We are close to closing out on our fourth year homeschooling (!!!! How did that go so quickly?!) and it’s time to make some changes, officially.
There are a variety of homeschool methods, including one I wish I could do but just doesn’t suit my personality and our life. For the past four years I have thought we were in the “eclectic spectrum” of homeschooling, pulling from a variety of different methods but there is one method we always default to.
That method is unschooling.
Now, before you start freaking out and thinking I am not going to teach my kids anything, let me just say that it isn’t how it sounds.
WHAT UNSCHOOLING IS
First of all, what it is not, is unparenting, our family still has rules, limits on screen time, bedtimes, etc.
What unschooling is at its core is child-led learning.
It involves listening and watching your children and figuring out their interests and strengths and diving into them.
It allows room in the day for boredom for kids to be pushed to find things to do, to be creative, to use their imaginations, to see what interests them.
It involves supplying them with resources and information on topics they are interested in.
All in all I’m not a huge fan of the term “unschooling”, I prefer to call to call it homeschooling as a lifestyle (that’s my own made up term), but the well known term is “unschooling”.
WHY I WAS SCARED OF UNSCHOOLING
I feel like there were two major things holding me back from jumping into unschooling officially, even though I knew it would be great for our family.
One of the reasons was my own public school education. Do you know how hard it is to get the idea of what school is “supposed” to look like out of your head when you’ve gone to school for 13 years (well, plus a few more for college and university)?! Chances are you do know because you probably went to school as well. Even though I know school is not the most conducive environment for learning it is hard to convince yourself of that when that’s how you were educated.
Another reason is my love for check boxes. In some ways I would love to follow a completely laid out curriculum where I can check the boxes and know I am doing “the right thing”. There are no check boxes with unschooling.
WHY WE ARE SWITCHING
Despite my fears I know that unschooling is such a good way to learn.
I mean, it’s how I learn! What do when I want to know more about a topic? I research online, read books, ask an expert in the area, etc, the same thing one does with unschooling. So, since I unschool myself, I realized I can unschool my kids as well.
We naturally default to unschooling in our home. In more difficult seasons, like when we had Buzz and Woody, we tend to naturally fall into unschooling.
Jared and I both see every question the kids ask as a teachable moment and will often help them to figure out the answers to their own questions – that’s unschooling!
I have read a lot about unschooling and watched some really informative videos as well (I’ll include them at the bottom of this post) and every time I am just so on board and agree with (almost) everything.
Honestly, it will look like life.
HOW IT IS GOING TO LOOK
You won’t see us sitting down to “do school”, unschoolers learn throughout the day, every day of the year.
I will look like a lot of free play.
It will look like us using everyday questions as learning opportunities.
It will involve finding our kids’ strengths and interests and helping them find books, videos and resources on those topics.
Here are a few of my favorite unschooling resources:
One of my favorite books about unschooling is An Unschooling Manifesto by Marla Taviano.
There are some great videos on YouTube as well, I found myself nodding through this entire video:
You can also see an unschooling day in the life of that same family (these are the only two videos of theirs that I have watched, just an FYI that I’m not endorsing their entire channel):
If you have any questions about unschooling, leave them in the comments below and I’ll either answer in reply or create another post with some FAQ’s. If you unschool I would like to hear about your experience and any favorite resources you have.
Let the (official) unschooling begin!