Piedmont Home Educators Association




John Holt, 20th-century American educator, concluded that children have an innate desire to learn and a curiosity that drives them to learn what they need to know when they need to know it. Holt believed that both the desire and curiosity are destroyed by the traditional methods of learning. Unschooling also refers to any less structured learning approach that allows children to pursue their own interests with parental support and guidance. Formal academics, if pursued at all, are pursued when “the need arises.” Children are apprenticed by adults who include them in what they are doing. In the process, the child learns everything the adult knows, and possibly a great deal more. Christians who favor less structured schooling, but with definite goals, prefer to be called “relaxed home educators.”


  • Takes little planning

  • Captures the child’s “teaching moments”

  • Children have access to the real world, plenty of time and space to figure things out on their own

  • Children are less likely to become academically frustrated

  • Creates self-learners with a love of learning


  • Doesn’t create a path for children to achieve professional careers

  • Very unstructured

  • May neglect studies that the child doesn’t want to study

  • Hard to assess the level of learning

  • Is extremely child-centered

  • Lacks the security of clearly laid-out curricula

  • Difficult to explain and prove to colleges, friends, and officials


  • Homeschooling for Excellence by David and Micki Colfax

  • The Relaxed Home School by Mary Hood

  • Teach Your Own by John Holt.

Please note: While this approach works well for younger students we feel that this method is inappropriate for the higher grade levels as it fails to prepare young adults for college and adult life.