People tend to give me funny looks when they find out we homeschool. When I tell them that we unschool they are downright puzzled. What is unschooling you may ask?
Living and learning outside the box.
Not sitting in a classroom all day, and not making a classroom setting in your home. It’s learning as you live, with no form of “traditional’ school involved.
Child led learning.
I don’t know about you, but I HATE being told I have to learn something I have no interest in or no use for. It’s no different for kids. MiniMe chooses what she wants to learn. She loves math, science, art, computers, nature and animals. She is excited to learn how to write in cursive, and learn multiplication and how to care of animals. Also, she is getting very good at researching her interests. She will look up facts and watch YouTube videos, then she will come bounding in to tell me about everything she learned, then dash back to the computer to learn more.
Learning through experiences.
Just a simple task such as grocery shopping offers so much to learn. How to budget, make a list and stick to to it, how to use math to figure out the best deals; i.e. is the buy 3 for $4 a better deal than 1.50 a piece? If grapes are 1.50 per lb how much will 3. lbs cost us? Oh look the car got a flat tire, lets take care of that. Lets bake cupcakes, this recipe makes 12 cupcakes, we need 24 so how do we do that?
Learning from everyone.
When you are in school you are just learning from teachers. We provide a lot of opportunities to learn from everyone around us. Going to our local farm and learning how to care for the cows, how to milk a cow, etc. Learning from other homeschoolers. We are a part of a few groups and co-ops and we share our knowledge and skills with each other. Next month I will be hosting a ceramic class, as that is part of what I do as an artist.
Knowing a set curriculum is not needed.
Not everyone learns at the same pace. Not everyone wants to learn the same thing. With a set curriculum you have X amount of time to learn about Y. What happens if Y is really really interesting, and X wasn’t enough time to really explore and learn what you want to learn about Y. With unschooling we cantake 2 weeks to learn in depth about any given subject that would get 3 days in a traditional school. On the flip side, if there is no interest in subject A, you can just skip over it. You may come back to it later because there is an interest at another date, or you may not at all, and that’s ok.
We have the ability to decide, today is just such a beautiful day lets go to the lake and explore. Or maybe it is a glorious rainy day where all you want to do is snuggle up with a soft blanket, a good book and a cuppa. We aren’t restricted by “have to”. We don’t “have to” go to school and miss a fun day at the lake, we don’t “have to” go out and have PE in the rain etc.
The idea of child lead learning is baffling to many. “So you just let her run wild and do whatever she wants?” “How will she ever learn anything like that?” “My kid would just play video games all day!” “How will she learn socialization?”
Unschooling doesn’t mean just leaving them to their own devices.
It’s not unparenting. We don’t do traditional school, but we absolutely still parent! We take our childs interests and follow them. MiniMe loves Minecraft and she loves math, my mom found a fantastic Minecraft math book. MiniMe adores it! She loves video games so we found some books on game programming and she made her own games! She loves science and nature so we have an annual pass to our science center. It is still interacting with your child, still spending time with them, guiding them, but letting them learn on their own terms.
So, it truly is much more than this, but it is a lot to fit in one post. I will be adding more posts on unschooling throughout the year.