“Gifted Unschooling” with Guest, Amy Harrington

gtchat April 17 Amy Harrington


Amy Harrington, Esq. is a SENG board member and SENG Model Parent Group facilitator, homeschooling advocate, and an eclectic unschooler of two profoundly gifted children. She is an attorney, writer, and blogger (Gifted Unschooling) who is passionate about the future of self-directed education. She is the Founder and Managing Director of Atypical Minds, which provides coaching and guidance to gifted families in their quest for alternative education and school accommodations.

Most people are familiar with homeschooling, but the idea of ‘unschooling’ remains a mystery to most. As Amy explained, “Unschooling is a philosophy that entrusts children to find their own passions. It is child-led, passion-led, and interest-led learning. Unschooling generally rejects a traditional schooling mindset and the tools that go along with it – curriculum. The child is in the driver’s seat of their own education. Children are autonomous learners SUPPORTED by parents.”

The discussion then turned to ‘deschooling”. According to Amy, “deschooling is letting go of a traditional schooling mindset and learning to trust the process of getting to unschooling philosophy. It let’s everyone relax, detox and figure out what they are interested in learning. We shed our old mindset and embrace freedom.”

What is the role of a mentor in unschooling? Mona Chicks explained, “Mentors play a huge role, as they help the child learn about the real stuff in their chosen field.  They provide outside input, too.” Amy told us that “Not everyone has mentors while unschooling but my kid has enjoyed working with many professors and entrepreneurs.”

When it was suggested that a compromise or blended learning scenario could be used to ensure comparable results such as regular education and outside-of-school enrichment, most unschoolers disagreed. They believed that for profoundly gifted students and prodigies, school was actually detrimental. Many referred to a ‘healing’ process that their children went through after withdrawing from a traditional school environment.

A transcript of this chat may be found on our Storify Page.


Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our new Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com


A Daily Guide to Radically Unschooling Outliers

6 Ways Unschooling Can Inform Practice for Innovative Educators

Free to Learn: Why Unleashing Instinct to Play Will Make Children Happier, More Self-Reliant (Amazon)

How Do Unschoolers Cope with College & 21 Questions on Learning without School & Living Joyfully

We Don’t Need No Education

Unshackled & Unschooled: Free-Range Learning Movement Grows

How to Opt Out of School: Guide for Teens for Self-Directed Education

Freedom of Unschooling: Raising Liberated Black Children Without Restrictions of School

Raising a Profoundly Gifted Child

How do Unschoolers Turn Out?

Unschooling: What is It & How One Family Does It

Home Grown: Adventures in Parenting Off the Beaten Path, Unschooling, & Reconnecting (Amazon)

“Unschooled” Kids Do Just Fine in College

Unschooling Allowing Students A New Approach At Education (Video 2:55)

Deschooling: Shift Your Mind

Why I Choose to Unschool My Gifted Children

Hacking Your Education: Ditch the Lectures, Save Tens of Thousands, and Learn More Than Your Peers Ever Will (Amazon)

John Holt Growing Without Schooling FAQs

Unleashing Genius: Self-Directed Learning

EXPERT: 85% Of College Students Are Wasting Their Time And Money

Rethinking Education: Self-Directed Learning Fits the Digital Age

Blake Boles Website

TED Talk with Ken Robinson: How Schools Kill Creativity

TED Talk with Sugata Mitra: The Child-Driven Education

Maximalist Manifesto: Creating a Prepared Environment

Posted on April 21, 2015, in gifted, gifted and talented, Homeschooling, parenting, Unschooling and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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