Defending Unschooling: 'It's Not Anything Goes'

Most children will choose television over reading every time, but Yablonski said that "the key there is that you've got to trust your kids to ... find their own interests."

Kimberly in Ohio wondered, "How are these children expected to function in society as adults? They don't seem to have any structure or discipline."

Yablonski said, "There's an intrinsic structure" to their lives.

"If you look at a week or a month, there's absolutely a structure to what they're accomplishing," she said.

Ann Pleshette Murphy, parenting expert and "Good Morning America" contributor, questioned the unusual approach.

"This to me is putting way too much power in the hands of the kids, something that we know kids can often find anxiety-producing, and it's also sending a message that they're the center of the universe, which I do not think is healthy for children," she said.

Dr. Reef Karim, a psychiatrist, agrees.

"The whole concept of cooperating with your kid, it's kind of cool in theory," he said, "and if a child was a little adult I think it would be great, but he's a child."

Unschooling Father: 'They Will Do What They Need to Do'

This parenting style might raise some eyebrows, but in Massachusetts, it's legal. Unschooling parents in that state are required to report to local school authorities once a year. The Massachusetts Department of Education did not respond to calls and e-mails from ABC News seeking comment.

Homeschooling rules vary from state to state. Click here to see the home schooling rules in your state on the Home School Legal Defense Association Web site.

The Discovery Health cable TV channel chronicled the life of one young unschooling family, detailing a home in which the children faced no punishment, no judgment and no discipline.

"It's amazing when you broaden the scope of what you see as learning as opposed to worksheets," the mother said. "There is no hierarchy in our house, so there is no punishment, no judgment, no discipline. They get what they want for breakfast and eat whatever they want. It's all a matter of what feels right to them."

But what happens when the kids get older? Shaun Biegler, 13, last went to school when he was in the first grade.

He doesn't regret not attending anymore, but said, "I wonder what my life would be if I continued going to school. I was never really into some of the stuff that I had to learn in school."

He added that sports "haven't really been an interest of mine," but he also hasn't been exposed to many sports because he doesn't participate in a physical education class.

Shaun's sister, 15-year-old Kimi, doesn't even know what grade she'd have been in if she had remained in school, and doesn't feel prepared for college.

"I haven't done the traditional look at a textbook and learn about such-and-such," she said. "If I wanted to go to college, then I would pick up a textbook and learn."

Neither child has any plans for college, according to their father. When asked if he felt it was his responsibility to teach his children to do things that they don't want to do, he said, "they will do what they need to do, whether or not they enjoy it, because they see the purpose in it."

Though the children's father acknowledged they were growing up in a unique way, he said that "in all other aspects, they're … living in the mainstream."

"They have experiences and knowledge that other people don't," Yablonski said.

Click here to return to the "Good Morning America" Web site.

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