'Learning by doing life': Wake Forest mom says unschool is better for her daughters than public school

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (WTVD) -- Laura Matthews is a wife and mother of two. She and her husband recently moved to Wake Forest from Charlotte; however, the pair lived in Virginia before that.

When it came time to send their daughters Adi and Emily to school, Matthews found herself dissatisfied with North Carolina public education options.

Not a fan of common core or busing practices, Matthews did her research and discovered "unschooling."

"Unschooling is basically learning by doing life," she explained.

Unschooling and homeschooling differ because unschooling has no curriculum.

"We explore their passions," Matthews, who doubles as the girls' teacher, said. "We branch off those passions to teach all subjects."

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When ABC11 met up with the trio, they were using their kitchen and dining room as a classroom.

At home, the girls are busy with creative and educational projects like slime making.

The process of making slime covers both math and science, Matthews said.

The girls must measure out ingredients by adding and subtracting, and science came into play when the two learned why different agents make different consistencies and textures.

The pair has also taken an interest in fashion. Soon, they'll work on patterns, cutting, and sewing.

Matthews said all aspects of her daughters' lives are teachable moments.

She said even the grocery store makes the perfect classroom. There, the girls calculate budgets, do a cost analysis and perfect their personal finance skills.

"We have probably weighed every type of produce in the grocery store."

Dr. Kevin Currie-Knight, a professor at East Carolina University, said he's in favor of this type of education.

"Public schools, obviously, they're operating within certain constraints. There's a limit to what teachers can do. There's a limit to what the school can do."

Dr. Currie-Knight said when it comes to college acceptance rates between traditional high school graduates and unschoolers, data, though small but consistent, indicates there's virtually no difference.
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