Famous Unschoolers: Olympic Gold Medalist Jamie Anderson

Jamie Anderson is the next in our famous unschooler’s series, and this is especially fun, because, unlike the others we have covered so far, she is a contemporary!  Jamie is the first woman to win gold in slopestyle snowboarding.

2D11588201-jamie2.blocks_desktop_mediumJamie with her mom (photo credit: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

In an interview with Today, Jamie’s mom discusses her “unconventional” approach to the education of her children: “I wanted them to be like children, playing outside, running and jumping and not sitting inside at a desk.  They got to be free, building their bodies, protecting their spirits and minds, and not being pushed or pressured.”

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(photo credit: itsjamieanderson.com)

The focus was on being outdoors and following their hearts.  “They went on the mountain and skied and snowboarded and they took the bus, and then they came home and did schoolwork — just to make it official.  There wasn’t a big push for them to read and write and do arithmetic. I wanted them to learn how to get along and let life be the teacher. Character-building was more important than academics.”

Lauren, Jamie’s mom, was often criticized by those close to the family, worrying that the children weren’t being challenged academically.  But she felt that it was more important that the children followed what they dreamed.  Each of her eight children has been successful.

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Photo credit: theskichannel.com

Jamie says, “It brings tears to my eyes, how much I feel that same vibration that kids should be kids. I think it’s sad how much time kids have to spend inside nowadays and I have so much gratitude for how my mom and dad chose to raise my family.  I look now at how successful we all are — and I believe what my mom says that kids are naturally driven to learn and progress.”