School Choice & Charters

VIDEO: An ‘Unschooling’ Family Trusts Children to Guide Their Own Learning

By Arianna Prothero — January 24, 2019 1 min read
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“Unschooling” is a style of home schooling that puts students in charge of their education. Rather than adhering to a specific curriculum, unschoolers believe learning happens naturally and should be driven by a student’s interests, life experiences, and the natural world around them.

Although this educational philosophy may sound like a new outcropping of today’s expanding school choice movement, it actually dates back decades.

The Matica family of Worthington, Mass., belongs to the most recent generation of unschoolers. Father Daniel Matica, who was born in Romania and educated in its rigid school system, was a skeptic at first. His wife, Erin Matica, embraced the unschooling ethos and has supported all five of her children as they’ve mostly pursued their specific interests in learning.

“I feel like almost everything I do in the day, I am always learning something from it,” said the Hannah Matica, 13, and the youngest of the Matica children. “I feel like people are always learning even if that’s playing video games or going for a walk, you’re getting something out of everything you do.”

Hannah and her 16-year-old brother, Sam, are still “in school.” Of the three oldest Matica siblings, one has already graduated from college and two are currently attending colleges.

Education Week profiled the Maticas as the final part in its special video series, Home Schooling In America: Why Families Teach at Home.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Charters & Choice blog.