Unschooling - how we do it in our family
"Intuitive Unschooling - How to Home School for Success"
- Intuitive Unschooling - How to Home School for Success: Monika Mraovic: Amazon.com: Kindle Store
Intuitive Unschooling - How to Home School for Success: Monika Mraovic: Amazon.com: Kindle Store
People nowadays are familiar with homeschooling and what that may entail but when it comes to unschooling they may not know exactly what it is. The term unschooling was originally coined by John Holt in 1970s. Generally, unschooling means following your child's interests in regards to learning, abandoning typical school model based on grades and curricula. Unschoolers usually learn through play or play based activities and life itself...
Now, there are as many types of unschoolers as there are people who follow that philosophy. I believe that each family chooses what works for them and their children and adopts some of the principles of one or another homeschooling strategy. While there are many types of homeschooling options available to choose from, among them Montessori, Waldorf, classical, Charlotte Mason and unschooling, parents seldom stick with only one of them and create an eclectic way to school their children.
Art is child's self-expression
How did we start?
When my firstborn was a toddler, I wasn't really much interested in all that but instead I did what most mothers do. I answered millions of questions on daily basis to satisfy my daughter's natural curiosity. When she was three we were spending hours on our sofa paging through various books. She was interested in many things and consequently we were exploring more of this world's secrets. As she was getting older, her questions were becoming more detail oriented and specific. It led me to a place where we are now. We decided that there was no good reason to put her in a regular school, instead we enrolled her in a public charter school that allows us a lot of freedom to choose what we are going to study.
Free play is the best learning at an early age
Our experience is unique and so will be yours.
Our unschooling experience is not typical and most likely not similar to other unschooling families. In general, I would classify it as unschooling simply because we don't follow any curriculum. I often joke that our curriculum is our local library, we check out tons of books on various subjects ranging from volcanoes, dinosaurs, history, geography to art appreciation. I personally have very wide interests and encourage my daughter to read with me anything that sparks her interest or mine. Last year, when she was in kindergarten we studied, for example: natural disasters, tectonic plates, climates, geography of the world, cultures. That plus we did a ton of reading just for the pure fun of it. As I am particular about selecting books that have at the same time beautiful illustrations, meaningful content and rich vocabulary we enjoyed many splendid books . This year we are exploring famous composers, painters, universe, world mythology, some of religions. She is a good reader, has an enthusiasm for math and science and is an outspoken confident young lady. We are meeting and exceeding the standards for her grade but we have so much more fun and lots of time to pursue other hobbies. We are not limited to learning at home. As I am driving her to a swimming pool we often have the greatest conversations in the car. Learning can be done ALL THE TIME, it doesn't end at 3PM when the class is dismissed. Our unschooling is really driven by my passion for sharing my knowledge with her and her enthusiasm to absorb it, just because she is not forced into it and has a lot of choices. If she feels like drawing instead of studying something more serious, I let her because I know that sooner or later she will come back to talk about stars and the origins of the Universe. I learnt to be flexible and allow her a lot of autonomy in her studies. On another hand, I feel I need sometimes to push her a little to direct her into something she wouldn't be comfortable with at first.
Not for everyone, perhaps.
My model of homeschooling may not be for everyone. Some parents prefer to have a good outline of what they are going to teach their children. They like to see what is coming next and what they will be doing next week. Curriculum offers preplanned lessons, all it takes is to follow it. On another hand, what I am doing is very random and curiosity driven. We don't have any preset schedules. It all depends on me and my enthusiasm to select materials that are exciting enough to attract her. It fits our needs and works great. I am sharing it here to give my readers a food for thought, hoping that someone may choose to try my approach. Maybe that someone will come to a conclusion that homeschooling is not that hard as it may look like. To homeschool you don't really need to make school at home with rigid rules and school mindset. It is actually very liberating to design your own learning experience.