Unschooling: No Tests, No Books, No Bedtime

"Most of the struggle is myself and trying to figure out how to let go of what my idea of school is," said Berg, who was full of questions for the "UnNanny."

Teaching a New Approach to Parenting

For example, what if they need algebra down the road?

"What if they really do need algebra, and I don't teach them algebra or I miss some specific part of something that 's going to help them to learn algebra down the road right now while I'm in the early phases of their life," Berg asked.

"The fears that you have are so normal," Martin said. "Algebra is not something that everybody needs to know. This life is about honoring the fact that we are not all put on the earth to do the same thing in life. ... It is such an individualized education as opposed to a cookie cutter education where kids are kind of, this bucket of knowledge that you pour into kids and they may or may not learn it."

Martin advised Berg to listen to her children. "This is child-directed learning. You'll know when you're done, because your child will say they aren't interested anymore. How simple is that."

When Berg's 4-year-old son, Henry, wanted to go play on the blue hammock in the front yard, Berg forbade him at first. But then Martin intervened, saying that "no" can become "yes."

"Why can't he go on the blue hammock?" Martin asked Berg. "We can just as easily move on over here and still have everyone's needs met."

In the kitchen, a sticky issue came up: What to do when your child wants to eat the whole bag of cookies. Martin encouraged Berg to let her kids have it their way.

"When you set up things with limits, you're setting up a scenario of kids sneaking things," Martin said.

"I just feel like if they eat a whole bag of cookies, they're off the wall," Berg said.

"For one a lot of times our fears can really be imposed on our kids," Martin said.

After Martin left, Berg wasn't quite sure. "I'm not sure that I'm ready to give up limiting the junky stuff in our house, so that's something that's intriguing to me," she said. "I don't know how I feel about it all yet. But that's why she's here, right?"

Will Unschooled Kids Be Prepared?

Back at the Martin household, Devin told us he could go to school if he wanted to -- but he doesn't.

"I love being free and doing whatever I want," he said.

Martin said her children have picked up adequate reading and math skills without formal instruction. But when we asked Devin a basic multiplication question, he stumbled.

What happens when the learning becomes more sophisticated and her kids need to be exposed to Shakespeare or Twain or Henry James?

"I think a lot of people might value that more than others. That that is important and it is part of someone's life. I honestly don't remember, yes, although I know their names, I don't remember the details of what I learned in school about the historians," Martin said.

Those are details her children may never even have the chance to forget.

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