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Manchester New Hampshire's local unschooling groups

Local unschoolers gather to explore the Massabesic Audubon center's trails.
Local unschoolers gather to explore the Massabesic Audubon center's trails.
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New to unschooling? Been at it a few years but hit a bump in the road? Local groups can be invaluable. Manchester unschoolers are close to at least two unschooling groups. L-E-A-P, founded by five local radical unschooling moms, has members ranging from MA all the way up to Madison, NH. The group's description reads, "Learn Explore Adventure and Play, take the LEAP into unschooling. We are a group of families who unschool. This group allows us to post get togethers and events we will be organizing/ attending with our kids so they may interact with other unschooling families. We also like to have passionate discussions about the nuts and bolts of unschooling as we travel further along the unschooling path. We are pretty relaxed about pretty much everything. We are a secular (non-religious-affiliated) group. As unschoolers, we believe that *child-led learning* is preferable to curriculum use. We are not a conservative school-at-home group, and find little reason to discuss curriculum but can get intense about respect, trust and child led learning. It is understood that each family is at a different point in their journey. Not everyone on this list will be an unschooler; some may be exploring the idea, others may be relaxed homeschoolers interested in unschooling, as long as you are truly interested in finding more out about unschooling. What we also see as paramount is having fun and playing together! Basically, we like our kids, like each other's kids and enjoy spending time together. We have regular park days, seasonal parties, field trips, "meet & greets," volunteer opportunities, and other events. We are based in Southern NH Nashua/Manchester, and have members from all over the surrounding areas."

There is a group located closer to the seacoast which also has members in the Manchester area, this group, called Seacoast Unschooling Network, or SUN describes themselves in this way, "We are a support group for unschooling and relaxed homeschooling families in the seacoast area of southern Maine and New Hampshire. We also welcome those who are new to homeschooling or have young children and are exploring their options. SUN is a non-directed support group, which means that all activities are organized by individual families, who then invite others to join them. For more information on what it means to be a non-directed support group, please go here. We are inspired by the works of John Holt, and the idea that curiosity is innate and that learning is a natural, seamless part of life. We believe that the school model of coercive learning is inefficient and potentially harmful, and does not need to be replicated in the home. Perhaps the simplest definition of unschooling is "not doing school", and the purpose of this group is to share ways that we are living and learning without school. We are a real-life community as well as a cyber-group, so we do ask that members provide some basic personal information along with their request to join the group (full name, town, ages of children). This information will go to the moderator and will not be shared with the whole group. Upon joining the group, an introduction is always nice, and helps us feel more comfortable with each other. Regarding posting etiquette, this is intended to be a friendly, supportive group. Members should feel free to post their own thoughts and experiences, but in a way that is respectful of other families' values and lifestyles."

There are also many national and international radical unschooling groups online where one could find support. The Radical Unschooling list is large, active, based in NH and has an international membership. The group is described like this, "This is a discussion and support group for Radical Unschoolers and those learning about this life. This group is unique in that there is a focus of using the Law of Attraction in our Unschooling lives. Radical Unschooling is an evolution of our understanding about learning and the rights and respect of children. We are on the cusp of change and many people are looking for alternatives to the traditional schooling model. With Unschooling, we are reprioritizing. We are taking back our freedom and putting happiness, connection and family first! Learning to live consciously and joyfully in the Now, rather than in preparation for the future, is receiving more attention and value. Radical Unschooling philosophy is extending this important understanding to children and families. This is an *evolution in parenting*. You CAN have it all! If this speaks to you, please join us for kind, respectful discussion and support about the RU/LoA life. Welcome! We are so glad you are here! ~Dayna Martin - Listowner & Moderator Group Moderator Sara McGrath "This group has nurtured me and supported me throughout the year I LOVE IT!!!! I love the posts, I love the people, I love the way it opens my mind and heart." Karen"

New England also has it's own unschooling list, with several long time members who have long since been parents to adult always unschooled off spring. The group description reads, "A networking group for unschoolers in Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island and Connecticut."

Whether you are new to unschooling, new to radical unschooling, or just beginning to dip your toe in the ocean of choices that is out there, you have at your fingertips a wealth of information, support, and potential friends in the members of these groups.