Unschooling: Author shares tales of home-based learning

Jane Evans has written a book about homeschooling, or “unschooling”, which she says is growing in popularity.

DAVID UNWIN/Stuff

Jane Evans has written a book about homeschooling, or “unschooling”, which she says is growing in popularity.

An author hopes her new book will inspire parents to try homeschooling and encourage children to find what they’re interested in.

Jane Evans has just published a book called Natural Learning: The Unschooling Life. She raised her three children in Ashhurst with a type of homeschooling called unschooling, which she said was growing in popularity.

The book is about how the style works and how it looked in their lives. She ran a child-led curriculum and used play-based learning.

“My message is to inspire parents to free up their child’s childhood, enjoy it and have fun,” she said.

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“The basis of unschooling is trusting the parents and trusting the children to learn what they need to learn through play and by following their passion.”

Since the Covid-19 lockdowns she said there had been an increase in interest about homeschooling and people were seeing the value of family time.

Evans, now living in Eketāhuna, said children had huge potential, which was sometimes killed off in mainstream education.

“One of the big advantages is there’s no cap on them, they can just fly, they can go deep, they can go off on a tangent, they can go off for a long, long time.

“They’re not being dictated by somebody else to do what they’re doing … they’re born wanting to learn. They learn to walk because they live in a world of walkers. They learn to talk because they live in a world of talkers.”

The book is about how unschooling works and how it looked in the family’s life.

DAVID UNWIN/Stuff

The book is about how unschooling works and how it looked in the family’s life.

Her children are now 23, 21 and 18. Two of them are academic and the other has a business.

If they wanted to do something she would just tell them to do it and help them find the tools to do so.

They could learn as long as they wanted, but lived a rich life, tramping, travelling, socialising and getting outside, she said.

“I never ever made them do anything. It’s hard for people to grasp.”

They did the main subjects when they wanted. One of her sons spent most of his time studying science.

The book was self-published through Flutterby Books and now she wanted to get into publishing children’s books she had been working on for years.

A friend in Foxton, Duncan Hill, did the cover illustrations.

The book is for sale in stores, but people can contact her on Instagram @jane_evans_author or email booksbyflutterby@gmail.com and she can mail books within New Zealand.

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