5 Reasons Why Everyone Should Give Unschooling a Try

On this 8-year journey that we call homeschooling, we’ve been all over the “methods spectrum.” We started out strictly (and mindlessly) replicating school at home with disastrous results. After learning from our (my) mistakes, we moved onto unit studies which were so much more pleasant for us. More time passed, and after spending quite a bit of time reading some life-changing books, I decided to take a leap of faith and try out unschooling for awhile.  Continue reading “5 Reasons Why Everyone Should Give Unschooling a Try”

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Maybe “Educational” Should Be a Bad Word

I originally wrote this in 2014 when we were still in the midst of unschooling. Although our homeschool approach has changed since then, I still believe many of the philosophies that follow this style of learning. Learning happens all the time in all situations. I hope you find this post to be an encouragement! 

There's No Place Like Home

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Calm down…I know what you’re thinking. To clarify myself, I am not against education, just society’s definition of it.

Just what exactly is considered to be educational by most people?

– Something that fits neatly into a  school board-approved subject- i.e. English, Math, Science, etc.

– Something which is learned out of textbooks, then tested and graded

– Anything which is covered in standardized testing and the Common Core

Makes sense, right? It’s all very straightforward…

…or is it?

An important question here is who decides what is considered to be educational? That’s easy….school boards and the government. Oh, boy. That’s a problem for me. Our government can’t handle running the country- the job we hired them for. Why would we throw something else at them for them to control, particularly, our children’s futures? I don’t know about you, but that’s a problem for me.

This brings me…

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5 Reasons Your Child Stops Being Curious After Starting School

Have you ever taken the time to actually sit down and watch a toddler? They’re fascinating little people. They have this extraordinary gift of being able to find something to do with any object they come across. Granted, they’re not always things we want them to do, but their plans are usually ingenious just the same.

Ask any parent of a preschooler about their little one and they’re bound to tell you multiple stories of how their precious children manage to get into everything. Besides that, there are the constant questions: Why is the bee on that flower? Why is that flower pink? What do worms eat? Are worms bugs?  Continue reading “5 Reasons Your Child Stops Being Curious After Starting School”

Looking at the Bright Side of Unschooling

Finding balance within your homeschool is the key to superior learning, and some unschooling philosophies can play a key role in that.

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Image courtesy of lekkyjustdoit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

After writing yesterday’s post about our experience with unschooling, I began to wonder if I was able to adequately convey our good experiences with it. I fear that there was a bit of negativity at the end, and I felt the need to clarify myself.

I am not against unschooling. I feel that some of its philosophies about allowing children to pursue their own interests and using life as a curriculum hit the nail right on the head. I have seen first-hand how much children learn when they have a vested interest in something. In fact, our family still uses natural learning as an important part of our homeschooling routine. Our structured learning normally takes only about two hours a day, while the rest of the day is open for my children to engage in anything they find useful and interesting.

What this has looked like this past week has been my son deciding that he would like to become a wildlife photographer after spending hours at the creek every day taking photos like these:

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Spending six hours a day doing structured school work would have prevented him from committing the time he did towards this project. Is this as valuable as book work? I’d have to say that this holds even more value because this is something he initiated on his own and will, therefore, remember all the better.

Before our unschool experiment, I would have scoffed if he had asked me to go to the creek during the school day every single day for an entire week. I would have lectured him about the importance of getting an education. Unschooling taught me to recognize that this is an education.

It also gave me the ability to see the worth in seemingly mundane things that many parents overlook. Caring for a sick baby bird. Making homemade paint out of sidewalk chalk. Helping the neighbor in her garden. These are all things I would happily set aside school work for in order to pursue.

Does this mean I do not assign value to book learning? Absolutely not. I am a self-professed nerd, and I realize that there are some things that are better learned with some structure- usually some sort of book, but not always.

It all comes down to balance. At the end of the day- at least with my children- there are some things which are best learned when they are taught, and there are other things best left to experience in real life. This is what homeschooling is all about. Finding the balance that is right for your family and allowing the joy that follows to shine through.

For more photos like these, you can follow my son on Instagram!

 

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