Senior Unschooling Dads, Testimonials

Ron Patterson -Retired Major USAF

Retired Major USAF, Texas, USA

I don’t know a lot about unschooling. But I had faith in my wife and faith in my kids.

We have many things to learn in life but you don’t necessarily have to learn any of it in school. People think that’s the only way, but it’s not. Frankly, I learn a lot better when someone isn’t telling me what to do. I see something that crosses my path and suddenly I want to find out more about it. Then one thing leads to another… and another… and another. Why wouldn’t kids be the same way?

Life is full of great adventures and you should take every opportunity to pursue them. That’s how we saw it and how we lived it. Some of the things we did:

  • Hiked on a volcano.
  • Sailed on a tall ship in the San Francisco Bay.
  • Built a horse arena.
  • Built an ice rink in the back yard.
  • Walked through the Red Woods (literally).
  • Saw grizzly bears in the wild.
  • Saw a humpback whale from about ten feet.
  • Watched gray whales migrate up the coast of Alaska.
  • Pitched a tent in the middle of a lake and then went ice fishing.
  • Threw a cup of hot water up in the air and never saw it hit the ground (we were in Alaska).
  • Participated in a civil war re-enactment on Angel Island.
  • Hiked multiple mountain peaks.
  • Climbed waterfalls on the banks of the Colorado River in Texas.
  • Visited the deck of the only ship sunk twice in World War II (USS Enterprise).
  • Learned to ride horses, raise chickens, bale hay on our own ranch.
  • Learned about history, science, the world through movies together.
  • Wandered around the battlefield of Custer’s last stand.
  • Learned about the Japanese culture as we hosted an exchange student.
  • Spent a week in Washington, D.C., visiting museums, monuments, and fascinating sights.

These are some of my fondest memories – things we were able to do because we did not bother with school schedules or school ideas about what’s important to learn. My kids are now grown—21, 24, and 26—all making a living, happy with their lives.

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Ron Patterson

About Ron Patterson

Ron Patterson has retired as a Major in the USAF and also as the Director of Christopher House, the only inpatient hospice facility in Austin, Texas. Ron leaves the online networking to his wife. She would be happy to help anyone and can be found online at

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