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Deschooling with Pam Laricchia


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Today I’m here with my friend Pam Laricchia talking about Deschooling and how the transition into unschooling mirrors the hero’s journey. Pam is a long-time unschooling mom whose three children left school back in 2002. She loves exploring unschooling and sharing the fascinating things she’s discovered about learning and parenting along the way (through her books, podcast, and website at

Adventure of the Week

This week I talk about our adventure at Pump It Up and the rambunctious fun that was had by all.


Story: Pam is curious and follows the joy in her unschooling with her husband and 3 grown and unschooled children, with a focus on connection.

Deschooling: The process of revisiting all the conventional wisdom around learning and parenting that we absorbed growing up – the transition into unschooling.

Hero’s Journey: Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces outlines the Hero Monomyth that extends across all stories. Pam overlaid this hero monomyth framework onto the deschooling journey.

Beginner’s Mind: Bravely question everything and hold a default mindset of curiosity.

Children as Guides: If we are really seeing our children, they will guide us through how learning unfolds naturally.

Truths: Teaching is not necessary for learning. Curriculum is not necessary. Learning is fun. Children are capable of making choices. Fair doesn’t mean equal. Quitting is not a failure.

Discomfort and Integration: There is no growth in comfort. “I need time without my kids to be myself and meet my needs – that idea was not serving me at all.”

Approval, Rightness, and Acceptance:  In school everything and everyone is to be measured using judgement, blame, and shame, setting everyone up in competition. The parenting paradigm mirrors this framework, often resulting in us chasing approval, judging rightness, and unwilling to accept others who and where they are. We also touch on judgment and planting seeds.

Interfacing with Mainstream Society: A cocooning period is normal, just like in the transition into parenthood post birth. It is also helpful to connect with your kids before and after significant experiences around what to expect, what can be gained, and how tough situations can be handled. It’s also valuable to assertively set boundaries while in connection with your children so they learn how to navigate those tricky situations when they have to advocate for their rights and want to celebrate their diversity.


I posted in my Sage Parenting Tribe on Facebook that we were going to chat about deschooling and asked if they had any questions about it. Mandy wants to know how long it’s going to take. The general rule of thumb is one month for each year of schooling but the real answer is never, as you hopefully never stop learning and growing.

Dive Deeper

Disclosure: When I recommend a product that I believe will add value for you, it may contain an affiliate link. When you click the link to make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

I highly recommend Pam’s new book The Unschooling Journey: A Field Guide.

You can also sign up to get Pam’s free intro to unschooling ebook What is Unschooling?, browse her podcast archives, and peruse her books at

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  1. Jessica says:

    As a mom preparing to deschool from public school, this has given me so many a-ha moments! Thank you! I have a much greater view of how I can grow, particularly in how to take part of public space while being “different”. <3

  2. Abbey says:

    Pam mentions Jo’s blog who was also on your podcast. Can you also link to that? I can’t remember which episode Jo is!

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I work from an island in the Pacific Northwest, where I live wild and free in connection with my hilarious husband and three growing sailors in our fixer upper on the beach. I authentically live this healing work out loud raising my own neurodivergent family (inner child included) and draw on my decades of education and experience (I've done all the nerdy work so you don't have to) to guide a revolution of overwhelmed parents just like you to feeling at peace within yourself, consciously connected with your children, embraced by a supportive community, and enjoying a values-aligned life you love.

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