“What about exams?” is a common question many unschoolers (and homeschoolers) get asked. To be honest, I try to avoid giving an answer to this one and just smile, while I continue to pack the groceries or change the subject. I avoid it because I know my answer will probably blow their minds. If they’re stuck in the belief (as many people are) that exams are essential to education, then there’s nowhere for us to go with this one. It’s best to just leave them alone. But, if I were to answer I would say:
At present, our children are not interested in doing exams because exams are boring, and the only thing you learn from sitting an exam is – how to sit an exam.
We don’t test or grade our children’s passions and interests because…well…what’s the point?
BUT, if our children do decide they want to sit exams they can do so at any age, and they can complete them in a much shorter time than they would if they had been in school….the course work for Maths GCSE is said to take approximately 20 hours (So, I’ve been told).
How will they get into college without exams you ask?….Hmmm, they don’t want to go to college either. They can’t see the point in getting into all that debt. They would rather use that time finding work experience in the real world in an industry that inspires them.
BUT, if they did change their minds and want to go to college, many Further and Higher education institutions love “Unschooled” children, even ones without exams, because they have such a diverse experience of education and are passionate about learning. They are passionate because they have never been “forced” to learn anything and so, have developed an independent joy of learning. In fact, they do not separate the experience of living from learning. For our children, it is the same thing.