Graduate Program

Curriculum and Instruction

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Semester of Degree Completion

Fall 2023

Thesis Director

Alexis Jones

Thesis Committee Member

Jeanne E. Okrasinski

Thesis Committee Member

Michael D. Gillespie


Within the homeschooling community, there are many options for educational methods that a family might choose. Unschooling, which is an approach to education that emphasizes self-directed learning and does not follow a set curriculum, is often viewed as inferior to a traditional pre-determined curriculum.

The purpose of this research was to determine whether students who come from families who use traditional curricula to educate their children have drastically different assessment scores from the students in families where they follow their own interests and learn from those activities.

This study uses a mixed-methods approach. There are qualitative results based on case studies on six families, and quantitative results based on the assessment scores achieved by their students.

The research suggests that students from unschooling families scored similarly to those students whose families adhere to a set curriculum rather than engaging purely in self-led learning.

As educators and families plan methodologies to serve students best, this study gives insight into the viability of unschooling in situations where students do not resonate with a specific set curriculum.