Also referred to as "child-directed learning" and "natural learning," the term "unschooling" was originally used by author John Holt. This method is exactly what it says it is: not school. To follow this method, you take everything you know about school — the rigid schedule, the teacher-led activities, the textbooks and so on, and forget it all.
Unschooling is perhaps the most natural progression from the homeschooling foundation a parent has already developed with his child. Learning simply remains a natural part of the day, everyday. The child decides what he wants to work on each day, whether it's going to the library to read books on whales or conducting science experiments in the kitchen all day.
As unschooled children get older, they may integrate outside classes and workshops into their schedule. The key here is that the student is truly managing the schedule and must make arrangements for meeting that schedule. As one unschooled student puts it, "I'm planning what I do, so I have an overwhelming sense of commitment to what I'm doing. Instead of being told what to do and when and simply being shuttled back-and-forth from activity to activity, I get to choose." With this choice comes the responsibility of planning logistics and integrating their schedule into the larger family schedule, making this the ultimate lesson in time-management.
Parents are on hand for support — helping to maintain or foster an enriching and positive learning environment, to answer questions and act as a sounding board for ideas; but it is essentially the child who's in charge here.
For more information about homeschooling, check out How Homeschooling Works.
Here are some interesting links: