My Top 50 Favorite Posts About Interest-Led Learning, Unschooling or Self-Directed Learning in 2012

by ChristinaPilkington on January 2, 2013 · 36 comments

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Throughout the year, I’ve kept a habit of bookmarking my favorite posts, videos and articles about those subjects. I don’t always get a chance to read them right away, but it’s so nice to have them all housed in one spot when I get a chance to do a little reading.

Last year I shared my top 50 favorite posts about interest-led learning, unschooling and self-directed learning in 2011.

I’m back again to share my top 50 again this year. There are so many great things here. Not all of these posts and videos will appeal to you, but I’m sure that there are quite a few that will.

Pick and choose those that interest you. Look for the ones that grab out to you. Find new amazing bloggers to follow. Enjoy a wonderful new year of living and learning with your kids!

My Top 50 Favorite Posts about Interest-Led Learning, Unschooling or Self-Directed Learning in 2012

1. Unschooling: the new class of learning – VIDEO

2. Open Ended Unschooling Resources from Sara McGrath at Suite101

3. Self-Taught African Teen Wows M.I.T  VIDEO- Simply Amazing!

4. Play, Passion, Purpose a TED talk by Tony Wagner – You really need to watch this.

5. Prepared for the Future Through Unschooling by the wonderful Lainie at Raising Miro

6.Why Do Kids Need Strategy More Than Math Facts? By Aadel at Temporary Tents

7. Why Math Instruction is Unnecessary by John Bennett – VIDEO-a TED talk

8. Our Lack of a Schoolroom by the awesome Jessica at Teachable Moments

9. The Last Time by Karen at HomeSchool Girls – This was one of my absolute favorite posts of this year. Grab a Kleenex when you read it, though.

10. Lose the Anxiety and Enjoy Learning! By Susan at Learning ALL the time! I love all her great resources and inspiring posts.

11. Gifts that Can’t Be Wrapped: the Mess by Amy at The Hmmm…schooling Mom – so many great posts at her site but this one really hit home for me

12. Learning Log of May 2012 by Tereza from Creating Treasures –I LOVE her monthly learning logs. She is a treasure trove of resources and ideas.

13. Without (or Beyond) College:22 Tools for Success by Laura Grace Weldon at her site. She’s the author of Free-Range Learning.

14. Unschooling Science: Slow Learning, Nature and Life by Wendy Priesnitz of Life Learning Magazine.  Wendy’s magazine is great!  I’m a subscriber.

15. RSA Animate-Changing Education Paradigm- VIDEO

16. Educational Goals and Long-Term Thinking by Lori at Project-Based Homeschooling (loved the book!)

17. Unschooling Tools by Stephanie at Ordinary Life Magic. I was blown away by the amount of resources and ideas Stephanie shared in her Unschooling Tools series. When you go to the page, scroll down and see her links for Unschooling Tools: Games, Math Play, Television, For Creativity, For Reading, and  Around Town

18. What kind of Work Do We Value?  by Amy at UnschoolingNYC

19. All Year Round Blog Carnival at SunnyDayTodayMama Sunny Mama does a great job of collecting a ton of blog posts sharing ideas and activities for every season of the year.

20. What are the Ingredients For Self-Directed Learning?  post and VIDEO at TeachThought

21. The Benefits of Active Play by Jennifer at Blogging ‘Bout Boys – a blog full of great advice for parents of boys

22. Five Ways to Help Someone HATE Reading by Idzie at I’m Unschooled. Yes, I Can Write. Love this!

23. Homeschooling: Don’t Divide Life into so Many Boxes by Linda Dobson at Parent at the Helm

24. The Audacious Learner by Beatrice at Radio Free School

25. Unschooling: Don’t You Worry That They’ll Miss Something? By Jen from The Path Less Taken – I needed this reminder!

26. How Do Kids REALLY Learn to Write? By Patricia at WonderFarm  You really need to read this!

27. Ultimate Guide to Creative Writing Resources for Students by Sarah at Small World – I think I got just a little too giddy browsing through the list of Sarah’s resources…..what can I say….I’m a writer!

28. Unschooling Reflections by Darcel at the Mahogany Way- Such a beautiful, honest, heartfelt reminder.

29. Just Say Yes! (Part 1) by Betsy at Zen Mama – This is a short, beautiful post you’ll love reading.

30. Unsolicited Evaluation is the Enemy to Creativity by Peter at Freedom to Learn

31. Always Learning by Jennifer at Little Homeschool on the Prairie – Jenn’s family is so creative! I love finding lots of new ideas on her blog.

33. Unschooling Til it Hurts by Carma at Winging It – If you thought unschooling automatically means no structure or no collaboration with parents, read this post. It really helped me this year when my daughter was asking me for more structure in our days.

34. A Mother’s Tips: How to Raise a Thiel Fellow at CNBC

35. The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us – a YouTube VIDEO

36.With by Sue at Lifelong Learning – A beautiful post about being truly with our children

37.All Kids are Born Scientists But Are Crushed by Society Itself – YouTube VIDEO

38.Kids Are Born Scientists – YouTube VIDEO – Oh, this is so good!!!!

39. Julie Burstein- 4 Lessons on Creativity – TED VIDEO

40. In Pursuit of the Thing by Kim at Frog Creek – Yes, Yes, Yes!!!!!

41.Physical Activity by Pam at Learning Happens

42.Imagine… by Ross at Ross Mountney’s Notebook

43.Open-Ended Individualized Learning by Cindy at The Right Side of Normal – I love Cindy’s blog about right-brained learners.

44.A Simple Ed Reform Solution-Connect School to Real Life by Lisa at The Innovative Educator – Wish more schools could be like this

45. How I discovered my Secret Powers by Keri Smith at Keri writes awesome books that stretch your creativity. Check her out on Amazon.

46. I Don’t Care if My Kids Ever Fit In by the ever-encouraging and inspiring Elizabeth at Sattvic Family

47. The 27 Principles to Teaching Yourself Anything (aka The Self-Guided Education Manifesto + PDF  Download) by Scott at Live Your Legend-Great Advice

48. Self-Learning: The New Master’s Degree by Neil at Visual

49. Conrad Wolfram-Making Maths Beautiful – a YouTube VIDEO

50. Penmanship by Meredith at Each One Thrives – Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, but I loved this post on what we can learn about our children’s personalities and what makes them unique by observing how they approach handwriting.

Photo Credit:kristyhall

What were some of your favorite posts from the past year?

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  • Learning Beyond Schooling

    Thank you for sharing this gem of a list! My husband and I started to educate our children in the child-led, interest-driven approaches since they were born. We have a web page to share our thoughts and experiences with other parents. And this is our third year in forming a community learning initiative where families come together 3-4 times a week to learn and do activities together!

    • christinapilkington

      You’re welcome! I just checked out your site. What an incredible creative family! It’s so much fun for me to read about older children who have always been unschooled and are doing such awesome things in their lives.

  • Amy Stevenson Dingmann

    I have so enjoyed reading through this list of posts. What a collection! I was also so honored to find a post by lil’ ol’ me on there! I certainly enjoyed finding YOUR blog this year and look forward to reading more of what you have to say. I’ve learned so much from you. :)

    • christinapilkington

      Thanks so much, Amy! I really, really liked reading your blog this year. It was so very encouraging.

  • Geoff ILearn

    Great list Christina. This post found its way Down Under to Shepparton, Victoria, Australia. I am a Big Picture coach (mentioned on your list at No. 44). I am in the process of setting up my own Learning Centre for teenagers who want a personalised approach based on their interests/passion and linked to the real world. Students will be able to attend full time or online. I am a qualified elementary school teacher but my role will be as learning coach/guide (or in Big Picture speak, an advisor). I have given up (for a time) trying to convert the education system and taken Gandhi’s saying on board – “Be the change you wish to see in the world”.
    Looking forward to reading more of your work.

    • christinapilkington

      That’s so awesome! It’s so surreal for me sometimes to think that I have readers from somewhere around the world from me. And I highly commend your great work. I wish all children and teens had the opportunity and choices you’re talking about. I haven’t heard about a Big Picture online option. I’m very intrigued. If you have any links to share where I can learn more about it, please pass them on.

  • Laura Grace Weldon

    Ah, what riches. I’ve spent a lovely hour reading many of these posts. Thanks for including one of mine.

    • christinapilkington

      You’re so welcome. And I have spent many wonderful hours this past year reading your book and blog, too :)

  • Darcel

    Thanks for including me again this year. Can’t wait to dig in and check out the rest. also love the year round b log carnival, it’s so fun!.

    • christinapilkington

      You’re welcome, Darcel! I know I need to comment more,but I have really enjoyed reading your homeschooling journey and all its ups and downs. Reminds me of my house a lot of times! I really like how open and honest you are.

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  • Lori @ Camp Creek Blog/PBH

    awesome stuff here! thanks for including me! :)

    • ChristinaPilkington

      You’re welcome! I’m so glad I found your site and book this year. I’m hoping to spend more time in your forum soon.

    • christinapilkington

      I’m so glad I found your book and site this year. I’m hoping to spend more time on your forums here.

      • Lori

        i hope you do! :)

  • Julie-Anne Mullan

    How does this work? Do you #add to favorites# or simply ‘like’ and go back over your history at the end of the year. Serious question here, as I too want to save for later use, yet dont understand if we are doing gthe same thing….thank you.

    • christinapilkington

      Well, I don’t have a very sophisiticated system :) Whenever I read or watch something that really stands out for me, I just cut and paste the link into a word document and write down the name of the website and author. If I have more than 50 links by the end of the year, I narrow the list down. You could also create a Pinterest board for this or add the links to your favorites to bookmark them, like you suggested. I just do it this way so my the end of the year most of the work is done already and I don’t have to compile all the links together into one document.

  • Jenn

    I’ve been looking forward to this post, since I loved last year’s list so much! Thank you for mentioning us in your round-up! I cannot wait to check out all of the other links. Wishing you a Happy New Year full of fun and learning adventures:)

    • christinapilkington

      I know I don’t comment as much as I would like on other people’s blogs (something I’m working on for this year!),but I always enjoy reading your posts. I look forward to seeing them in my reader when I get a chance to read blogs.

  • Cindy Gaddis

    I was pleasantly surprised to see my blog post in your list! Thank you for sharing it along with all the other recommendations you listed that I’m eager to explore. Good stuff!

    • christinapilkington

      You’re very welcome! I love sharing great things I read with others. I really enjoyed hearing you speak at the In Home conferece in St. Charles a few years ago. I’ve found a lot of encouragement through your blog.

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  • Karen Terry Cagle

    Chris first of all, THANK YOU for including me. Second of all I am so excited to go through each of these. Can not wait to read/watch them all!

    • christinapilkington

      Karen, you are so very welcome! I could I not include your wonderful goodness? I really, really look forward to reading your posts. You have such a creative, beautiful daugher. I love reading what she’s up to, and you always share awesome resources, too.

  • Susan

    Thanks so much for including me, Chris! It looks like a great list of posts here…lots to read :)

    • christinapilkington

      You’re welcome! I love, love, love reading your blog! It’s been fun watching your girls grow up. I wish we lived closer because I know my kids would love playing with your girls. I’m looking forward to all the things you with share this year!

      • Susan

        Oh it would be so fun to get the kids together to play! :)

        • christinapilkington

          Maybe one day it will work out. If you’re ever in the Chicago area, please let me know!

          • Susan

            I sure will!!

  • Jessica

    I never expected that post to get the response it did. I am truly honored you included it. There is so much here to read and explore. I am going to take my time and savor each site. Thank you for your lists. They are comprehensive and so very valuable!

    • christinapilkington

      You’re very welcome, Jessica. I always hope my lists help others and give them encouragement and ideas. I’ve been reading your blog for over a year now, and I come to look forward to seeing your posts arrive in my inbox. I’ve loved reading about the increcible opportunities your girls have experienced this past year. Your writing is beautiful; it is so uplifting and encouraging.

  • tereza crump

    Christina, Happy New Year! You were one of the best things that happened to me in 2012!! I am so happy to have found you and your blog. I love, love, love, love (did I say love?) your lists. I was able to find so many incredible people and families because of your lists. Thank you so much for compiling them. You are amazing!! Thank you also for including my blog on your top 50 favorite posts… I am so humbled. :)

    And may all your goals be accomplished in 2013!! Can’t wait to read your novel… a book is also on my dreams to write… one day.

    • christinapilkington

      Tereza, you are really too sweet and kind! I really enjoy making my little lists :) I figure that I’d do them for myself,so why not share them with others? I’m so glad that many people seem to enjoy them.
      You’re blog is so amazing. I know how much time it can take in compiling a monthly log, and you do an incredible job with it – so detailed! I love it! Whenever I read your blog,especially your monthly learning logs, I always have a few Word documents open where I cut and paste resource ideas. It’s wonderful!
      And you should work on writing that book, too! I’ve been wanting to focus more on my fiction writing, so instead of just wishing and dreaming, this year I’m going to do it! My goal is a complete first draft by the end of the year. I’d like it to be completely edited and proofread, too, but with homeschooling, travelling,this blog, and the housework, I think I’ll be happy to have just a first draft done! I’m 37 now, and I always said I wanted to be a published author by 40, so we’ll see what happens :)

  • patricia from wonder farm

    Thanks so much for including me in your round-up, Christina! I’m honored. There are so many great recommendations here–can’t wait to visit some new blogs!

    • christinapilkington

      Thanks! I really enjoy reading your blog. I need to get better at commenting this year (too many great things to read), but I do enjoy seeing that you have a new post up. Have fun reading these posts- I may be biased,but I think it’s an awesome collection of writing!

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