Unschooling: Like Riding a Bicycle


Can you really compare educational styles to riding a bike?  Well, I read an article recently entitled “Unschooling: It’s Like Riding a Bicycle” and I found the correlation quite interesting.

Before jumping into this post, I wanted to state that this article is not intended to create some sort of heated debate on what type of education is best.  Let’s keep this fun and easy, and just consider it entertaining reading.  Let’s leave the the educational debate for others to discuss.

We are currently homeschooling our kids and I really like how it fits in with our Family lifestyle.  Traditional schooling is totally cool as well and in today’s society, and with a boatload of  available options, I think it’s best for parents to take a look around and decide what method works best for them and their children.  The idea of homeschooling might be scary enough for some parents to consider, but what about the concept of unschooling?

Unschooling…..come on now, can you be serious?  That’s what I’ve always thought, but just recently my Wife brought up the idea and provided me with some details and information.  In the article mentioned above, Vickie Bergman explains that if If being in school is like riding a train, and traditional homeschooling is like riding in a car…..then unschooling is totally like riding a bike.

Of course you can see why I liked this analogy and Vickie definitely got me hooked on reading more about what unschooling is all about.

Some days, your mom says, “Want to go for a ride? I have something cool I want to show you. “ If you want to go, you hop on the bike and go. Some days, you are the one who has something cool you want to explore, and your mom or siblings or dad ride along.  And some days, one or some or all of you are tired and you stay home and watch movies or cook or read or play video games all day.  But every day, you have the choice of what to do.

The concept of unschooling still freaks me out, but I’m glad my Wife brought it up and it’s definitely something we’re considering.  Want to know what grabbed my attention the most?  It’s the quote from Vickie below.  These words spoke to my being…the cyclist and the Dad inside of me.

No matter which kind of bicycle you are on, there is no separation between you and the outside world.  No window to look out.  You can smell the real world, hear the real world, stop and touch the real world.  You are part of the real world.  There are paths to follow if you want to, but your rides are not limited to the paths.

Albert Einstein once said, “Life is like riding a bicycle.  To keep your balance you must keep moving.”  Whether you are traditionally schooled, homeschooled, or unschooled…..just be sure to keep on learning and moving forward.

Image c/o de cafe racer

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17 Responses to “ Unschooling: Like Riding a Bicycle ”

  1. Brig on March 10, 2012 at 1:26 am

    Nice post.  I especially like the part about being connected to one’s surroundings when on a bike. These moments are especially important when we consider how much time we spend indoors and connected to technology somehow – sometimes we just need to appreciate our natural surroundings and take it all in – we might learn something!

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on March 10, 2012 at 6:51 am

      Thanks Brig.  There’s something so incredibly awesome about being outside and connecting with nature.  Whether that happens during a peaceful early morning walk, playing, or out there on a bike…..it’s full of good vibes, learning, and beauty.

      • Brig on March 12, 2012 at 10:36 pm

        I couldn’t agree with you more Darryl. Life truly is beautiful. So I’m logging off now and going for a ride!

  2. Julesmpg on March 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Love it! We are a bit of both. We have unschooled at periods and schooled in a more structured manner. Happy to report we have two intelligent, happy, well adjusted kids. As they get older, schooling is more serious. Homeschooling has been beneficial for our family throughout the years. We aren’t sure what the future holds for our schooling but we are so thankful to have experienced it.

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on March 10, 2012 at 6:56 am

      Thanks Julie.  It sounds like you have a similar attitude to us…..we love homeschooling right now and it has fit very nicely into our lifestyle.  Glad to hear about your two intelligent, happy, and adjusted kids.

  3. Darryl is Loving the Bike on March 9, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Thanks Sweetie…and thanks for sending me the original article on unschooling and bikes.

  4. Nancy Sathre-Vogel on March 9, 2012 at 11:10 am

    It is indeed! Great analogy. I’m like you in that I like a lot of unschooling ideas, but think it needs to be kept in check to an extent. Yes, kids will automatically learn, but there are things that we may want to “encourage” them to learn a bit more. It’s all good!

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on March 9, 2012 at 12:21 pm

      I knew you were going to like this one, Nancy.  Being encouraging, and believing in kids (like Tim said) is what matters most.

  5. Eric Hutchins on March 9, 2012 at 10:09 am

    I love that bike bus, that is so cool.
    Fun subject with no right answer (I dont think) which is GOOD. I think what works for one family may not work for another. It depends on your situation, your personality, what you want for yourselves and for your kids. For example the thought of my parents home schooling me terrifies me, just knowing the people that they are, and I love them dearly. Yet I look at you and Amanda and know that whatever you guys choose your kids are going get an awesome start.

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on March 9, 2012 at 12:20 pm

      I think YOU are so cool…..and you riding in that Bikebus is even cooler.  Thanks for checking out the post and leaving your comments, Eric.

  6. Drivers of Change on March 9, 2012 at 8:07 am

    Looks like Einstein never watched track cycling.

  7. Tim Starry on March 9, 2012 at 5:47 am

    A little Montessori, a little Bikeschool, a smattering of zen…I like.

    A few years ago I completely lost my mind and convinced myself I wanted to teach high school biology (had to do something with that forestry degree).  One of the most important lessons I got out of the child development class I took was about self-efficacy.  Whatever educational model you choose, the biggest gift you can give a child is “one’s belief in one’s ability to succeed in specific situations.”  The bicycle can be an important catalyst is building that.

    Nice post.

    • Darryl is Loving the Bike on March 9, 2012 at 6:11 am

      Thanks Tim, that is a great quote you included.  Believing in children is a fantastic attitude to have, and we all need to spread that feeling.  You would have made a great biology teacher, man.

      • Tim Starry on March 9, 2012 at 6:30 am

        I decided that contemporary public high school was not for me.  Things have changed significantly since I was in school.  I weep for our future.

        • Drivers of Change on March 9, 2012 at 8:10 am

          Hey, I almost went into forestry too! Chose geography instead: logical for a guy who loves getting lost on his bike.

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