So can we stop treating teen activists as freaks to be ogled, and pitch in with their causes instead? Can we stop acting like teens are totally vapid and incapable of contributing anything useful to society, culture, and criticism? Because teens are all around us and they are driven, smart, passionate, and so much more—if only adults bothered to take a minute to actually see them, instead of focusing on what we think we know about them. While we were all teens once, we often seem to forget that in our hurry to smack down the next generation.
Sadly, children’s passion for thinking often ends when they encounter a world that seeks to educate them for conformity and obedience only.
bell hooks
Hello! I was wondering if unschoolers get a diploma? how could you get a job without one? And also did you learn everything a high schooler learned?


Unschooling isn’t a course you sign up for online, it’s a philosophy that many different people have adopted in their own life, so each person’s choices will be different. Some unschoolers sign up under an umbrella school such as Clonlara and get a diploma through that, some write the GED or regional equivalent, some take the SAT’s, some get into college or university through writing a test administered by the college or through portfolio, and some unschoolers just don’t get a diploma at all. I haven’t.

You don’t need a diploma to get a job. Most jobs in my experience (and the experience of friends) care more about your experience (volunteer and paid work) relevant to the job you’re applying for than they do about a diploma. A diploma really says nothing. I’ve cooked for years, and have both volunteered as a cook and been paid for my skills. People care about whether I can cook or not, not about a diploma which doesn’t really answer that question…

Did I learn everything a high schooler learned? Short answer? No. Longer answer? Why is it a good thing to learn the exact same things as someone in high school? Who decides what the absolutely essential things someone must learn in high school are, and are they really qualified to do so? What groups does the information deemed most important favour (hint: I’ll go out on a limb and say white people, men, straight people, neurotypical people)? Did I learn everything a highschooler would learn WHERE? Here in Quebec where I live? In BC? Massachusetts? Arizona? Geographic location makes a pretty big difference in what is taught in high school, so the question itself doesn’t even make much sense. There isn’t one body of knowledge that every high schooler everywhere learns, and even within the same school what teachers you have, and whether you’re in “gifted” programs or not, all make a difference in what an individual high schooler will learn.

With unschooling we’re not trying to recreate school at home in any way. Each unschooler is going to learn different things in different ways at different times, influenced by their interests, their location, their family, their community, and their personal goals. To me one of the beauties of unschooling is just the flexibility and uniqueness of each person’s learning journey. As far as I’m concerned, a healthy community is best made up of a variety of people with different bodies of knowledge, skills, and passions. I am absolutely for equal access to knowledge, but I don’t think schools as they exist do a good job of that at all, and I will never believe that what they’ve deemed most important to learn is most important for even most students at any given school, never mind everyone.