What does an unschooled teen DO? MY NATURAL LEARNING LIFE

By Ez*

When I was born, Mum had already been home educating my older brothers for some years, so it’s really natural for me to live like this.
I’m 14 years old now, and have six brothers – the oldest is 23 and the youngest is nearly 2.

We have a lifestyle that mum calls “Natural Learning” which means our learning is self-directed and she facilitates whatever we’re interested in.

In the last few years I’ve decided that I’d like to join the police when I’m old enough, so I talked to my cousin’s husband who is a police officer, and got an idea of things I can study now. I absolutely love karate, and really want to go more than once a week. I also enjoy talking about it, and can talk about it for ages. I’m glad Mum isn’t tired of hearing about it yet!

I’m teaching myself Maori, and also doing a lot of self-study on body language and facial expressions. I’ve been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (but most people don’t notice anything different about me), my brothers are diagnosed with the same, so life around here is pretty busy and often noisy and explosive.

Sometimes I do have times where I get stressed from my brothers, but mum allows me chill time away from them, and there’s always a few times during the day where things are pretty quiet and I can do my own thing and recharge.

A regular day for me might look like:

Get up, wash, dress, have breakfast, do any jobs that need doing.

Sometimes we go out, other days we stay home and read, play, do art, make things, swim, always discussing things.

Going out days are either to shops, parks, playgrounds, beaches. I love photography and get some really good opportunities to take photos.

Lunchtime, Quiet time – the little boys have quiet time, the toddler goes to bed, I have time completely to myself where I can study, work on my bullet journal, write, play the guitar. I am teaching myself new chords, bar chords, tablature etc, play the piano.

After quiet time I might take some photos, play, swim, read, do some dog training with my Pomeranian, trampoline, playing  with/looking after the toddler, baking, helping with tea…

Teatime. After daylight savings now that it is light we mostly play outside – I do some karate training, Dad is home so I see what he’s up to in the workshop…When the little boys have all gone to bed I study some more, write, play instruments, research on Pinterest, or email my friend.

Once a week I have karate in the evening, and sometimes I go out with some friends to things in the evening. I love the social part of it, and enjoy mingling with the crowds afterwards. I’m really grateful that I was able to develop my confidence to be around other people at my own pace. When I was younger I had a lot of trouble  understanding what people meant, and I couldn’t respond to  questions like “How are you?” and “What have you been up to lately?” I chose to not speak to anyone. But over the last couple of years my confidence has grown heaps.

I made a list for my Mum’s blog of things I have been interested in over the last six months or so. It was interesting to see how I’ve changed recently. Some of the old things were cooking, cleaning, learning to touch-type and miniature gardens. The more recent ones are military, guns, target shooting, police, and karate.
Here’s a link if you want to read the lists.

In a couple of years I’m hoping to go to NMIT to do administration training, then get a job in an office to save up for police training. I’d also like to continue karate as long as I can, make lots of friends, set up a neighbourhood watch in this area, and when they’re old enough, teach my brothers musical instruments or self-defense.


Ez is not her real name. Thank you so much for sending us your story Ez!

If there are any other un-schooled teens out there who would like to share their story, please get in touch.

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