.

In the unschooling world, I would not have been pressured to do things I didn’t want to do and I would not have been told what to care about. In the unschooling world, I would have been encouraged to pursue what mattered the most to me, and whatever that was, it would have been plenty good enough. 

Achievement-Striving: Current: 0  Unschooling: 29  Difference: +29
I don’t have any interest in working hard at school or work, which is why I got zero in the current condition. While I’m definitely not into work ethic, I would have at least some desire to work at things if it only involved doing things that I actually wanted to do. 

Adventurousness: Current: 8  Unschooling: 38  Difference: +30 

1. When I have to choose between doing something that I already know I love and trying something new, I definitely prefer doing what I already love. In the unschooling condition, I would have tons of free, unstructured time to do things that interested me, so I would probably be more interested in trying new things since there would not be as much of a trade-off. 

2. The unschooling world would be a consent-conscious place where adults would not pressure me to get out of my comfort zone. I would not be pushed to try things that I did not want to try, or to continue doing things that I tried and did not like. I also would not have been pushed to keep all of my options open in situations where I am truly not open to every option. I would not have been expected to seize opportunities that I truly did not want to take. *If* I had wanted to go to college in this free-for-all world, I would have felt perfectly fine limiting myself to colleges that were very close to home and would not have been made to feel like I was doing something wrong by not being open to all the other schools in the world. I would have never pushed my distance range farther than I wanted to push it. 

As an unschooler, I would not have been pressured to be this adventurous person that I’m not. I would not have gone to college and been expected to study abroad for a semester and been weird for not wanting to do that. I would not have been weird for loving home and for going home every chance I could and never going anywhere else on school vacations. I would never have had every single one of my friends have profile pics of themselves climbing Mt. Everest and be the only person who’s ever just taken a picture at home on their webcam. 

There is absolutely nothing that would make me willing to go far from home and the things I already love. But my interest in doing new adventurous things would be much higher if I had my boundaries respected and had never been pushed to be more open to things that I just don’t want to do. 

3. I would not have been in a college environment where people claim that events are open to “everyone” when all they do is pressure you to do more and more. The concept of trying something once for fun but not joining a group that does it regularly was completely foreign at my college. Everyone was a “regular” at everything, and you were not welcome if you didn’t plan to become a regular. After leaving college, I have felt extremely turned off to trying new things because I don’t feel like I can safely choose to not do more of something after I’ve done it once. In the unschooling world, I’d feel free to take one tiny bite of something new just to try it. In the current condition, I’m pretty scared that I’ll be pushed to finish the whole thing and go back for more. 

Cheerfulness: Current: 54  Unschooling: 89  Difference: +35
First of all, I want to be clear that, while cheerfulness is classified as an extroversion trait, cheerfulness for me has nothing to do with behaving in an extroverted way. Cheerfulness was defined on this test as outwardly expressing positive emotions. I act however I feel, so the amount of cheerfulness I express simply reflects how happy I feel inside, which for me, does not have anything to do with being extroverted. I am only truly happy when I’m free to be my introverted self and not pushed to interact with people. My cheerfulness increased partially because I am much happier in the world where I was radically unschooled. 

My cheerfulness also increased because my outward expression of joy is much higher without college in the picture. My college had set standards of what people cared about and what was socially acceptable to be excited about. My classmates would openly criticize people for being psyched about just-for-fun events and not being interested in going to talks about important issues. As a result of living in this environment, I reduced my enthusiasm for things I used to be psyched about because I did not want to face more pressure to go to events that didn’t interest me. I decided to withdraw and just not care about anything at all, rather than be criticized for my priorities. The unschooling world would be all about focusing on what I truly care about, so I would have no reason to hold back expressing joy for the things that I love. 

Self-Discipline: Current: 0  Unschooling: 36  Difference: +36
I am not really interested in being self-disciplined, but in this unschooling world there would be some things that I’d be interested in doing. Self-discipline is defined on this test as getting to work quickly, staying focused, and avoiding distractions. While that’s not really me, the only time that I would behave that way would be if I were working on something that was entirely my choice. 

Artistic Interests: Current: 47  Unschooling: 90  Difference: +43
There are several reasons why my artistic interests increased in the unschooling condition: 

1. Unschoolers focus on what they want to focus on, so I would be more proficient in the arts that interest me if they had been my central focus for my entire life, without schoolwork getting in the way. The things I’m trying to get back into now, I might already be excelling at because of all the practice time I would have had, as well as uninterrupted time to daydream.  I know I managed to write a full-length musical in my head in second grade, but it would have been easier to concentrate if the teacher hadn’t been going on about math facts and spelling words in the background. 

2. A lot of the arts things that I enjoy on my own, I did not enjoy at school. Like reading for example. (Reading was classified as an artistic interest on this test).  I love to read, and I’ve always loved stories. But I never had any interest in reading assigned books for school. Even when we got to choose our own books for reports or reading log, I did not like anything that had to be done for school. When I look back on it, my favorite childhood books are the ones that my mom read to me even when I was old enough to read. I don’t have any positive memories of the books I had to struggle through on my own, finish on a deadline, and make sure I remembered what happened in the story so I could do a report, even when I chose the books myself. Because of school, I don’t feel like I can safely say that I like literature. I’ve honestly hated most of the reading that I’ve done in my lifetime. 

3. In addition to not liking anything in the schoolwork context, college put a lot of pressure on me to be well-rounded and to be interested in practically everything. It’s a funny thing – if you play two or three sports and someone asks if you like sports, you’ll probably say yes automatically, without even thinking about the hundreds of sports that you don’t play. You might even say yes if you only play one sport. College made me feel like I had to like everything. It was never okay to just like some kinds of books or some types of art – you had to like everything, and I’m just not an eclectic person who likes everything. I would much rather listen to the same song on repeat for hours than go exploring for other songs. 

4. Not only was I expected to be eclectic in college, but I was expected to be sophisticated and to know everything about everything that interested me. If I didn’t know those things, then I wasn’t “truly” passionate. I’m not really interested in learning everything there is to know about stuff. Heck, I’m not that interested in learning stuff in general. Just because I want to learn how to paint does not mean I want to take an art history class and study famous painters. Seriously, that just would not interest me at all, but in college, you would be expected to be interested in history and famous people and learning about stuff even if all you really wanted to do was do something. I did not like being embarrassed in front of everyone or getting “called out” for not knowing something that I was “supposed” to know. I never wanted to have anyone holding me to higher standards because of my interests. So I chose to become less enthusiastic about things that used to excite me and to not mention what I liked so that other people would not expect me to know anything.  Before college, I used to feel like I had this rich and fulfilled life full of all my interests and passions, but after college, I’ve started to feel more like I’m really not interested in anything. I don’t feel like what I do with my art and writing projects is good enough. The actual time I’m spending is probably the same or more than I did in high school and before that, but it just never feels good enough anymore. I don’t feel like I’m skilled enough at what I do to claim that these works are a big part of who I am anymore. And this is all the result of school. 

The 90th percentile is where I used to feel I was, on a gut level. The 47th percentile is me hiding in a corner with my notebook turned away from everyone so no one can come over and try to bond with me over some famous arts thing that I don’t understand. 

Activity Level: Current: 6  Unschooling: 57  Difference: +51

I like a lower activity level than most people do, and a much lower activity level than what I have had for most of my life, especially during college. My desired activity level would not change as a result of being radically unschooled. The reason my score increased so much is because of the change in my environment. 

Imagine you have a bucket that you can fill with pebbles, but you only like the bucket to be about halfway full. That’s the amount of activity and stimulation that you want in your life. Now, let’s imagine that someone dumps a ton of pebbles into your bucket that you don’t want, and those unwanted pebbles fill more than half of the bucket. Now, the only way for you to add the pebbles that you do like to your bucket is to exceed your desired activity level. Naturally, the number of other things you’d want to do would decrease because you just don’t want the bucket to be more than half full. 

School was always more organized activity than I wanted in my life, and work is the same way. When I think about how many other things I want to do, I have to take into account how much of my activity level is already being used up by things that I don’t want to be doing. The lower the activity level you desire, the higher percentage of that time and energy gets spent on school. 

In the unschooling condition, the bucket is empty from the start and I really can fill it up to my desired activity level. I answered much differently on the questions about liking to do a lot in my spare time because all of my time would be my own. 

Additionally, in the unschooling condition, I would have never been pressured to have this bucket overflowing with everything I can possibly do when I only want it halfway full. I would have never been in a college environment where everyone drinks caffeine and has tons of energy and expects everyone to fill up their time with every opportunity that comes their way. My definition of being busy is my college classmates’ definition of doing absolutely nothing. In the unschooling world, I would not have been pressured to be busy when I want most of my time free and unstructured, and I would feel more confident that I could add some activities to my life without getting pressured to do more than I want to do. 

Self-Consciousness: Current: 93  Unschooling: 39  Difference: -54
Self-consciousness was definitely something I learned at school. My confidence did not shine at all at school, but I kept school separate from my real life. Outside of school, I was extremely confident.  And I’m not just talking about when I was really young – I was like this as a teenager as well: I used to put on shows and sing songs that I made up to people I didn’t even know. I wrote poems for my dad’s family newsletter that went out to tons of distant relatives that I barely knew, and I never thought twice about it. I never reread a poem and questioned whether it was good enough for the newsletter. I would recite my poems, sing my songs, and explain the plots of the books I was planning to write in great detail to family members I had never met and my parents’ friends. When I was about 10, I sang a song that I wrote to my mom’s entire office, just because I thought it would be fun. When I was 14 and my grandma got remarried, I sang a karaoke song for her and her husband at the wedding reception. I hadn’t planned on it. I didn’t know that I would have the opportunity, I had no practice at all singing this particular song, and I didn’t know most of the people at the wedding. But I did it, and it was fun and made my grandma happy. When family and my parents’ friends asked me what I had been up to, I was normally bouncing off the walls with excitement as I told them about whatever I was passionate about at the time. A lot of times I was literally jumping up and down as I told them. Again, I did this when I was a teenager, not just when I was really young. Outside of school, I maintained childlike excitement and confidence in what I did.  I never did stuff like this in a school setting. After college, I became my reserved, subdued school-self all the time and I never behaved like this again.

I want to be clear that getting out there and being my true self does not always involve behaving in a more extroverted way like I described above. Being my true self also involves spending a lot of quiet time alone, turning down invitations to events with lots of people and stimulation when I’m not in the mood for that sort of thing, and sitting in the corner not talking to anyone when I don’t feel like being social. It’s just that outside of school, when I wanted to do the things I described above, I did them. When I didn’t engage with people, it was because I didn’t feel like it. I was never held back by self-consciousness.

Even though I was never confident in the school system like I was outside of it, there was a certain level of confidence that I maintained until college, even when I was in school. I was open and honest about things that I knew people would disapprove of and did not lie in order to fit in. If we were going around the room naming our favorite movies, I would give my real answer even if I knew that everyone would make fun of me for it. I always wanted to be honest and I didn’t really feel self-conscious – I felt like I was prepared to stand up for myself. As soon as I was in college, I realized I couldn’t be myself and started lying about practically everything. When we went around the room at orientation naming our favorite ice cream flavors, I found myself calculating what different flavors might reveal about me and getting really nervous about my answer, rather than simply deciding which flavor I liked the best. I would lie and say that I had too much homework to go to events that I didn’t want to go to so that people wouldn’t judge me – I quickly learned that “too much homework” was the only acceptable excuse on campus. 

Before college, I also felt completely comfortable acting the way I felt when I was upset, and I never tried to pretend that I was okay when I was not okay at all. I never worried about people judging me because I had every right to feel however I felt. The first time I got my heart broken – the summer after senior year of high school, age 18 – I went around telling everyone I knew that this person had broken my heart and that I felt incomplete inside without him, even though we weren’t even dating and I didn’t know him very well. I never once worried about what people would think of me for this, or worried that they would not take me seriously or would say that what happened was not a good enough reason for me to feel the way I felt or to be acting the way I was acting. That same summer, I got in an argument with my mom because I wanted to go see fireworks with my friends on the Fourth of July and she said I had to go to a family cookout instead. I wrote a very long online journal post titled, “AM I CURSED OR SOMETHING?????” where I yelled and screamed on and on about how upset I was. Little did I know that in just a few months, I wouldn’t have the courage to write something like that anymore because I’d be worried about everyone judging me. This was not so much a change in me as it was a change in my environment. I was surrounded by people who had standards of behavior that they expected me to uphold. While I’m not willing to live up to anyone’s standards, I’m also not interested in feeling bad about myself, so I’ve tried to avoid doing things that will lead to people hurting me, even it’s just by those awkward vibes people give me when I’ve said something taboo.  At college, almost everything I had to say was taboo and led to people giving me weird looks or awkwardly trying to be polite. 

I have made a lot of progress in the past year in terms of writing what I really want to write, but I still feel self-conscious on a level that I just never felt before going to college. 

Dutifulness: Current: 2  Unschooling: 60  Difference: +58
Dutifulness measures how much you uphold your obligations and keep promises. I don’t care about “obligations” in the current because they are usually things that I don’t want to do. I’m also not willing keep “promises” that I was forced to make, like promising my parents that I’ll do my homework after school. But in the unschooling world, I imagine that most of these “obligations” would be promises that I had made to people of my own free will, in which case, I would value keeping my commitments. 

Depression: Current: 78  Unschooling: 17  Difference: -61
College is the main source of me feeling depressed. Even with other bad things that have happened, I just never used to feel this bad before college. And I lived at school for 4 years, so I never even got to go home at the end of the day. Before college, I used to feel more like I could fight back hard, not like I was defeated already.  When I did feel somewhat depressed in middle school, it was caused by school. And I’m not only referring to the way other kids treated me. The workload itself was way too much and was a huge source of my feeling horrible. 

There are plenty of people who like to keep busy and distract themselves when they’re feeling bad. There are plenty of kids who would be happy for the bell to ring in the middle of a fight with their friend at recess because that would end the fight. Or maybe after a bad day at school, they’re happy knowing that they have soccer practice to look forward to. I’m not like that. I don’t want to distract myself with other things when I’m upset, and yet school has always forced me to do that. The fact that I couldn’t continue to argue with my friend because the bell rang and we had to sit in class actually made the problem worse for me, not better. Being forced to push forward and go to class when I needed to go home and talk about my feelings was horrible and was not okay. And even when I got home, I couldn’t run wild and have fun and feel better or sit and talk about my feelings for hours because I had homework.

College was school on steroids where there was literally no escape from being pushed forward and forced to do activities and socialize and do homework. There was no time to just sit and feel bad. And when I was out of college, the new cultural trend was to let go of the past and be happy all the time, so I never even had a chance to rest and feel bad and process what had happened to me. College was the original source of feeling depressed, and I know I will not feel better until I stopped being pushed to function. As an unschooler, not only would I have not had my college experience, but I would have taken all the time off from functioning that I needed to, when I needed to, which would probably be several weeks or months. 

Assertiveness: Current: 27  Unschooling: 95  Difference: +68
I was born assertive. Or maybe I learned to be assertive at home. But in any case, I only stopped being assertive when I went to school. I learned to be agreeable in school. I learned to go along with things I didn't want to do and act like it was okay. I learned to not speak my mind because I was scared. Going along with a structured regiment that you don't want is automatically an agreeable thing to do. 

Outside of school, I didn’t just go along with things that weren’t okay with me or that I didn’t want to do.  I stood up for myself with adults. I said what I really felt and didn’t act submissive just to avoid getting in trouble. At school, I let adults dictate what I did every minute of the day. At school, I let other kids push me around and never fought back because I was afraid of getting in trouble. At school, I literally got awards for being afraid of getting in trouble. 

Outside of school, I just wasn’t afraid to fight. I didn’t have an inherent sense that I should avoid saying that something bothered me in order to keep the peace or keep everyone comfortable. I was not afraid of confronting people, including adults. I didn’t have a problem with arguing. Arguing was just something that happened sometimes, and it wasn’t anything I actively tried to avoid. Until about the middle of high school, I did not lie or pretend to go along with things just to avoid an argument in my life outside of school. 

Even in school, I wasn’t afraid of conflict with my classmates. While I didn’t fight back as much I wanted to, I never backed down just to avoid conflict. If someone was making fun of me because I watched a TV show that they thought was for younger kids, the easiest out would have been to lie and say that I didn’t watch it. But I never took those easy outs because it was perfectly okay for me to watch whatever TV shows I liked and I would never back down about that. Avoiding conflict was not on my agenda. 

By mid-high school, I became less assertive with my peers because I had a stronger desire to fit in. After ten straight years of the same kids making fun of me, I was ready for a break, even if it meant not being honest all the time. I don’t think I would have become so much less assertive if I hadn’t been through those ten years of being teased. I stayed assertive outside of school. 

In college, I was cut down every time I said how I felt. I was told that my own experience was not real and was made to feel stupid almost every time I spoke. If I did create a conflict, everyone would react like I had done some really taboo thing and I’d feel embarrassed for a very long time afterwards. 

Now I’m always preoccupied with avoiding conflict. I try not to say that something is bothering me because I want to keep the peace and keep everyone feeling comfortable. I have no true desire to do this – it just feels instinctive, almost like a survival mechanism. I will very rarely share what I think with people who aren’t my inner circle because I’m assuming that everyone else is smarter than me and right about everything and I’ll end up being hurt very badly in the end.  I want to fight like I did when I was younger, I just don’t feel like I can anymore. 

I was born assertive. I never had any inherent desire to back down. I don’t think I would have lost that assertiveness if I hadn't been sent to school. 

Intellect: Current: 4  Unschooling: 81  Difference: +77
Intellect is not a measurement of intelligence – it’s a measurement of how much you enjoy intellectual conversations and pursuits. The questions in this section asked about if you enjoy thinking about things, pondering abstract ideas, having deep conversations with people, and if you are curious about the world around you. 

Outside of school, I loved to play and explore things. I recently told my friend about how I used to play with ants and worms see how they reacted to different things, and my friend said, “You were a little scientist!” I honestly never thought about it that way, but I guess I did love to do experiments and see what would happen. I used to pick plants apart to see what they looked like inside and I did all sorts of experiments with insects just to see how they’d react. 

I was interested in words as well. I always asked my parents when I didn’t know what a word meant because I was genuinely curious. I played word games with my parents constantly – not because they were pushing me, but because I honestly loved word games. 

I always loved to make up stories, poems, songs, and jokes. I was working on my first play when I was seven, and I did all of the work in my head. I would keep rehearsing scenes over and over in my mind until they started to feel solid, almost like I had written them down. This was not just mindless daydreaming for me – it was an active process. I was aware that I was writing the play without actually writing it down – I was purposely committing scenes and songs to memory the more I rehearsed them. I knew that the more time I spent in my own world, the more solid and clear that world became. 

My parents were very supportive of my interests. I started making up poems at a young age, before I knew how to write, and my parents offered to write down all of the poems that I made up. My parents did this even after I learned how to write. I hated the physical work of writing and I would have been content to just commit my poems to memory, but my parents wanted to keep the poems forever. My mom also kept reading to me long after I was able to read to myself. I hated the physical task of reading, but I loved stories, so I still loved it when my mom read to me. She understood that if she stopped reading to me and I was only able to experience books by reading them to myself, I would have stopped liking books altogether. But she didn’t stop, so I continued to love stories even though I hated actually reading.  And I continued to make up stories even though I hated actually writing. 

I always associated being smart with being good in school. Even before I was in school, I knew that school was a place that you went to learn and become smart. I was expected to be smart. All I’ve ever wanted to do in my life is have fun, and being smart was never fun. Being smart meant not only doing schoolwork, but caring about the stuff we learned in school. I was never curious about anything I learned in a classroom. I never wanted to learn more about any of it. I did not care about any of the work I did for school. Even when we wrote fictional stories and poems and things that I liked, I just didn’t like school, so I never put as much effort into these as I did into my personal stories and poems. Schoolwork meant absolutely nothing to me. There were a few occasions when I used a story I wrote for school as a spin-off for a story that I expanded on and wrote on my own, but I only cared about what I did with the story on my own, not what I handed in for class. And I absolutely, positively did not want to discuss school subjects outside of the classroom. I was not interested in learning. “Educational” meant the opposite of fun. 

My preschool teacher wrote on my report card that I needed to “work on” taking an interest in things around me, when there was literally nothing at the school that interested me. (Well, nothing that interested me while other people were around anyway. I always used to daydream about how much fun I could have in that school building if everyone else would just go away). Funnily enough, my preschool teachers also put a huge question mark in the “I have a functioning imagination” column on my report card because I didn’t feel like sharing my imaginary world with them. Sorry, my world is invitation only! 

When I got to high school, I finally found the anti-intellectual environment that I had longed for all my life. My K-8 school was “good school” academically speaking, and so was my college, and I hate both of those places. My high school was not known for being a good school or academically challenging or rigorous. High school was the complete opposite of academically rigorous, and that was exactly the life I wanted. I found a non-intellectual, too-cool-for-school gang of kids to hang around with, and I had the time of my life with them. We were hedonists and we rejected the establishment. I should not have been going to school anyway, but of the four schools I’ve been to, the only one that ever truly felt like home was the school that was the least intellectual. That was the place where I had the most freedom. 

Intellectualism still had a negative effect on me in high school. I wanted to be an actor at the time, and my parents didn’t want me to pursue that career. Their argument was always that I was so good at all the school subjects I didn’t like that I could do pretty much anything else I wanted to do. That was nice, but I didn’t want to pursue an academic career. I wanted to do something fun with my life. I entered college as a biology major when I had really wanted to major in theatre. Getting good grades in other school subjects was actually roadblock between me and the life that I wanted to pursue. 

In college, there was no escape from intellectualism. Literally all everyone talked about was school and politics and important issues, and people were studying constantly. And if this weren’t enough, people were constantly having meta-conversations about why we don’t have more intellectual conversations. I was constantly being told what to talk about with my own friends on my own personal time. The pressure to have intellectual conversations was constant. Let me say again that I have never cared about anything I’ve learned in the classroom and the last thing I would ever want to do with my life is talk about educational stuff in my personal time. 

I’ve always considered myself kind of ditsy.  I’m constantly daydreaming and always making silly mistakes and forgetting very basic things because I’m not paying attention. If I’m in love with someone, I will absolutely spend all of my class time doodling that person’s name in my notebook with lots of hearts. This is not something I want to change about myself. Outside of school, I felt like this trait could co-exist with being smart because my parents saw this all the time and still said that I was smart. But at college, being ditsy was really looked down upon.  I didn’t want the pressure of being smart – I’d much rather be doodling hearts than actually studying for an exam. 

For most of my life, education interfered with fun by taking away the time that I could have spent having fun. That was already bad, but college education went beyond that. In college, being smart meant having to analyze everything and actually reject things that I liked. Before college, I freely shared my interests with others, but in college, I was under pressure to pretend not to like mainstream pop music, popular TV shows, candy, sparkly nail polish, and planning my party outfits a week in advance. I was expected to be geeky and to be above all of the stuff that I actually love doing. 

Aside from the pressure to have intellectual conversations in college, there was also a lot of pressure to just be smart and understand lots of things. I stopped asking questions in college because people were constantly criticizing others for not knowing things. People acted like it was no big deal to get A’s in classes that were really hard, when I was ready to throw a party for getting an A. There were such high academic and intellectual standards that I felt completely stupid and worthless the whole time I was there. 

My number one priority is to feel good about myself. I will never, ever put myself in a position like that again. I have dedicated myself to actively avoiding intellectual environments at all costs. I have dedicated myself to not asking questions about things that interest me because I don’t want to be humiliated in front of people if my question was about something that other people thought I should already know. I am a true hedonist and I really just want to have fun. Becoming educated was never a goal for me, and frankly, I wish I could remove most of the knowledge I learned in school from my brain for good. I never wanted it there. 

In the current condition, I’m in the 4th percentile for intellect. The world of intellectualism is one that I want to stay far away from. But without school in the picture, if I think about all of things I actually did outside of school, I don’t think I would have to run away from being smart. “Smart” might have actually been a positive word for me, a word that helped me to achieve the things I wanted to achieve, rather than acting as a roadblock between me and the life I want to have. I have always associated the word “creative” with making up stories, decorating for theme parties, and just doing things that are fun. Without school, being smart probably would have been the same way. In the radical unschooling world, I would be interested and curious about things, and I would love to talk about ideas and think deeply about things. In the unschooling world, intelligence would be a tool that I could use for exactly what I wanted to do. But in the current condition, intellectual things have always stood between me and what I really wanted to do. In the current condition, I have felt absolutely horrible about myself because of other people imposing their intellectual standards on me. All I really want to do is feel good and have fun. In the current condition, I want to stay as far away from intellectualism as I possibly can. 

Self-Efficacy: Current: 0  Unschooling: 92  Difference: +92
Self-Efficacy is defined “the extent or strength of one's belief in one's own ability to complete tasks and reach goals.” This trait included questions about carrying out plans, plunging into tasks with your whole heart, and believing that you can achieve your goals. 

1. One of the reasons this trait increased in the unschooling condition is simply because I would be doing things that I wanted to be doing with my life. In the current condition, I have not carried out most of my plans because I would often make plans to study or do homework, and not follow through with those plans because I never wanted to do them in the first place. Additionally, the tasks that I do for school and work are not things that I would plunge my whole heart into. In the unschooling condition, I would only do tasks that I truly wanted to do, so I would usually follow through with my plans and put my whole heart into what I did.  This explanation is similar to that of the increases in achievement-striving and self-discipline, but those traits only increased by about 30 points. Self-efficacy went from zero to 92 because it’s not just about accomplishing goals, but about believing that you can do whatever you put your mind to. 

2. I used to feel extremely sure of myself. I felt like I could achieve anything, regardless of my current skill level. Back when I was planning to be a professional actor in high school, I overheard my theatre classmate – someone who was much better than me and had had much more theatre experience – talking to her friend about how the world of theatre is full of harsh criticism and that people who couldn’t handle that needed to get out. I remember thinking to myself, “Well, I definitely can’t handle harsh criticism, but I’m not getting out! This is what I want to do, and I’m doing it!” I had no doubt in my mind at all. I knew she was right that there was a lot of criticism in the acting profession, but I also knew that I was both a person who could not take harsh criticism and an actor who wasn’t planning to leave the profession. Telling people like me to get out of the profession was just plain rude.  I felt so solid back then.  I was perfectly confident saying, “No, your general statement is wrong because I am a real person and what you said does not match my experience.” 

When I was 12, I was in my first play, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I had such a great time in the play that I decided to write a memoir about my experience. I didn’t think twice about whether this would make a good memoir or whether anyone would be interested in reading about some random sixth-grader who had fun in a school play. I just sat down at the computer and started writing. I never finished the memoir, but while I was writing it, I felt completely confident that it would be awesome and that I could share my story with the world. I had no fear that anyone would say it wasn’t good enough or that my play was not an important enough event to write about. *I* loved the play enough to write a book about it, so that made the play a good enough topic to write a book about. This confidence in my writing, in knowing that what I had to say mattered because it mattered to me, stayed with me through the end of high school. 

As an artist, it’s natural to develop higher standards of quality. It makes sense that I would edit a piece more thoroughly now than I would have when I was 12, and that’s fine. The confidence I’m talking about is not about the writing quality – it’s about not being afraid to say what I have to say. It’s about expecting people to take me seriously rather than always worrying that everyone is just going to tell me to get over myself. My worries are not unfounded – I have lost most of my confidence because of the number of times I was cut down for expressing myself in college, and specifically for talking about the goals that I cared about.

Before college, if I wanted to write an essay about gummy worms, I would write a long, heartfelt essay about gummy worm, share it with everyone I knew, and let everyone know just how much effort and energy I put into the essay and how much the topic meant to me. During college and shortly after, I could never do that. My mind would just start thinking that I could do it, that I had no right to write about gummy worms. I didn’t know enough about them. I hadn’t eaten as many gummy worms as everyone around me. There were more important things in the world to write about. I’ve gotten much better than I was right out of college, but I’m still nowhere near the confident way that I used to jump into projects like this before college. In the unschooling condition, I would not have lost this confidence.

3. Before I went to college, I just did not feel stupid and worthless because I was not surrounded by expectations that I would achieve way more than I even wanted to achieve. Before college, I was able to celebrate things that *I* considered successes, not have those things big considered no big deal because everyone else is doing so much more. I am not competitive. I only care about what I'm doing, without relation to what anyone else is doing. But college was extremely competitive and I could never just feel good about myself and feel proud of what I was doing without striving to be so much better.

There's a saying, "Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid." In college, I was expected to climb trees, and no matter what I've done since then, I just haven't forgotten was it was like to be the only one who couldn't do it.

4. In the unschooling world, I would have always been able to use the skills I had to achieve my personal goals. I never would have been forced to use skills that were mine to do what other people wanted me to do. 

If my child wanted to bite the heads off of gummy bears and stick them on the wall to make a cool pattern, I would assume that any qualities they exhibit while pursuing this goal, such as determination, persistence, attention to detail, etc., were specifically related to this one goal. I would not go around bragging that my child has so much determination that I couldn’t wait to see how well they would do in school. If my child did not express interest in anything other than gummy worms, would have no reason to believe they would want to apply these skills to other things. 

When I was in high school, our city constantly had threats of school budget cuts, which was a serious threat to the arts in particular. I was always scared that the only things I cared about doing would be eliminated from school. I started petitions and fought back as much as I could. But one thing that upset me a lot was that the main argument everyone used in favor of keeping arts in schools was that arts would help us to perform better at our academic subjects. Arts would teach us skills that could be transferred to the “important” subjects that adults wanted us to succeed in. Even when we were fighting to be able to do the things we loved, it was all about what adults wanted for us. I wanted to do theatre because I loved it, and that alone was enough. I never wanted the skills I developed doing things that I cared about to be transferred to success in things that I did not care about. This has been happening to me my entire life. It’s hard to succeed at something when you’re being pushed towards something else, when you’re forced to put other things ahead of what really matters to you. 

If I were an artist and someone offered me an amazing art kit with all sorts of specialty supplies that I couldn’t find anywhere else, but in order to get the art kit, I would have to spend the majority of my time creating the kind of art that the person offering the art kit wanted me to create, with very little time to make the kind of art that I wanted to do myself, I would turn down the offer. It wouldn’t matter how great the art supplies were. It wouldn’t matter if what the person wanted me to do was similar to what I wanted to do. This is just not a deal that I would accept. 

I’m not saying that this is an inherently bad deal. I know plenty of people who would love to take this offer. It would be a very nice offer…if it were an offer. But this deal was never “offered” to me. I never had the choice to say no. 

Most things have some sort of value. Sneakers have value. Someone could offer to sell you some very high-quality sneakers at a time when you could really use a pair. But would you pay $500 for a pair of sneakers? Would you pay $1,000? Isn’t there a point where you would decide that even though the sneakers are great quality, they’re just not worth the price? The opportunity cost of what I really wanted to do with all the time and energy I spent on school – both inside the classroom and out – was not something I was ever willing to spend. My high-quality education is essentially a pair of sneakers that cost me a million dollars. The sneakers aren’t even my favorite color. I wasn’t even in the market for shoes. 

I said at the beginning of this section that one of the reasons I cannot answer yes to questions about following through with plans and plunging into tasks with my whole heart is that so many of the tasks I had to do were school or work-related things that I didn’t want to do. But the fact is, if I were to take this test now, in my current state, but I only considered my behavior when doing things that I truly want to do, I still would not plunge into the things that I care about with my whole heart like I did prior to being in a 24/7 educational environment for 4 years. I honestly do not feel the same level of passion I used to feel about anything. Not many things interest me in the world anymore. A large portion of what’s out there has been forced on me, and I never want to go near it again. I’ve spent so much of my time and so many of my skills doing what I was told to do that my interest in using those skills for anything at all has faded.   

In the radical unschooling condition, I would be bursting with self-efficacy. I would be plunging into projects with my whole heart, and I’d believe that I would achieve what I set out to achieve. If I had been radically unschooled, I would have a passion for life. 


Again, I do not approve of judgmental personality tests that indicate that some people are better than others, so I do not want to say that my unschooling self is a better person than my current self just based on the test results. The reasons for the changes between the current condition and the unschooling condition are what show that I would be much better off if I had been radically unschooled. For example: an increase in "friendliness" is not necessarily a positive thing, because it could mean that someone is in a tense environment where have to act friendly all the time in order to maintain ingroup membership. The reason that my level of friendliness increased was a positive change in my life.

Some of these personality changes would actually make me feel better in a direct way, such as having lower self-consciousness. Others simply reflect the fact that I am doing better, such as self-discipline. While I don’t have a desire to become more self-disciplined, the fact that I am more self-disciplined in the unschooling condition shows that I have things I am very interested in working on in that condition that I do not have in my current condition. 

Overall, everything either stayed the same or changed in a way that made my life better in unschooling condition. There are no traits on which I would honestly say that I was better off as a result of having gone to mandatory school.

What's funny about this test is that throughout my life in the school system, adults were always pushing me to adopt their values and to have the personality traits that they wanted me to have, but in the unschooling condition, I am actually more like the person that the school system wanted me to be. If you ignore what I said about not telling people what they should be, if you look at the way a person is "supposed" to come out on this test, which is obviously high in openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, and agreeableness, and low in neuroticism, I am much more socially desirable in the unschooling condition. Aside from my small decrease in cooperation, all of the other traits either stayed the same or changed in the more socially desirable way. With the exception maybe of assertiveness, because that trait was discouraged in school, I actually have more of the qualities that the mandatory school system was trying to instill in me in the condition where I never went to school.

More importantly, I am the person that I want to be in the radical unschooling condition, and my life in that condition is so much better. Now when people try to tell me I'm wrong about the fact that I would have been better off not going to school, I have concrete evidence that I should have been radically unschooled. I will always be a radical unschooler at heart.

Please share this post in any way you can! Please especially share this with students who are unhappy in school and still have a chance to get out. I've listed some resources for them below.

If you also would have been better off without school in your life, I would love to hear from you in the comments!
If you found this post interesting, stay tuned for my supplementary post on this topic!


The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life Education by Grace Lleweellyn. If you are a student reading this post and thinking that school is not for you, this book will teach you how to quit school and live the life that you really want. This book teaches you how to unschool yourself if your parents cannot stay home with you. 

An excellent blog on radical unschooling, which will answer a lot of questions that you may have about how radical unschooling works:

Not an unschooling resource, but some of the things I wrote about college might have been confusing, since there is a common myth that everyone loves college and is free to be themself in that environment. For more information about my college, click here:

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