Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Crazy Little Thing Called................ Unschooling {part one}


Most days, it doesn't feel crazy at all, but other days, a little worry sneaks up. There are so many ways to approach homeschooling, and each homeschooling family approaches teaching their children differently, and that's okay. Some of us replicate public/private school in our home and others, way on the other side of the spectrum, have chosen a hugely different path. We're not looking for a 'school' experience in our home, a parent led learning, no, we've chosen a radically different path. We want our children to have the time and space to figure out who  they are and what their personal passions may be. We feel that children should not just be capable in the subjects taught in brick and mortar schools, but that they should be a complete and diverse bundle of knowledge. The kind of knowledge that doesn't necessarily come from a lecture or a text book. The kind of knowledge that exists only when you give your child all the time in the world to figure it out for themselves. Often, this means that my child may be a bit behind yours in a particular subject regarded as 'important' in our educational system, but waaaaaaay ahead in subjects that other children may never even be exposed to in their learning.



When we began homeschooling nearly seventeen years ago, I had no idea that unschooling was even a thing. I began buying curriculum pretty similar to what is taught in schools so my child would be just as smart as a schooled child with no gaps in his education and therefore no guilty conscience on my part that I'd messed him up. Gradually our schooling became more and more relaxed, but it would still be quite a few years before I would embrace unschooling.



So why am I rambling on about unschooling, because I regret that I didn't even know what unschooling was and I wasn't confident enough to allow my children this learning freedom until only a couple of years back. I was a "closet unschooler' for at least a year because I was afraid of what other homeschooling families would think of me. Worried that they would think I'd lost my marbles, and yes, I'll be honest, some of my friends don't agree with my choice and they continue to believe that a curriculum based homeschool is the best way to go. It's definitely the safe choice, but I'm no longer interested in safe, I believe that my children are thriving in this environment and I'm honestly in awe at the growth of their passions. So I'm rambling on because I'm hoping that if you've ever considered unschooling, maybe you'll start sooner than later and would not waste precious years like I did. 



So this will be a several part series, I've so much to say about unschooling! Once you are committed to pursuing this learning style, what does it look like? I'll let you peek in on our days, not that we're unschooling experts or anything, but just so you can see what we do here at our house. 



AND, every photo in this series...... taken by our daughters. With all of the free time we've allowed them, they've gotten pretty serious about photography. That's going to be my favorite part of these posts, because I'm just in awe of their talent at twelve and fourteen. Love their photos.
  
So stick around if you're curious about unschooling. I'll get part two up next week. 



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12 comments:

  1. I homeschooled too and you do have to do what works best for you. We traveled the world with hubbies job so my son go a wonderful education just through travel. He snorkeled with stingrays and all kinds of exotic fish, had the experience of seeing different cultures, and enjoyed being a kid. He would have never learned like that in school. I taught him how to read by playing games and math by building our house. I wouldn't take any of it back for a minute. He also graduated at 16, had a full time job at 15 and is 20 now with a job most 40 year olds couldn't take on. He's so bright and mature and I attribute it all to homeschooling, learning lessons and morals at home, and being exposed to so many things in life. I loved reading your story and can't wait for part 2 :)

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    1. I got goosebumps just reading your comment Dawn! We've had a similar experience with our oldest, minus all that cool travel stuff y'all had, and we couldn't be prouder of him. Remember that pop-up we're redoing? Hitting the road with the three we have left at home and I'm positively giddy!

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  2. Your children will lack in no good thing. What an exciting journey.

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    1. Scary exciting yes, but I'm so excited to watch it all unfold! It's always nice to know that others share in my logic! Keep up your good work mama!

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  3. I am so glad you are doing this series, thank you.

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  4. I am super excited to read the blog post series. You know my feelings on the subject and would love to learn more.
    Blessings
    Diane

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  5. That really is a novel concept, Amy. Although I don't have any kids that are in school I am interested in knowing more about it. xo Diana

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  6. Love this! We are what I call conservative unschoolers..if that is even a thing haha! I am excited to hear more of what you do and gain a bit of inspiration. You know I love anything homeschool related! :)

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  7. I'm so excited to read your posts about unschooling. We have graduated 2 sons and probably would be considered pretty relaxed. They weren't intending on going to college but now both are there, and are doing well. However my 15yo daughter is not wanting to go college -- she has many interests and is creative. My question is, if you unschool and they don't want to do a subject (in her case, math) do you just let it go? Thanks for taking the time to write these post on your homeschooling journey!

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    1. Dana, excellent question, in fact, I think it's the biggest question from folks wondering how it all works out. It was my biggest question for years before we finally went full on unschooling. My next post on unschooling will cover that biggie and more as I'm starting with unschooling your tweens and teens. That post will be up mid week, so stay tuned. Thanks for visiting!

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  8. Thank you, Amy!

    I think I have shared that this is our first year homeschooling.....my kids are 12 and 15.
    I have been struggling with the "right" curriculum and for the most part......my son has been unschooled this year.
    My daughter is using an online school but I don't see her thriving. I am in the middle of praying about what direction
    I think would be best for our family next year. As a former teacher, I get excited about certain curriculum but then in my heart I wonder.....what am I doing. I look forward to your series and I can't wait for your input.

    xoxo

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  9. Hello Amy! I found your blog thanks to an article on unschooling in The Christian Science Monitor. We're finishing up our third year of homeschooling and I'm finding myself looking more and more into unschooling. Looking forward to reading more!

    Peace and Love!
    Charity

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When y'all leave comments, my heart just swells! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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