Unschooling

My friend Erin asked me if I would share about unschooling and how we were inspired to take this journey. With all the kids currently asleep I am going to attempt to share with you all a bit.

We started out homeschooling in a structured way. We started the year our oldest would have gone to Kindergarten. We didn’t have much money but I worked to find curriculum that would fit our budget. That year I caused more tears to flow from the two of us than the Hoover dam sees water. So I backed off a bit…ok a lot and began to search for something better.

During that time I met an unschooling mom online and then made a friend with an unschooling mom in real life. Between these two women I really began to journey ever faster toward unschooling. We were much more relaxed but we weren’t there yet. Even in the relaxed atmosphere I still felt something was missing.

So I read. Better Late than Early by Raymond and Dorothy Moore, The Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewellyn, anything by John Holt I could get a hold of as well as John Taylor Gatto and I read online articles written my unschooling parents.  And I prayed. I prayed and asked God what I was supposed to do. What I was doing wasn’t working. I felt that I was supposed to back off even more and trust that the child that He created was equipped with passions that were uniquely hers and that she was equipped to discover them and to pursue them. I was to be a facilitator.

So life was full of library trips and late night reads. Games, games and more games, play dates, conversations, observations and just plain living. Living and learning were not separate things; they were intertwined. One cannot exist without the other.

We have been total unschoolers for almost 7 years now. It has been a fun and interesting journey. I have had panic moments when I felt that they weren’t where they were supposed to be. I have to pull myself back and remind myself that they are neither behind nor ahead they are just where they need to be. I have had to deschool myself.  We don’t apply grades although my oldest likes to say what grade she is in. I don’t test them; there are no set hours of learning during the day. I have kids that stay up late and sleep in late. They become inspired at 9pm and their learning energy flows until the wee hours of the morning.  I make suggestions, I bring home books from the library based on what they have shared with me in conversation, we talk, and I ask questions about what they share with me. Nothing is ever forced.

Our days are varied. No two look the same. We live and we learn and we go where life takes us. The best part is that I get to learn along with my kids.

Feel free to ask anymore questions you might have. I will answer them as time and children allow! 🙂

 

 

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7 thoughts on “Unschooling

  1. This is fantastic and thank you for sharing!
    I am just on the way out the door, but I am going seek out some of these books and I am SURE I will have lots of questions for you in the future!
    Thank you thank you thank you!!!
    xo

  2. See I knew I subbed to you for the right reasons.Your philosophy is the same as mine.. although.. I am SURROUNDED by the Public Schooled folks.. one who have had their brains, brainwashed into thinking that institutional learning is the only way and the RIGHT way.. blah.My children each have unique qualities and yet stand out, (sometimes quite a bit) from most other kids. They struggle with putting their thoughts into speech and reading is a daily hurdle.I am fine with our unschooled life although the constant pressure and reminders of “are you children where they should be in their learning” is just a constant, unwelcome nag.Its separating our extended family.. we are pulling ourselves away from unwelcomed advise and yet.. we are the ones who are “wrong”.I envy your relaxed ton of this blog.. dear husband and I had a very serious, and quite hurtful conversation about “where are we going with the kids schooling,” “how will they survive when they are older and on their own if certain skills are not learned?”.We can’t predict their future.. I think God is nudging me back to him.. to get on my knees and hand it all over to him… my husband is still reluctant to see that need, but his time is coming.Oh gosh I blogged on your blog… HUGS and shutting up!

  3. It’s great to read how people found unschooling, very encouraging post!
    We do have a similar thing, when my oldest was 6 we tried a little structured curriculum. It was brief, we did an hour a day for 6 weeks, it was torture, he cried, I cried. We would hurry up and do it so we could get on with our life, I mean DUH!
    I put the books on the shelf and left my kid alone and got online and read until my eyes bugged out. I always knew we would homeschool, I hate the institution but didn’t know what else to do. I deschooled big time, I knew there was a better way I just had to seek it out. My son and I joke now about how I detrimented him for 6 weeks of his life… The truth is though after that brief period he had to deschool. I vowed to never torture my kids, my other 3 are always unschooled and so is Kieran except for those 6 weeks.

  4. I just read Better Late Than Early and it really set me free in so many ways. I am a people pleaser and I CONSTANTLY worry about what other people are thinking. But I feel myself going more and more toward “unschooling”. We are certainly less structured than we used to be. And it just feels “right”. I am so anal and organized tho, it’s been an inner struggle. Thanks for sharing this…it’s very enlightening. Looks like lots of us are gleaning insight from you. I thought you were going to post more baby pics!!!

  5. Thanks for describing your unschooling journey. Much like us. I would say one thing that has made it hard is we do not know one other unschooling family IRL. This summer my 11 yr old told me she wanted to make her own plans, so she has planned her school year – much like traditional homeschooling. I think it is because all her homeschooled friends have lesson plans. But they’re hers, I didn’t do it. But it does make me realize how isolated we are. As for the twins we will follow their whims wherever they may take us.

  6. YAY for unschooling. Someone who has known me a couple months now said to me yesterday “your kids do so much more than just read and play Legos!” I;m like “yeah, people just don’t understand..”

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