Tuesday, June 4, 2013

We are Hackschooling

The past few months I've been doing a lot of thinking, praying and reading about relaxed, unschoolish education ideas.  I have decided we really aren't unschoolers.  10 years ago I might have used that term and been comfortable with it, but not anymore. I find that it carries too much baggage from unschooling gurus and other philosophies that have been attached to the idea, which was once a purely educational philosophy.  Now it seems you can't call yourself an unschooler if you limit screen time, maintain parental authority, or use a text book at all. The unschool movement, once a movement in educational freedom, has become a movement rich in it's own dogmatic ideals, full of contradiction and judgment of those who do not agree.  The only unschool place where I have found that this does not happen is the Christian Unschooling Facebook Group.  This group has been very helpful to me!

I think the best name for what we are doing is Hackschooling or Hackademics.  What I mean by this is that we do what works.  We set goals based on interests and talents, not standards.  We use what best suites us to reach those goals.  Anything that works is good; books, classes, clubs, internships, even text books. We think less and less within the context of school subjects and think more and more in the terms of life goals and purpose.  This is a true education to me! Below is a talk given by a 13 year old young man that really explains it well. Enjoy it!


  1. I totally agree with using anything that works to attain goals but I'm having trouble with the whole force issue. If I force him to get off the computer, my child is unhappy. If the ultimate goal is happiness, how is limiting screen time going to attain that goal? I struggle with this concept because I see the creativity in him when he's off the computer, but that is rare without the limit being imposed.

  2. I am right there with my daughter too. She has gotten so addicted to Minecraft that she doesn't know what to do with herself if she's not on it. Is it a life skill to be able to be happy with the limits you have? I'm struggling here.

  3. Katie & Mel,
    I also understand how you struggle. I do as well with finding a balance. I think you both need to trust your Mama instincts. First analyze why the screen time bothers you. If you have really thought it through and come to the conclusion that your child's amount of screen time is not good for them then put limits on it and don't feel guilty. God had given us that "mommy sense" for a reason. Don't ignore it. Also, keep in mind that all good things can become detrimental - running, eating healthily, reading, etc... All of these things have the potential to become addictions in our lives. I would encourage you to thoroughly think through your discomfort with screen time. Prayfully consider what is in your child's best interest and then discuss your concerns with your child. Come up with a solution together.
    If my child was miserable unless doing a certain activity - whether it involved a screen or not it would concern me.
    And as far as happiness goes - I am concerned with life long fulfillment of your life's mission, not shallow momentary happiness. But to a 13 year old, they are probably one in the same.
    Here is my favorite article online I have read about screen time. Maybe it will help.