Updated 2017-10-11

The courage to let them play

This article explores the question of what gives parents the courage to reject conventional schooling and choose the educational path of unschooling for their children.
Kristan Morrison author
Morrison, K. (2016). The courage to let them play: factors influencing and limiting feelings of self-efficacy in unschooling mothers. Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning, 10(19), 48–81.


Work and play are dichotomized in society and the conventional education system. Stepping outside of society’s educational norms and allowing children more free play/choice is not easy, but more parents are doing it by engaging their children in a homeschooling pedagogy called unschooling. What gives these parents the courage to walk down an unconventional educational path?

This article explores factors influencing and limiting feelings of self-efficacy in mothers who unschool. This paper provides an overview of homeschooling, focuses in on unschooling and its connections to play, provides an overview of Bandura’s (1977) theory on self-efficacy, and then interweaves this theory with the experiences of unschooling mothers.

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