About The Unschooler Experiment

Peter Kowalke working on Grown Without Schooling

Peter Kowalke working on the Grown Without Schooling documentary in June, 2000.

It all started as a journey to make sense of the world. To make sense of the giant experiment that is homeschooling and self-directed learning.

Lifelong unschooler Peter Kowalke, who was speaking at homeschooling conferences and writing a column for Home Education Magazine at the time, noticed that there were parts of his homeschooling experience that were not openly discussed.

In the push to prove that homeschooling worked, some of the challenges and the lasting influences of home education were glossed over or not explored. This was a problem because Peter wanted to understand himself, and for that he needed perspective. He also wanted to share the journey with a community of likeminded friends.

Out of this need came more columns on adult unschoolers, more discussions on the phone and at homeschooling conferences, and ultimately a feature-length documentary. These were not propaganda pieces. These were frank and meaty discussions that were soul-searching, honest and sometimes scary because they were about finding truth and not about advocating a position. These were discussions among homeschoolers about homeschooling, not partisan opinion pieces or Homeschooling 101.

The Unschooler Experiment is a continuation of that discussion. It is an exploration of the lasting influence of home education and a celebration of people who question and experiment. We have a section on unschooling basics for parents and journalists, and the rest of the site will be of general interest, too, and but we’re not here for that. We’re here to find meaning and understanding in our own lives.

Unschooling is a lifelong journey. It is about experimenting and, to quote M.K. Gandhi, about being the change you want to see in the world.


Peter Kowalke, editor-in-chief
Peter is an editor, producer and lifelong unschooler based in New York City.

Jessica Barker, associate editor – college
Jessica is a 21-year-old lifelong unschooler from North Carolina and an associate editor at The Unschooler Experiment. You can find her personal blog here.

Starrwyn Tonkin, associate editor
Starrwyn is an unschooling, re-thinking everything mom to four.  Originally from South Africa, she now lives on the beautiful, tropical island of Mauritius.

Brian Walton, columnist – books
Brian Walton is a librarian and grown homeschooler who currently lives in Tampa, Fla. He’s written for the Library Journal and contributed a chapter to the book, You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News: Shocking but Utterly True Facts.