Sunday, January 16, 2011

Grown Unschooler Jasmine Carlson: "You don't feel pressured to 'be' something, you are allowed the space and time to create."

This continues to be an exciting project to me, and I'd love to keep it going for as long as possible!  So if you're a grown unschooler, think about joining in.  You also might want to read more interviews with grown unschoolers.  Now, meet Jasmine Carlson:

I now live in a co-housing community with my family. We take others into our community to teach them how to unschool their lives. I have traveled all over the place and feel that unschooling made it so that I was not just a visitor, but I was able to learn from people and the cultures that I was around.  I can honestly say that they have become a part of me. Unschooling made it so that I birthed my son at home, rejecting yet again another institution. Of course I blog both my rants (, and on fitness (, which is one of my passions.

When did you become an unschooler? 
I have been an unschooler all of my life.
How long have you unschooled/did you unschool? 
Pretty much what what most people would call the 12 years of required schooling but I would say that I am still an unschooler.

How old are you now? 

Do you have any siblings?  If so, did they/do they unschool as well? 
I have a brother and two sisters and yes, they were also unschooled.

If your parents chose unschooling, do you know how/why they made that decision? 
My parents have never been very conventional. Unschooling just "fit" us. I am not sure when the decision was actually made, it was just part of the natural process. We didn't even know what it was called until my mom read a book years later that detailed exactly what we had been doing for years. 

What do you think the best thing about unschooling is? 
You have the ability to learn what you want to learn when you want to learn it. You can move at your own pace. You don't feel pressured to "be" something, you are allowed the space and time to create things.

What do you think the worst (or most difficult) thing about unschooling is? 
It can be lonely. Like every other controversial or little understood way of doing things you find that people can be very critical.

Did you decide to go/are you going to college or university?  If so, could you talk a bit about that experience? 
I went to a language school. It was quite structured but it did focus just on the language I was learning, which in some ways made it feel like my type of schooling, because I wasn't learning a bunch of random things that I wasn't there to learn. 

Did you decide not to go to college or university?  If so, could you talk a bit about that experience, and what (if anything) you decided to do differently instead of college? 
Like I stated above, I went to language school and I continue to educate myself by reading extensively and learning from people in specific fields. I may "go to school" online at some point just because I enjoy learning so much. If I do it will be for a focused area of study.

Are you currently earning money in any way? 
No, not really. Working on starting a business right now and I am a full time stay at home mom to a 2 1/2 year old boy. 

What jobs/ways of earning money do you, and have you, had? 
I have played music, done TONS of volunteer work, worked at a bank, worked for a coffee shop, worked for a non-profit, worked for a greenhouse... 

Have you found work that's fulfilling and enjoyable? 

Have you found that unschooling has had an impact on how hard or easy it is to get jobs or earn money?  
Yes. It is fairly easy. I am good with people and am able to learn things quickly.

Do you feel that unschooling has had an impact on what methods of earning money or jobs you're drawn to?
Oh yeah. No question about it. I am drawn to things that draw on creativity. I also love a challenge and get bored easily.

What impact do you feel unschooling has had on your life? 
I am not afraid to try new things or meet new people. I enjoy a challenge and am never afraid to learn something new. Learning comes fairly easily. I am bored easily with the conventional. I expect people to be more open and honest than most people are able to be. 

If you could go back in time, is there anything about your learning/educational journey that you'd change? 
No. I don't think so. 

If you have children, do you unschool them? 
I do have a son and yes I am unschooling him.

What advice would you give to teens looking to leave high school? 
Go for it! Give it a try. Honestly you have nothing to lose. You will be stepping in to the best type of education that you can give yourself.  

What advice would you give to someone looking to skip, or to drop out of, college or university? 
Once again I say, go for it! Give it a try even if it is just for a year. You will come back knowing what you want to do and how you want to go about learning it. In the meantime you won't be wasting any time if you choose to use the time intentionally. 

What advice would you give to unschooling parents (or parents looking into unschooling)? 
It will probably scare you at first. You will wondering if you are "ruining" your children. Create opportunities. Be open and honest with your children. Unschooling will be just as much a learning adventure for you as it will be for your children. Look at it as continuing education for yourself!


  1. Thank you so much! I cannot express how much joy it gives me to read these interviews. We removed our daughter from public school last March, and we began a very relaxed form of homeschooling. We have now been unschooling since around Thanksgiving and it's been WONDERFUL, although I'm a little fearful. Reading these interviews makes me much less so. Thanks and God bless!

  2. Yay! Jasmine, glad she interviewed you! You have such an interesting life! Love it. Wish you were still here in OK!

  3. one of the blog links above is wrong... that should be posted as but it seems that she's moving that blog to

  4. These interviews really make me want to unschool when I have children, thank you for them.

  5. Thank you so much for these interviews! They are really encouraging! :)

  6. Great interview! It's was very encouraging, not-to-mention the boots! Jasmine, I love the boots :)

  7. This is a wonderful interview!

  8. I really love this series. I have two girls 5 and 2 and I am/will unschool them. Reading about grown unschoolers helps quell the fears I have. Unschooling resonates deeply with me and really there is no other option as far as I'm concerned, but there are always those little doubts that creep in and blogs like this help shut those down! Thank you!

  9. Thanks for the chance to interview :-)

  10. Hi!
    I just wanted to tell you that i think your blog is awesome. :-)

    I discovered it recently thanks to your interview with "la presse": the last article had been mentioned to us by a friend who knew we did life-learning and i followed the link to your blog.

    Having never gone to school myself, i sometimes feel like i'm the only one in the world (exepting my sister, of course) who learns at home. It's good to see we are not alone.

    It's also nice to know there is other vegetarians than our family out there... I already had noticed life-learners were more often vegetarian or vegetalien than school-taught people, and now i have new proof of it!

    By the way, i was wondering if you knew some life-learning blogs written in french, as all those in your list seem to be written in english. (My first language is french so i thought it might be nice to know a few blogs in that language...)

    I'm looking forward to your next Summer Montreal Unschooler's Gattering! (Wish i had known about it last summer...)