Free Range Children


“Which brings us to the inevitable issue of what will become of my boys. Of course, I cannot answer in full, because their childhoods are still unfolding.

But not infrequently I field questions from parents who seem skeptical that my sons will be exposed to particular fields of study or potential career paths. The assumption seems to be that by educating our children at home and letting them pursue their own interests, we are limiting their choices and perhaps even depriving them. The only honest answer is, Of course we are. But then, that’s true of every choice a parent makes: no matter what we choose for our children, we are by default not choosing something else.

I can report that Fin and Rye both learned to read and write with essentially zero instruction, albeit when they were about eight years old, a year or so later than is expected. They can add and subtract and multiply and divide. I can report that they do indeed have friends, some who attend school and some who don’t, and their social skills are on par with their peers. In fact, Penny and I often hear from other adults that our sons seem better socialized than like-aged schoolchildren. Fin and Rye participate in a weekly gathering of homeschooled and unschooled kids, and Fin attends a weekly wilderness-skills program. In truth, few of their peers are as smitten with bushcraft as they are, and sometimes they wish for more friends who share their love of the wild. But even this is OK; the world is a place of wondrous diversity, and they must learn that theirs is not the only way.”

–Ben Hewitt, “Unschooling: The Case for Setting Your Kids into the Wild” on Outside

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