Wild and Free Book Review

I post a picture like this with my kiddos playing on the river and I’m so #wildandfree right? #charlottemason? #adventurelearning ? or whatever else. I don’t know about all that.
Sometimes we go to the river when we feel like it.


Can I just leave it at that? 😂

Sometimes this homeschool mom gets caught up in all the educational philosophy jargon. Today I heard a mom describe herself as wild and free but does Classical Conversations. The term “wild and free” doesn’t seem to go with “rigorous education”. for my literal-thinking brain. I’ve read the latest book on the Wild and Free movement to understand what is really meant by that phrase, because it has been a bit of an enigma to me since I first heard it years ago.

You will usually find the buzz phrase Wild+Free hashtagged under an Insta pic of kids in the woods. It’s been a bit of an enigma to me as I know many friends who lay claim to this style of hs while also implementing other philosophies. I’ve noticed there are very few purists in any philosophical educational camp and blending methods is the M.O. these days. But for an absolute person like me, I find it hard to hear relative terms being thrown around.

I was excited to see the woman who coined the term Wild+Free write a book to explain her theory. After reading it, I understand why I have always been confused by the term. The term is a misnomer. Her method isn’t wild and it isn’t free in the sense a person assumes when hearing the phrase without any explanation. Many descriptive words were used repeatedly in the book. I wish she would have called her lifestyle Intentionally Passionate. That doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, though.

Wild+Free is this: her kids go outside a lot, then she has them do typical school, then gives the kids lots of time in the afternoons to pursue their interests. It is clear her kids aren’t running amok like the “Wild+Free” label lends itself too. She is intentional with her kids and listens to their desires to cultivate an education that will prove useful to their unique skill sets and interests. Which we can all agree to that! A huge part of her lifestyle is nature. She “found myself in nature”. This is where I would argue that I find myself in Christ. I do not need to walk in the woods to find myself. However, I want us to love nature in light of God creating it and using it to His glory. If you aren’t fully discerning, her book can lean towards nature as an idol; she prefers to quote Confucius and not the Bible.

2 of her kids are tech heavy
The W+F idea is not new, but she’s packaged it in a way that is relevant and easy to follow in today’s world, which is awesome. By her definition, Ben was raised #wildandfreechildren while doing Abeka.

Now knowing her definition, I don’t know a single homeschooling family who isn’t wild and free. A huge part of homeschooling is to allow time for interest lead learning.
Also, there’s nothing in the Bible that describes what a proper childhood is. And if you are someone who doesn’t like nature, you are not wrong for not being in nature. Don’t let others lead you to believe that childhood=nature adventures. The only example of Jesus as a child is him studying.

There’s a lot of useful things in the book, but read it with a lot of caution.


  1. M

    Thank you. This post was really helpful, and confirms some of my impressions of this movement (childhood and nature idolized). I really don’t see why I would need to pay to join a group so that I can go for hikes with friends. I have already been doing that since I was very young, and continue to do that as a homeschool mom. This is free recreation. I have a degree in Biology, and lots of field guides on hand, so lots of ideas for lessons (if we want to, but most of the time our goals are getting fresh air + exercise, fellowship, spending time in God’s creation, and adventure). I gleaned some nice ideas from this movement from what I could glean for free online, but I don’t plan to be constrained by someone’s vision of how our outside adventures with friends look, or follow their plans. Thank you for giving me enough insight so I could avoid buying the book or paying to join. 🙂

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