I spend a lot of my “Social Media Time” in unschooling groups, and on unschooling pages, sharing unschooling memes, and reading unschooling articles. Because of this, I forget that there are people out there who might not think unschooling is the best idea, and some who don’t even know what it is. For a long time I have been putting off writing an article about what unschooling means to us and why we uncshool. But I think it is time. It is kind of overwhelming, so I am going to tackle it in smaller chunks, starting with a basic idea of what unschooling is, and how unschoolers learn without a curriculum.
What is Unschooling:
I used to tell people who asked that unschooling was “Homeschooling without the curriculum,” but calling Unschooling a lack of curriculum is like calling the ocean a lack of air. Unschooling is journey, it is an intimate relationship with your children where all parties are treated with equal respect. Unschooling fosters creativity, encourages curiosity, follows passions, and chases dreams.
So, what is unschooling? It is learning from real life, in the real world. There is no distinction made between life and learning. Life is learning, and learning is life.
“When pressed, I define unschooling as allowing children as much freedom to learn in the world, as their parents can comfortably bear.” ~John Holt
The World is Your Textbook
Humans are always learning. It’s what we do. If you’re not learning, you’re dead. So I chuckle a little inside when people ask how our children learn. To give you an idea, here are a few of the “pages” from our “Unschooling Textbook”
- Nature Centers
- Bird Feeders
- Youtube (MinuteEarth and CrashCourse are two of my favorite channels)
- Books, Books, and more Books! (Fiction, Non-Fiction, Pictures, No Pictures)
- The woods
- Caterpillars, ants, worms, slugs, snails
- People at the grocery store
- The University of Utah
- Magnifying Glasses
- Taking things apart
- Reading Eggs
There is no shortage of knowledge out there, and it doesn’t have to be funneled through a teacher, a professor, a priest, or anyone else. It is available to anyone who looks for it. Any activity is an opportunity for discussion. Something as simple as bird watching can lead to learning about animal behavior, biology, anatomy, the diversity of life, the history of aviation, light and color, the properties of air, or phases of matter.
But the most important part of unschool learning is the motivation. Instead of being motivated by fear, coercion, or imaginary rewards (such as grades) they are driven by their passions, desires, dreams and goals.
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