Google+ Authentic Parenting: Unschooling Without a Library

Monday, October 31, 2011

Unschooling Without a Library

When we first adopted the idea of unschooling for our family, one of my greatest fears was that we live in places without a library. How would we be able to help our children closely follow their interests without access to cheap reading material on very diverse topics. For me - an obsessive reader - books are the easiest way to gain access to the topics you want more info about, at least if you’re looking for thorough documentation.

Image: Heza on Flickr
A couple of years into our unschooling adventure, I have discovered that we’ll manage, even without a library.
The idea that all knowledge comes from books is probably just a remains of being schooled for 20 years myself. The reality is that there are so many sources of knowledge available: the internet is probably the vastest one we have access to, but people and nature itself aren’t to be underestimated either.

Now that doesn’t mean that we’ll be unschooling without books, not in any way. As myself, my daughter is a big fan of books, and she already - at age three - has an extensive and diverse collection. She has lots of storybooks and picture books, but also child-directed info/doc-type books, and she can be found fidgeting one or more every day. Like me, she can’t travel without having at least one book with her.

It’s just that I - personally - have come to see that even without permanent access to a library, we’ll get unschooling to work. If my child will ever need a specific book, we’ll make sure she’ll get access to it. If the time comes that she gets interested in a certain topic, w’ll get online subscriptions to magazines about the topic, we’ll try to find people who are knowledgeable about the topic, we might even get a library card to go while we are on holiday.
The options are vast and with a bit of willpower, I think you can make unschooling work in any kind of situation, wether you have access to a library, or the internet, or television, or not.



  1. Thanks for this vote of confidence. We're unschooling our 2 youngest (the youngest of whom isn't even born yet!) and plan to travel full time. It is good to hear someone else say it can be done without ready access to library materials.

  2. I am now convinced that with the right attitude and energy, it can be done anywhere anyhow! There are enriching learning experiences everywhere, they're just different depending on your situation. Just yesterday we had to slaughter a cow for food, which means that now, my daughter can recognize and localize all internal organs, she knows what it takes to process meat etc... She wouldn't get that from a library.
    I'm curious to your traveling plans, since that's something we envision doing one day too...

  3. This is good to hear your experience because I worry that we do not have enough resources where we live - no decent book stores and we've never even been to the library (my kids are only 2 & 3 and while my 3yo daughter would LOVE it, the thought of taking my 2yo boy into a quiet library is not something I want to do yet!) But I do have concerns that we live in a place without museums, theatre, cinema or anything really geared towards children...I'd love to hear more on your experiences.


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