Navigating the Shift to Unschooling: Real Expectations for Real Progress

Ever set too high expectations and then felt defeated when exploring new education paths? Lowering your expectations isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes, it’s downright necessary.

When venturing into unschooling or exploring new educational paths, I had grand visions of seamless transitions and immediate breakthroughs. But oh, how wrong I was. The adjustment for both parents and children was far more complex than I anticipated.

Understanding the Challenges

Transitioning to alternative education, especially unschooling, comes with its fair share of challenges and mistakes. Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Adjustment Period:
    • Underestimating the adjustment period is common. Both parents and children need time to adapt to new routines and learning styles.
    • Patience is essential. It’s important to remember that change doesn’t happen overnight.
  2. Community Support:
    • Having a supportive community can make a significant difference. Connecting with other parents and educators who have experience in unschooling can provide valuable insights and encouragement.
    • Online forums, local meetups, and educational groups can be great resources.
  3. Flexibility and Patience:
    • Clinging too rigidly to old notions of education can hinder progress. Embracing flexibility allows for a more organic learning process.
    • Celebrating smaller victories and trusting the process can lead to genuine progress.

Practical Tips for a Smooth Transition

  1. Set Realistic Goals:
    • Start with small, achievable goals and gradually build up. This helps in maintaining motivation and tracking progress.
    • Avoid comparing your journey to others. Each child is unique and will learn at their own pace.
  2. Incorporate Interests:
    • Tailor the learning experience to your child’s interests. This makes learning more engaging and enjoyable.
    • Explore different subjects and activities to find what excites your child the most.
  3. Utilize Resources:
    • Take advantage of books, online courses, and educational tools designed for alternative learning methods.
    • Don’t hesitate to seek guidance from experienced unschooling communities. They can offer practical advice and support.
  4. Embrace Mistakes:
    • Mistakes are part of the learning process. Use them as opportunities to learn and grow.
    • Encourage a growth mindset in your child, focusing on effort and improvement rather than perfection.


If you’re overwhelmed by sky-high expectations, consider grounding them. It’s okay to take it one step at a time. Embracing smaller victories and trusting the process can lead to genuine progress. So if you’re feeling stuck, overwhelmed, or just plain frustrated, reach out to me with the keyword “unschooling,” and I’ll share a few tips to help with your transition. And if you’re tired of feeling defeated by unrealistic expectations, check out my new book ‘Brilliant, But Struggling,’ which will guide you in setting realistic goals.