What Is It Like to Be Unschooled? Interview With An Unschooled Teen

On 6/11/12 my unschooled teen son, Brycen R. R. Couture answered questions sent to him by a reporter who was interested in learning more about unschooling. Here are Brycen's responses:

What do you like about being unschooled?

BRRC: What I love about unschooling is the ability to be free and wild. To choose what I want to do when I want to do it. If I want to play music, which is my passion, then I can play music at any time. I am free in every way a person can be free, mind, body and spirit. In public school they shackle your body with their routines, they shackle your mind with their curriculum, and they shackle your spirit with their rules. If they find it difficult to shackle you, they resort to psychiatric drugs. I also continue to grow close to my family and friends because I have the freedom and time to spend with them.

What does a typical unschooling day look like for you?

BRRC: There is no typical day for an unschooler, because everyday is based on what we want to do that day. My family is extremely spontaneous, aside from all of the regular groups, band practices, activities and events in the community that I have chosen to put into my schedule. Every day is different. For example, one day may consist of the following: Chainmaille crafting, rollerblade-basketball with Mom, band practice, putting up the letters on the marquis at a historical theater we are helping to restore, running my Dungeons and Dragons group, leather crafting and making plans for future days. One day the whole day might revolve around hiking a mountain with a friend or two and studying nature, followed by a dip in the local lake.

What do you plan to do when you're done with schooling? Go to college? Start a business, etc.?

BRRC: There's no such thing as finishing with unschooling. I also want to clarify that I haven't been "schooling" all of this time, I've been living my life and I plan to continue doing that. As far as starting a business, I already started two- I started my first when I was 12, and the most recent, selling my chainmaille crafts, I started last year. I am also a performing musician, public speaker and child advocate. I've known I wanted to be a singer ever since I was five years old and unschooling has made it so I could pursue that dream, and that is what I will continue to do. I'm not interested in college because it would not meet my needs or help me meet my goals at this point in my life.

What would you like readers to know about unschooling... Any myth you'd like to bust?

BRRC: I want readers to understand that unschooling is not merely a style of "education"- It is the most natural way of learning and it is the optimal way to give children joy in everything they do. I want parent readers to understand that you do not have to "teach" your children. We have been "taught" that learning must be taught, that learning just can't happen as a result of living. Whereas, unschooling allows children to reap learning as a result of living our lives. Children need to be given the freedom to play because that is where real learning actually manifests.

Anything else you'd like to add?

BRRC: I do not consider video games to be playing. Video games shut my brain down as opposed to lighting it up. Playing- dramatic play, building, exploring, inventing and having fun outside all engaged huge portions of my brain and is how I naturally learned most everything I know now.