We are a sibling pair of grown unschoolers. Allen, born in 1989, has been unschooled since the first grade, and Laura, born in 1986, since the third grade. We grew up in Pennsylvania under some of the strictest homeschooling laws in the country. We both “graduated,” having fulfilled all of the requirements of the state. After a year of living on her own, Laura attended and graduated with Phi Beta Kappa from Earlham College in Indiana. She is currently in graduate school studying Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, while Allen is actively pursuing his passion for filmmaking and multimedia design by working full-time at Cybis Communications creating motivational videos and helping to produce live events.
As a young unschooler, Laura read and wrote voraciously, worked with and rode horses for 9 years, acted and performed for 12 years, and found joy in listening to and telling stories, playing the piano, using her imagination, traveling, and learning new languages and about the people who speak them.
Laura has always loved explaining unschooling to people and feeling like a bridge connecting multiple ways of viewing education. From speaking on panels to writing essays to connecting with curious people online, Laura has jumped at the opportunities that came her way to explain exactly why our family’s decision to unschool was one of the best things that ever happened to her.
As she got older, Laura pursued bridging the communication gap between well-established religious and new spiritual ideas, and as a young adult is studying the bridge between Western and Eastern models of health. Now a second-year student of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, Laura has uprooted her sense of self from her Western upbringing and is slowly, painfully, joyfully starting to understand where she fits in the Eastern perspective of the world, and finding that, ultimately, it’s not as different as she once thought. Laura’s life goals continue to include gently bringing new viewpoints to light and offering alternatives to those who ask.
Allen discovered at a young age his interest in film and multimedia. What started as short films created with friends rapidly transformed into ever-more complex videos where he learned and applied knowledge of the entire video-production process. This ambition and experience led him to a college internship with a local production house at age 14. Not long after, he interned with a local church creating regular videos and training volunteers to operate the audio, visual and light equipment in the 300-seat youth auditorium.
Simultaneously, Allen connected with a software engineer in England, and together they developed an open-source content management system. Allen was regularly involved with business planning discussions, which required market research and strategy. He also designed web interfaces and graphics for the CMS’s huge feature-set, and designed websites for the agency’s clients. All this taught him independent time management, effective copywriting, and business communication.
He now applies these skills as a senior-level employee with Cybis Communications, combining his teenage interests in computer networking, live event production, motion graphics design, business communication, budgeting, and team leadership.
Allen’s other interests include photography, psychology, acting, skiing & snowboarding, piano & guitar, exploring the world, and spirituality.
We have been incredibly fortunate to take advantage of opportunities to travel with the family, with our dad on business, and on trips to visit friends and relatives. As we got older we found ways to make several independent international trips as our circle of friends and opportunities enlarged.
As teenagers, we attended the unschooler’s camp, Not Back To School Camp for several years, and Allen recently returned to produce a documentary about the camp. We are both passionate seekers of God (that is, the love of God, or Spirit, or the Universe) in everyday life, and we consider ourselves extremely blessed to have lived the lives we’ve had and to have the knowledge that we are free to live the life we choose.
Thanks, Mom and Dad, for giving us the freedom to explore; for out of that freedom came wisdom that cannot be taught and exhilaration for life and learning that cannot be forced. We owe you so much for that.