Unschooling: Understanding the past, living the present, looking towards the future


Friday, June 21, 2019

7:30 PM to 9:00 PM

Friday, June 21, 7:30pm
In collaboration with the rooted us unconference.

To truly understand the unschooling movement, one must understand it’s past. The first part of this talk will focus on the entire history of the unschooling movement, including exploration of Rousseau, Neill, Illich, and Holt’s work, followed by a discussion of the evolution of homeschooling into different forms or philosophies, including the realm of unschooling.

The basic definition and core philosophy of unschooling will be then be overviewed, including demographics of the movement, why families choose unschooling, and how unschoolers learn without the subject based limitations of formal schooling/a set curriculum. Our focus will be on unschooling as completely self directed and intrinsically motivated learning.

We’ll also examine the question of “what happens when unschoolers grow up?” through the lens of research focused on unschooled adults’ feelings about their unschooling experience, as well as outcomes regarding higher education, careers, financial independence, and future plans.

This event will wrap up with a discussion about the future of unschooling. As the unschooling movement has grown over the past two decades, different branches of unschooling have evolved, including worldschooling, freeschooling, hackschooling and unschooling cooperatives. Will unschooling become a model for more traditional schools in the future? Will we see a push for more intrinsically motivated, self directed learning as part of a push for school reform? Will the more exploratory elements of an unschooling environment make it’s way into the public realm?

About the speaker: Gina Riley, Ph.D. is an educational psychologist and Clinical Professor/Program Coordinator of the Adolescent Special Education program at CUNY – Hunter College. She is a seasoned academic, with almost 20 years of teaching, research, and supervisory experience within the fields of special education, psychology, school psychology, and mental health counseling. For the past 18 years, Dr. Riley’s research has concentrated on topics relating to homeschooling, unschooling, and intrinsic motivation/self determination; an interest stemmed in part from unschooling her own child from birth – 12th grade. Recent peer reviewed articles have focused on young adult unschooling outcomes, homeschooling and intrinsic motivation, unschoolers who also identify as LGBTQ, and how unschoolers learn to read. Dr. Riley also has extensive experience in online education and distance learning at the college/university level.