About NUG

Northside Unschoolers Group


NUG was formed in 2001 by a small group of parents with pre-school and kindergarten aged children. Influenced and inpired by the ideas of John Holt, Alison Mckee, Mary Griffith, Dorothy Werner and other unschooling pioneers, these parents trusted in their children’s capabilities to learn without schooling, to play, live and learn freely, from life and the people around them. Today the group is comprised of over 100 diverse families with children ages newborn to 18.

The organizational structure of NUG is non-hierarchical (see essay by Earl Gary Stevens) NUG activities are open to all homeschoolers, whether or not they define themselves as “unschoolers.”

Diversity, openmindedness, and flexibility to meet the needs of our children are of utmost importance to NUG families.



NUG enjoys collaborating with other homeschool support groups in and around the city for classes, special projects, fieldtrips and community. Other activities that NUG families have organized include: Girl Scout Troop, Park Days, Beach Day, Family Camping, Parent Support Meeting, Mother’s Tea




NUG History

The development of community amongst the families involved with NUG has always been a priority for the group. NUG’s first organized activity was a playgroup for young children which met weekly at the Portage Park Center for the Arts on the northwest side of Chicago. The playgroup was unstructured, with parents bringing along whatever seemed interesting to their kids at that time; books, dressups, play-dough and craft supplies, board games and musical instruments, which the children were allowed free access to.

As the kids grew, so did the size and needs of the group. The playgroup evolved into “open gym,” and the group moved to the Irving Park Lutheran Church gym. The kids ran, rode bikes and played ball, drew, played all sorts of evolving imaginary games. The playgroup location and age span has changed, but there is one constant; the children are given the freedom to choose how they spend their time at play.



NUG Today

NUG families meet for weekly outdoor play at various parks and at Foster Beach during warm weather. Families are always offering new activities and sharing resources.  Many wonderful family friendships have developed through time spent together at various NUG activities. NUG families bring a great deal of interests and energy to the group dynamic, and because of this, NUG continues to evolve.




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