|What's your greatest passion? Do you
live it, or are there any obstacles you have yet to overcome?
I have many interests - computers and technology, graphic art,
exploring nature, I'm a movie buff... I don't really have a
"great passion." I see life as more of an adventure than a
pre-set path to one particular goal.
What does the term "unschooling" mean to you? (I know
there are some people out there who would consider themselves
unschoolers who aren't half as "radical" as we are, hence
It means rejecting everything the school system tells us about
learning. Not creating a classroom at home. Not using grades,
assignments, or tests. It means answering questions, making
information available. It means trusting children to learn, and
throwing out the absurd notion that we have to force them to learn - a
notion that actually does more harm to the learning process than
anything. We've evolved to have an instinctual drive to learn what we
need to know to be a part of our society. No one is more curious than
a child before they go to school. They want to know everything - until
school convinces them that learning must not be fun - otherwise, why
would they have to be forced to do it?
Was it your decision to leave school at some point, or did you
unschool from the start (i.e. were your parents already weirdos)?
Oh yeah, they're weirdos... but in the best way! Seriously though,
I think they were just fortunate to read the right things, like John
Holt's books and Growing Without Schooling, and found support
from other families. I unschooled from the beginning.
Do you feel you are lacking anything compared to former school
Can you do math?
Math has always been one of my favorite topics. I have just about
every book by Martin Gardner - he presents serious math in a fun and
interesting way - often in the form of puzzles, games and experiments,
that really make you understand the underlying concepts. Another
similar, great book is Mathematics: A Human Endeavor by Harold
Jacobs. The tag line of that one is "A book for those who think
they don't like the subject." It's full of humor, and explains
everything in plain, friendly English.
Do you feel your life as a kid has been better than the lives of
the school kids you knew? If so, how?
I'm very grateful for the childhood I was able to have. My time has
been my own. Being in charge of my own life, what I learn about, how,
and when... I can't imagine it any other way.
Do you feel your life now is better than the lives of many former
school kids around you? If so, how?
It's difficult to know what's due to unschooling or not, since I've
never known any other way, but I feel like I still have that same
curiosity and wonder as when I was a child. I still love learning new
things, and always will. I feel like my attitudes and ideals are
completely self-developed, and I think I've been able to avoid, to
some extent, some of the silly things in our culture - materialism,
conformity, pre-defined notions of success (things that I think may be
largely created by, and propagated by, school). Maybe this is just who
I am, but I've always been allowed to be exactly who I am.
If you have or want to have children - are they/will they be
They would definitely be unschooled - no question. Of course they
would have a choice - but who would choose to go to school?
And here comes another classic: Do you feel that you and your
parents are too close so that it hinders you (or them) in your
On the contrary, it's been a source of strength. I've always had a
great relationship with my parents. We're friends, and equals. We live
together, work together, and have fun together. But we have our own
Are your parents key figures of the unschooling scene, and how did
that influence you?
My mother (Jan Hunt) has been writing about parenting and
unschooling... well, for as long as I can remember. The way it
influenced me was to make me want to do all I could to help - by
creating her website, editing articles and books - we recently
published a collection of unschooling stories and articles called The
Unschooling Unmanual - all of which I learned to do by doing it. I
just want to do whatever I can to help get the word out, so as many
children as possible can have what I had.
Is your world view very similar or rather different from your
parents' world views?
Our philosophy is pretty similar - in broad terms, valuing all
people, and believing we should all help each other. In terms of how
we think, I'm the most scientifically-minded one. I believe in logic,
skepticism, and reason. I think this way all the time, but it comes in
quite handy when fixing computers - I enjoy the detective-work element
of it; whatever's going on, there's a cause - it's a matter of theory,
experiment, trial and error. Just like how learning works.