There are many ways that parents choose to home-school their children and one of these methods is known as unschooling.
Unschooling is a very non traditional method which is mainly child directed. It allows children to learn through activities that they choose. There is very little or no time spent sitting at a desk doing worksheets or taking notes. I am not sure how it got to be called unschooling as there really is a ton of learning taking place, but I suppose it is just that it goes in the opposite direction of how we picture a typical public school classroom.
Children are able to learn in so many different ways. I want to give my children a chance to learn in a way that suits them best. When we give our children the tools they need to understand how to learn they will use these to go beyond anything we can imagine for them. It is my goal to instill a love of learning in my children because if they love to learn now they will continue to learn throughout their lives.
We have not always been an unschooling family.
It was a transition that took place after we decided to travel full time in our RV. The whole sitting down and doing lessons thing just wasn’t working for us. At first my husband and I were worried they weren’t getting the education they needed. However, after a few months we decided that they seemed to be learning more than ever. So we relaxed about sitting and doing lessons in a formal way, and let the unschooling begin.
Field trips have become the basis for our education. Visiting museums, parks, and touring factories are a large part of our unschool days. We love learning things by getting a hands on experience with them. History, science, and nature are weighted heavily in our children’s education. They also learn daily life skills by helping with chores, shopping, and meal preparations. A small allowance is given for their help, which teaches them money management skills as well.
There is definitely a lot of learning taking place in our unschool!
A typical day for us starts out with waking up, usually without an alarm, but we use one if we need to. We eat breakfast together as a family, then we get dressed. Most days we will get a picnic lunch ready to take with us on our field trip. These field trips will take us to places such as science museums, state capitol buildings, hiking trails, and many other educational destinations. Our outings usually have us out until dinner time. After dinner we might do math, write out some post cards or have a fire and tell stories. Last thing of course is getting ready for bed, but before the kids go to sleep we always read a story together. This is what an unschool day usually looks like for us.
Many of the places we visit often have school groups visiting while we are there. For us this means that other educators also feel these are places that children can learn in. By visiting state capitol buildings the children learn not only about how government works, but about the history of the state we are in. My daughter loves to learn the state facts, such as the state bird and state tree.
Science museums provide us with so many aspects of learning not just science. Many of these museums have staff members doing experiments with the children which my youngest loves taking part in. Participating in the Junior Ranger programs at national and state parks has also been an excellent resource for our unschooling education. The kids love doing the activities and often end up completing the entire book. We also enjoy that we can all learn from each other, especially while we are enjoying a nice hike in a beautiful location.
Traveling has given us such wonderful opportunities to learn together as a family.
Our transition to unschooling was unintentional, but we have no regrets or worries about it. The children are learning and to me that they learn is more important than what they learn. As long as we keep challenging them to be the best that they can be, we know them better than anyone else, and expect more from them everyday, they will rise to those expectations and exceed them. Public school, home-school or unschool, as long as children are learning and being challenged any method can work. If they are healthy and they are happy they can learn.
Here are a few other articles about how we teach our children:
Here are some links that you might find useful