One of the first questions I had when I started Unschooling was…
What the hell did I get myself into?
Just kidding, I didn’t think that at all. Well, maybe a little bit, but my deeper question was…
“How will my children learn ALL SUBJECTS through Unschooling?”
I knew that unschooling was the way we all naturally learn, and I knew that I had seen passion in my children when they chose what they wanted to learn, but I also had a part of me that worried my children would be lacking in one or more subjects.
Traditional schooling typically organizes curriculum by subjects. At first this seems like a good method to make sure we don’t miss any subjects, but the problem is, this isn’t how we naturally learn.
We naturally learn by discovering an area of interest, and as we explore that interest, it crosses over into multiple subjects. By learning through an area of interest, we learn faster and deeper than we can ever imagine.
When people ask, “How do you unschool?” My answer is that we follow our interests – and our interests inevitably lead to science, literature, history, mathematics, music – all the things that have interested people before anybody thought of them as “subjects”. A large component of unschooling is grounded in doing real things, not because we hope they will be good for us, but because they are intrinsically fascinating. (source)
For those of us who went to a traditional school (myself included), this may be a hard concept to grasp, for possibly no other reason than it is new to us.
Here’s a good example. Let’s say you were interested in animals.
You probably would read a lot of books on animals. (NON-FICTION & FICTION READING) You would learn various facts (ZOOLOGY), the classification of species (PHONICS & WHOLE LANGUAGE), how different species/breeds were discovered and domesticated (HISTORY), and what areas of the world different species live (GEOGRAPHY). You probably would talk to others about animals and gain knowledge from others’ experiences (SOCIAL INTERACTION/SPEECH DEBATE). You probably would visit a zoo or a farm to learn about how to care for wild animals or how to raise domesticated animals. (REAL LIFE APPLICATION) You probably would draw animals, or purchase art/photos of animals. (ART) You probably would learn about how animals eat, what types of foods their bodies can handle, and the illnesses they can contract. (SCIENCE & PHYSIOLOGY) You probably would want to own some animals of your own, which would require you to figure the costs of raising an animal/feed costs/healthcare costs, or in purchasing any books, toys, games or activities related to your area of interest. (MATH) You may need to write or email people inquiring about animals, or you may love to write stories about animals (WRITING). And finally, your area of interest would lead you to experiences such as how the library works, how to search online, how to write and send an email, how to type, how to find local farms or zoos, & how to solve real world math problems.
Whoa! Those are a lot of subjects learned through one area of interest!
This example above comes from my son’s real life obsession with animals. His interest in animals is one of the things that led me to unschooling. I found he was learning more and covering more subjects by his interest in animals than he was from traditional schooling. At school, he was often reprimanded for drawing animals on his worksheets or for reading non-fiction animal books when it was time to read the required book for his reading group.
How we naturally learn ALL SUBJECTS through Unschooling.
When I first started unschooling, I decided I needed to compile a list of ways we learn and their corresponding subjects so I could reassure myself that learning was happening constantly. My “traditional-schooled” brain had a hard time grasping this concept, but after I printed this list and stuck it on the fridge, I was reminded daily that there are countless ways we learn! Hopefully it’ll help you too!
- How old your house is & why
- Why your town exists
- Where grandparents grew up and why
- Relatives in military
- Where car came from
- People living in different places with different accents and languages
- The history of miles and how it’s calculated
- Movies – why did cowboys wear bandanas
- People and what they do, believe, & wear.
- Mountains, rocks, rivers, and where rivers are empty.
- Can you look at “Mediterranean” and figure out why they called it that?
- What animals and plant are where and why?
- Who has oil, diamonds, gold, or uranium?
- Where do we get bananas, pineapples, oranges or dates?
- Why are some cities big shipping centers and others not?
- Where are the hub cities of railways and airlines and why?
- What parts of the world are crowded and which aren’t?
- What makes places dangerous?
- Why are some places more technologically advanced?
- How did smoke signals work?
- How does weather prediction work?
- What knowledge did space travel add to our knowledge of our planet?
SCIENCE is DISCOVERY!
- Miniature golf
- Water play
- Rescuing wounded birds
- Making goop
- Collecting rocks
- Drawing pictures of clouds
- Taking photos in different light
- Growing a garden
- Training a dog
- Looking through binoculars
- Waiting for a crystalis to open
- Making a sundial
- Making a webpage
- Flying a kite
- Catching fireflies
- Building a campfire
- Tracking planets
- Making snowballs
- Finding out how a truck works.
- The history of it
- The physics of it
- How instruments work and the different sounds they make
- Song lyrics and their mental triggers
- Dancing in the backyard
- Singing in the car
- Going to listen to a band
- Going to a street festival
- Listen to different stations
- Watch musical theaters in person or on video.
- Visit music stores or pawn shops
- Video games involving music: Karaoke Revolution, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Dance games
- Arranging toys
- Combining outfits
- Setting the table
- Making & arranging food
- Gift wrapping
- Gates, Fences
- Taking sketchbooks on hikes, to museums, parks, zoos.
- Making maps
PHONICS & WHOLE LANUGAGE
- Why words are formed in everything we study.
- Book Reports – Happen naturally as we talk about what we’ve read. We don’t need to require they are written down. If a child can orally give a report, they can write it out if they choose.
- Letters – Will happen naturally, they can see examples online or from recent mail.
- Penmanship – Not needed in today’s world. The ability to express oneself vocally will translate to paper if ever needed.
- Cursive – “School cursive, called in my day Palmer penmanship, had evolved from an elaborate decorative script invented for engraving in copper, a very slow and painstaking form of writing that had nothing to do with speed. Someone, somewhere, decided that it would be nice if children learned to write like copperplate engraving, and the rest, as they say, is history.”
- Children will learn cursive & calligraphy if they want.
- Kid poetry books that are fun/gross, song lyrics, and nighttime reading all are poetry.
- Puppet shows, plays, live & on video. Acting out at home or in groups.
- SPEECH & DEBATE
- Watching current debates as they come, discussing events as a family.
- Historical novels, fairy tales, fables, mythology, science fiction, short stories, other novels, graphic novels, screenplays, movies.
- Books, movies, magazines, articles, newspapers, etc.
- VOCABULARY & SPELLING
- Happens naturally as children live life, read, talk, play. They become better as they read more.
- The only real math are word problems.
- Math is best learned naturally with patterns, proportions, deductive reasoning, graph-reading, real life problems, etc.
- Board games, video games, dice, cards, singing games, money, budgeting, etc.
- Create a home in which algebraic thinking is a standard part of conversation. Our interactions are analytical and involve factors and projections. They see the concepts and they use them without ever saying the word, “math”.
This is just a short list of ways we learn, but as you can see in my example above, just one area of interest can cross over many different subjects! It’s totally possible to learn and discover the world through unschooling!
Has the master’s list of unschooling ressources got a different title or where can I find it?!
Great article, very helpful. French bees here! 😉
This is DaNelle’s Master List blog: https://www.weedemandreap.com/unschooling-resources/
Thank you -Bobbi (DaNelle’s Assistant)
Stephanie Blew says
This totally needs to be in PDF form! Love this and want to keep a copy of it!
Our state recently changed their homeschooling laws and I am now required to keep records and “teach” core subjects for X amount of hours each school year. We’ve been an unschooling/life learning family for the last 16 years but we’ve never really kept any official records. How on earth does one record things like the power went out and the kids ask what causes power outages and we google it together? Learning isn’t something separated into units and hours at our house, it’s ongoing. Any tips on how to keep track of all of it?
I would start off by contacting your state department of education and see if they have forms or programs that you should be using.
If not, then there on online trackers or excel programs you can use. This site lists several options: https://www.homeschool-life.com/370/custom/14184
Best of luck!
Thank you -Bobbi (DaNelle’s Assistant)
Shelvin Gilbert says
Hiya, I’m not a mom or an adult.
I’m a college student that skipped highschool and is being tortured by all the work(mainly the weekly essays from english) and I wished that I could of been unschooled by parents like you’re doing.
You are all awesome!
I’m also self-taught and with all the time consuming work college is giving me it became way more difficult to find time to research or practice to be a programmer.
HI! I am real nervous My 2 sons & I have our 1st B.O.E review tomorrow! how do I properly present deschooling into “unschooling” aka “tests & quizzes” HELP! I know all will work out but if someone has any last minute advice I would so greatly appreciate it! Thanks so much
It’s normal to be nervous for these types of things. This website has some good resources that may be able to help you prepare: https://hslda.org/content/earlyyears/testing.asp
I am sure your kiddos will do great! If anyone else has suggestions please let us know!
Thank you -Bobbi (DaNelle’s Assistant)
What great article? You’ve expanded my ideas about unschooling is about. I came to this website curious about it, and I liked how this article explained about unschooling. A great article.
Tricia Trbovic-Clark says
Just ran across this via Pinterest and I am SO glad I did! My hubby was homeschooled until middle school as well as his 2 siblings. They are 3 of the most intelligent people I know! We are now trying to decide how to go about home schooling our (recently turned) 5 year old. He’s got the standard, strict home schooling schedule in mind, however knowing our daughter and my level of patience…I just knew there had to be an easier way! I would love to start a small network/support group for some of us home schooling/unschooling moms. If anyone else is interested, please email me! trishtrb at gmail dot com!
DaNelle Wolford says
So glad it helped! We do a combo of “get these subjects done” and then the rest is unschooling for us! You can read more about our current homeschooling technique here: https://www.weedemandreap.com/day-life-homeschooler-year-3/
I love reading about the theory of unschooling and I know there are people who have been successful after growing up unschooled, but sadly, with the unschoolers I’ve known, this hasn’t been the case. I’m talking about teenagers who are functionally illiterate and barely able to add and subtract. And while I’m not a big stickler for everyone having to be on grade level, I think all of us would agree that a kid who will be leaving home in a couple years should, at the very least, be able to read and count change.
I would love to unschool my daughter, but my real life experience with other unschooling families makes me very hesitant. I wish someone would do a study (a legit, scientific one, not a self-reporting survey from parents of their unschooled kids) so I could look at the data and make a decision.
You could compromise, do what’s called ‘relaxed’ homeschooling. It’s the unschooling mindset with an emphasis on the three R’s. An example? My kids use a mastery based math curriculum and average about two pages a day. Are they grade level? No. But my 10 and 12 year olds do addition in their heads better than recently graduated high schoolers. I’m not sure whether to feel proud or depressed. For writing they do a half a page of copy work just to keep it in practice and every thing else is interest led. Oh. I teach reading using Hooked On Phonics, lessons customized to the child’s attention span. Once they’re reading well on their own, and even before, I let them read to their heart’s content. No required reading in this joint people and what the freak? They all love to read. My word, what are the odds? FYI? The unschoolers you’ve known sound like radical unschoolers. They’re the ‘originals’ so to speak. The unschooling extends to every aspect of life, not just academics. I have yet to meet one. I made the mistake of setting a time for said meeting to take place. Oh…oh…just shoot me in the foot, that was funny.
Marcie Booth says
Interested in.learning more about unschooling and how it works with special needs kids. We have a bright 18 year old with Asperger’s and he’s not really motivated to do anything except play video games. How do we get him motivated to expand his horizons?
DaNelle Wolford says
Hi Marcie, you might want to incorporate school into video games:)
Hi Marcie, we are also a neurodiverse family and we unschool. It is the best way for us. There are lots of good resources and groups out there (And some I personally do not like as much). But it is definetly possible and many families we know who have autistic kids say that unschooling is the best thing they ever did for their child.
Hi, Saskia and all others commenting on this thread! I am seriously considering unschooling my very bright mid-funtctioning (neither high nor low) Autistic son. He is 9 and struggling in school now more than ever. They put him in a behavior class, are not following IEP and he is refusing to do any work. He is moody- and they keep asking me to bring him to the doctor to discuss meds. I know in my gut this isn’t what he needs and the school system is failing him. I am a former pediatric nurse, but had to leave my job because of all the calls home from school. So the way I look at it…. I am, home anyway, why not let him learn in a comfortable environment with his emotional support dog and at his own pace? Has anyone found any good resources for unschooling a child with Autism? TIA!
Pinterest has all kinds of ideas for using video games as a learning tool. If you can find ways to make math about his favorite video game, or science about why some of the things he plays could not be real and what could and why, or find a history lesson tucked deep in there somewhere. It might be easier for you to find info on how to do it for little kids, but the concept carries over for an 18 year old as well. Good luck!
I love reading posts that validate what I’m already doing at home! I pulled my oldest son out of school after 1st grade and went the tjed/ unschooling/ Montessori route and he developed a love of reading. This year he is in 5th grade and I put him in a charter school this year and discovered that he is at an 11th grade reading level and scored in the 99th percentile for spelling on standardized tests. Also in upper 90s for the other subjects too. I was shocked. He won the spelling bee in his school and was first place in the science fair. The funny thing is, I have never taught him grammar or made him do spelling words and never did a formal science project. Reading does amazing things for kids!!! Needless to say we are both looking forward to him homeschooling again next year so he can pursue was he is really interested in!
This is wonderful, thanks so much!
Really nice! Thanks
This is a great resource, thank you! I have been unschooling for 9 years and my kids are brilliant, but I every so often get caught up in the whole idea of “subjects” and that I should make sure my kids get the traditional “subjects” in. It’s so good to hear why that is such a ridiculous way of thinking and I will also utilize the list you created here in this blog of all the ways kids learn “subjects” naturally.
I am new to homeschooling, as my oldest son is just in kindergarten. He has an exceptionally high IQ and has trouble keeping focused on one subject at a time through a curriculum. I have played around with the ‘unschooling’ concept, and my husband and I feel like this is exactly what our children need to thrive. It’s a perfect fit for us.
I was just wondering how you go about having them tested through the state. I’m not entirely sure, but through the homeschooling research I’ve done, our state requires all children 6yrs and up to be registered with the corresponding local school district. They require testing a couple of times a year to make sure they are on point with the rest of the children in the state.
I wasn’t sure how this would work with us wanting to unschool, and I was curious as to how other families went about it.
I know I need a lot more information, and I would appreciate any insight you or anyone has!
Find other himeschooler in your area who knows the laws for your state. Ask around at your local library if you don’t know where to start. Each state has different laws, so you need to do your own research, but no matter where you live, you want to make sure you have all of the proper info as to better protect your rights. The school districts will make you feel as though certain testing is necessary, but depending on where you live, that may not be true. I live in WI, and our laws are lenient. We do not have to do testing, but the school district calls every year and sends a letter making it sound like testing is mandatory when in fact, it is not. I do know that testing is mandatory in some states, but try to find a homeschooling rights advocate group for your state. They will have the best information for you. Best of luck!
Lady Lilith says
I fully agree with you. A few friends and myself are trying to get this into the classroom as well. This idea should be available to all kids not just kids who are home schooled.
I agree. I’m a school teacher, and there are a lot of ideas here that I can use in the classroom. I just have to be really creative with my time, since we have so little to spare!
This has been great to read. I’m pouring over unschooling websites searching for the bravery to take the leap. I’ve homeschooled my kids since 2002….they’ve never been to public. I’ve graduated one and have a junior, sophomore, 8th grader, and 1st grader left (if we’re going by age). It feels scary to think of unschooling after all this time. But I am so sick of the rut we are in. I feel like our learning is on life support….barely. I’m super nervous!
Julie, did you ever make the leap into unschooling?
Amy Lester says
Thank you for this wonderful information
Natalie B. says
I’m so thankful that you wrote this! I have been waking up throughout the nights with anxiety that I’m failing my daughter. I have been so worried because we haven’t had much time lately to sit down and do workbooks or her online homeschooling program. We spend so much time running errands and fighting traffic a lot of days. I would really like to be able to print your list out! I haven’t found an easy way from my phone
DaNelle Wolford says
Glad I could help! You could copy/paste into a document, then print.
James N Susan says
i was just wondering about the board of education n how you deal with them over this way of schooling? I like the idea of it n it makes sence. we are fixing to go RVing full time and are raising two grandchildern and have been trying to figure this schooling thing out and unschoolin looks best for us just worried bout the board of education and their testing and how you get by with out them messing with you the artical was most informable on all thigs but that one and its a big deal these days. thanks for info the WOLFES
In Arizona there isn’t any state testing for homeschoolers. All you need to do is to send an intent to homeschool form to the superintendent of your county and you’re all good. For other rules and regulations specific to your state and local area check with your state’s board of education. I hope that helps! Good luck!
Thank you -Bobbi (DaNelle’s Assistant)
Melissa B says
I have been a homeschool mom for 11 years now, but I started out trying to have school at home. Our homeschool is slowly evolving though, and I am extremely interested in un schooling now, as well as project based homeschool. I am enjoying pouring through your site, but I do have one small issue with this post in particular, handwriting! It is important for children to learn to write, not just print but also cursive. Not everything can be done with a screen. More importantly, the most important, foundational documents of history are written in cursive! If you never teach your child to read cursive they will not be able to read the Declaration of Independence, or the Constitution. Yes, there are versions online, but as a history buff, I can tell you that doesn’t compare to looking at the original. And the conspiracy theorists will tell you the online version could have been altered and if no one can read cursive, how would you know? 😉 There are plenty of reasons to learn to read and write cursive which actually fall beautifully into un schooling! When your child is interested in history is a perfect time to teach cursive, so when you go to a museum or archive they can read the documents themselves.
You know, I am generally in favor of teaching penmanship/cursive/calligraphy. However, in my experience, it isn’t needful to teach kids how to read it. My school-aged kids are 8 and 6.5. Neither knows how to write in cursive yet…but both of them read even messy cursive as easily as any other font. Also, the copperplate cursive the founding documents were written in is about as much like modern cursive as is manuscript printing.
I agree. There’s not always a computer around and sometimes you just have to be able to convey ideas to another human being in writing! It’s important to write neat enough so that other people can easily read it. I also find that cursive is a much faster writing form. When I have to take notes at a meeting, and keep up with someone speaking, I always use cursive!
Wonderful! I really needed the reminders and ideas. Thank you.
I wish when bloggers said “stay tuned til next week” they would actually come back and make a link to “next week” so people who find the blog later don’t have a hell of a time finding the next post
My family lives in Maryland, and this year we started homeschooling. It’s been a struggle with doing the lessons in the curricula I chose, since my husband’s the one home with the kids and I am working full time. I would like to unschool my children (oldest just started K officially) and we did sort of do that, last year, but that wasn’t official and I am trying to figure out how to unschool but I need help with how to do that so we can do a portfolio (required in Maryland). Really would like to move to a state where the gov’t has very little to do with it, but not an option. So I could use some help to find resources! Thanks!
Hi there, new follower! Found this link via a search for unschooling via Pinterest. I just pulled my K daughter from school 2 weeks ago and we’re going the unschool route. This is SO helpful. Thanks for posting. 🙂
So glad I found your website. This article is so encouraging and just what I needed today. In our five years of homeschooling, I never used the term “unschooling” to describe our style…probably because I didn’t want to admit it and have always felt that it’s not enough and we need to be following a more structured plan or curriculum. Honestly though, when I try to get my kids on a stricter school schedule and make sure they get so many pages of whatever done each week, I become a cranky, impatient, “why am I doing this?” kind of mom! But when I allow them freedom to embrace and pursue their natural interests, they are so full of life and creativity and I am so much happier and peaceful too! Today was one of those days when I let the pressure of HAVING TO DO SCHOOLWORK run our life and we all suffered because of it. Yuck.
But When I read through your list of ways we learn. I realized that this literally seems to be happening ALL the time in our home…Except when we sit down for “bookwork”.
THANKS FOR THIS !
simple & effective, what else !
I am interested in unschooling. I just recently started homeschooling my 3 oldest children. My concern is that in my state there are required subjects to cover and I feel like I wouldn’t know how to teach this way while still complying to the states guidelines. I have a second, third and fourth grader (as well as a baby) and they get so frustrated with the structure of school. I want them to learn and enjoy it.
Really good ideas about unschooling, and homeschooling in general.
I do have to disagree with one point you made though-as an artist and a writer I highly value the art of self-expression. You wrote that handwriting was not necessary.
Think of it like this; reading is all of the information and ideas coming in, and writing is one (concrete and quantifiable) way of getting ideas, thoughts and creations out.
Without writing I think most children will be quite limited in how to express their individuality and unique ideas. If ever they are not able to, or cannot afford to, type on a computer-having an instrument for marking and a form of paper will be a canvas for their words.
Just a thought from someone who scribbled notes in my books, on my test papers, inside my jacket, on my arm, etc. A good poem, when it flows is too rich, too long to remember as it is being created. It is often lessens or lost completely if I am unable to wrote it down!!
You say it so well 🙂 I just stumbled upon your blog when researching unschooling. I really enjoyed reading your article, looking forward to more. I am interested in unschooling my 2 boys throughout their education or however long it works for our family ( 2 1/2 and 7 months old). Thank you!
Loved this article! Loved it!
I am sorry but I disagree with unschooling if that is a child’s only form of education. In school we have to learn things we aren’t interested in or don’t like, its unfortunate but true. How does a child learn geometry or calculus unschooling? How does a child learn all about literature from the literary terms and ideas such as allusions to writing poetry through unschooling? I think unschooling is a great way to learn and I’m sure your children enjoy it, but I think part of their studies do need to involve organization and structure.
I used to ask the same questions. However…I began to ask myself things like, “why does a person *need* to learn calculus (or geometry or literary terms)?” And what age are these things important? And did *you* ultimately learn them because you HAD to, or because you wanted to? In my own personal experience, I think I actually learned and *retained* a great deal more information and knowledge *after* I left school, because they were things I really wanted to learn. There are many things I know were covered in school (I went to public school the entire time), but many of them, I don’t remember at all. What is the point of forcing your child to learn something they will likely forget as soon as they regurgitate it back to you and you are satisfied with their apparent grasp of the content? One day, if her children are so inclined, and they desire to pursue a vocation or a career that requires a college degree, they will probably be able to get into college relatively easily, and they will learn the things they “need to know”. From what I understand, it is relatively easy to be brought up to speed in many areas where a student may be “lacking”. I’ve read about many students, who, knowing an area they wanted to be involved in, were self-motivated to learn things like calculus or geometry or whatever, without a parent forcing them. An unschooling parent, knowing that their child wants to be a doctor (for example) can help point their child in that direction (I’m of course talking about an older student) by showing them what is required to become a doctor. Some even choose to go to traditional schools later on down the line if that works for the individual child. It’s not an all-or-nothing, black and white, one size fits all thing- everyone’s experience will look different. Some children are *actually* passionate about academics as traditionally defined and they ask specifically to work on grammar worksheets and things like that (I have a six year old who does just that)- that can be unschooling too. I still don’t have a totally perfect understanding of unschooling, but I do find it rather intriguing. I think that it serves a child better than sitting in a classroom for eight hours a day “learning” stuff they will likely have forgotten by the end of the year. If a person wants to know (or finds themselves in a situation where they need to know) literary terms or any other thing, for that matter, they will be motivated to learn it pretty quickly, don’t you think?
I homeschooled my 3 children in the 90’s. I started with what looked like regular school. I learned about unschooling and switched immediately. When I look back my kids did not get a “regular” highschool education, but they are all successful in their lives, they can think critically and they all are life long learners, which was our goal. My oldest son (recently passed) went to college one year for computers and got a job with on the job training. He left that first company as a VP. He moved to a different company and was Systems Engineer (w/o college) and was being promoted to a director of international sales, all before his 35th birthday. He learned everything he knew from books and online. He tried to go back to college and was turned off by having to take all the core curriculum that he’d already taken. He did take the GED scored in the 95th percentile and scored high on the ACT.
My second son hardly studyed. He was more interested in cars and the only thing he’d read or watch had to be related to WWII. He has an incredible gift of retaining knowledge. He started working at 15 installing hardwood floors and finally decided at 18 to take the GED. He scored 98 percentile. He joined the Air Force and then decided to get his Bachelors Degree. He clepped out of most his classes and it took him 2 years to earn the degree – all on line- and most of it deployed. He waited until he was 30 and wished he’d done it sooner. He is now working on a masters in counter terrorism. He and his wife homeschool their 3 children.
My daughter took the GED and 16 and scored 94 percentile. She was a figure skater and spent most of her time at the ice arena. She began teaching the learn to skate program. As she advanced herself she also became a private coach by 18.
I now am homeschooling 4 of my grandchildren, my oldest son’s children. I didn’t think I had it in me to unschool them, but finding it’s the best way for the two youngest, 9 & 10. The ten year old is labeled a slow learner. I enjoyed reading your article about that, she fit the description of Devin to a T. She can spend hours with her legos and then she’s on to the animals. We have 3 dogs, 4 cats, a parrot, 2 angora bunnies, chickens, ducks and 3 horses.
Thank you for your article. It was an encouragement that I can do this yet again.
DaNelle Wolford says
I absolutely LOVE your story! What an amazing testimony to what unschooling can do! Our children will naturally learn and be successful in life, but more importantly, they will be lifelong learners!
Becky, you took the words right out of my mouth!
Why? This is much like saying kids need to be in school so they can learn to wait in line. In fact, what is taught in school quite often was originally added to the curriculum for very arbitrary reasons. As an adult, you don’t spend time learning things that don’t interest you (unless there is income involved). Why, beyond the 3R’s, should we force kids to do so?
Lol Much of what we were forced to learn in public school was/is knowledge for knowledge’s sake. For instance, my oldest child is currently seeking a degree in computer engineering. He is successfully navigating calculus. Guess what? I never taught him geometry ;). His college pre-cal teacher was amazed at that fact. My daughter is also now in college seeking a degree in mass communications. She has the highest GPA in her English composition class, and she blew her teacher’s mind when she told him that I had never taught her grammar, that she has never heard of the word predicate until his class and it popped up on a not for credit quiz. He began to say that you need to learn thesethi gs to be a good writer, but she cleared her throat, tilted her head, and said, “Really?” She reminded him that she has a 99 in his class ;).
People often think that, just because they were taught something in a school, everyone needs to learn it. Nope! We learn things in our family for two reasons: it interests that person, and/or it is necessary to that person’s life
Three cheers for unschooling and to you for bringing attention to it! My four siblings and I were raised by a mom who practiced unschooling and it’s absolutely fantastic to see that it is a movement still alive and well. I can’t say enough positive things about being ‘educated’ this way as a child and the powerful tool it turned out to be as an adult. My mother admitted to me after I had started college that she sometimes feared we wouldn’t be prepared for ‘mainstream’ education and professions because of our non-traditional upbringing (you would never have known it to talk to her when we young- she was and still is vehement about the limitations and creativity/individuality stifling nature of most classrooms).
She needn’t have worried! I graduated from medical school in 2010 and am currently a physician who still uses my unschooling upbringing to continue my path as an eternal, curious student of life and medicine.
My older brother is the vice president of a hospitality and efficiency business firm- no one approaches problem solving and team work like him!
Your description of your animal loving son easily could have been my older sister as a child- she is now a veterinarian with special interest in farm animal medicine.
My younger brother is a chemical engineer who loves his job so much and approaches equations and projects so uniquely that he now heads his own specialty division (at 26!).
Last but not least, my younger sister is a high risk and intensive care pediatric nurse, recently graduated and loving her job.
Bottom line: unschooling WORKS and not just during the years of traditional K-12 education. It is a lifelong way of thinking and living that promotes individuality and unique problem solving skills that serve those of us fortunate enough to be raised this way for the rest of our lives.
Thanks again for bringing attention to us unschoolers!
I love every bit of this ❤️
I just want to point out that boys NEED to learn cursive…if for no other reason, so that they will be able to read their wife’s handwriting. Keep up the good work mama 🙂
Thanks for this unschooling installment…can’t wait for the next one!! I’ve been checking in constantly to see if you posted yet. We are seriously considering going from co-op homeschooling to unschooling (or at least in many ways) next year. I’m getting more and more excited about it and your posts are really helping ease my stresses and fears. 🙂