What is unschooling?
To put it simply, unschooling is a form of homeschooling but with a little more freedom. The beauty of unschooling is that it can be done in many different ways.
Some people homeschool by having a structured schedule, sitting their children down, and working through a curriculum. Unschoolers don’t do this. They may use a curriculum or sign their children up for a class here or there, but for the most part, they use their children’s interests to teach ALL subjects.
Everybody has been unschooled at some time or another in their life, simply because unschooling is how we learn naturally, without a teacher.
How does unschooling work?
I believe that it’s more important for my children to be able to self-teach instead of learning by instruction & curriculum. I believe that the most important principle I can teach my children is how to develop a passion for learning. I want my kids to be just as excited about planets, history, & geometry as they are about video games and I believe unschooling does just that.
Unschoolers learn just like adults learn. They follow their interests, research using resources on the internet, reading books, discussing with other people, and use their creativity to implement it and make it their own.
College graduates tend to be really great at following instructions and being told what to do, but often don’t know what they love and have trouble being creative and proactive in their first job. We typically spend the next 10 years after our formal education trying to find our passion and love of learning again. (source)
Let’s go over the differences between traditional schooling (with a curriculum) & unschooling:
Does unschooling prepare kids for real life?
Because we can’t predict the future and we can’t predict what the economy or technology will be in 10-15 years, I think it’s best to prepare our children to be fast learners, with the ability to teach themselves ANYTHING.
If you know how to teach yourself, you are prepared for any future job. If you only know how to learn from a teacher and a perfectly laid out curriculum, then you’ll always need that in order to learn.
I’ve heard some skeptics say that unschooled children won’t know how to follow rules or finish assignments on deadlines but that’s simply not true. Children have an innate desire to please and be noticed for their work. This continues into adulthood and is what makes us proud of our achievements. Unschooled children have just as much desire to follow rules and stick to deadlines when the time calls for it.
What are some examples of unschooling?
- Ethan loves Minecraft. We signed up for this amazing online minecraft homeschool class. They teach history through minecraft and the class he’s in is currently about Ancient Wonders of the World. (WHAT HE’S LEARNED: History, Architecture, Money-managing, Technology/Coding, Typing, Building Relationships/Friendships, Working as a Team)
- Because of that class, Ethan wanted to learn more about ancient architecture. He has read more books about it and we started watching the series Merlin and as we watched an episode each night, we would frequently pause when a question came up about why they did certain practices during Medieval times. We were like the ultimate ‘fact-checkers’ for that show. (WHAT HE’S LEARNED: Historical accuracy, Architecture, How to research on the Internet, How to find answers to questions)
- My Dad has a telescope and told Ethan about black holes and gave him a National Geographic magazine about black holes. On a Friday night out-to-eat evening, Ethan told us ALL about black holes, the speed of light, & Albert Einstein. Then we theorized if Superman could survive a black hole. (we’re still undecided) (WHAT WE ALL LEARNED: Science, Space, How Scientists try to prove theories, How a Telescope works, How to give an Oral Report – Ethan basically did that during our entire evening)
- Lydia also loves minecraft and we signed her up for online minecraft homeschool as well. Money is earned by a quiz on history (after watching a short video) and Lydia learned a hard lesson by accidentally spending all her money before she was able to finish the assignment. She had to work & help others to earn money before she could finish her assignment. (WHAT SHE’S LEARNED: History, Architecture, Money-managing, Technology/Coding, Typing, Building Relationships/Friendships, Working as a Team)
- Let me just mention that the minecraft homeschool is completely regulated by my kids. I never force them to do an assignment. They both love it so much that they don’t recognize it as learning and they wake up early to do their chores so they can join the server and have fun in the “minecraft classroom”. (WHAT THEY LEARN: Time management, Responsibility, Finishing assignments on time)
- Lydia noticed that she would have more fun in minecraft if she could type better, so she begged me to take a typing class. We downloaded this one and she’s now doing the program. (WHAT SHE’S LEARNED: How to Type correctly, What WPM means & how to get her WPM higher)
- Lydia wanted a mouse. Yes, I said mouse. I told her she could have one if she did some good research into it, somehow convinced Kevin, and saved up her money to buy it (& all the supplies) herself. For the next month she was obsessed. She read every book at the library on mice, researched on the internet, wrote a paper on it, gave an oral report to the family on it, talked to a few friends who had mice, changed her mind and decided to get a rat, read every book at the library on rats, researched on the internet, wrote another paper on it, gave ANOTHER oral report to the family on it, and raked leaves for 6 hours to save up enough money. All of this was completed by an 8 year old without hardly any effort on my part other than show her how to search the internet, teach her some basic principles when writing a report including an introduction & conclusion, etc., and hand her a rake. (WHAT SHE’S LEARNED: Hard work, Perseverance, How to research, How to write a report, How to give an oral report, How to debate)
These are just SOME examples of how unschooling works in our life. I have many, many more.
What does a day in the life of an unschooler look like?
This is my favorite part! I love that our days are so relaxed and open for anything! Here’s a very rough schedule for you. I don’t have this schedule printed up and we don’t try to stay on track, it’s just what happens naturally. What I LOVE most about this is that it flows throughout the weekends and summers. To us, there isn’t a time to learn and a time to NOT learn. All of life is learning, and that’s how we like it.
7:00 – 9:00am Wake up, milk goats, gather eggs, fruit, nuts, vegetables from garden, & make breakfast.
9:00 -10:00am Kids do their chores, and I do my farm chores and do some kitchen cleaning/cooking all while listening to our favorite music blaring. (currently we’re into a the Broadway Musicals Pandora station – okay, so it’s really me & Kevin that are into Broadway, but I think it’s pretty cool that my 8 & 10 year old now know all the songs to A Chorus Line, Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, Les Miserables, Mama Mia, etc.)
10:00am – 12:00pm Anything goes. The kids play, learn, explore, create, read, study, & discover. It definitely is NOT me at the kitchen table pouring over worksheets and curriculum books. The kids change their interests over time and we let it flow with that. (currently it’s Minecraft Homeschool, Legos, & Ukuleles) I switch off working on the blog and helping the kids when they ask for it.
12:00pm Lunch. We will watch a current tv series (this is one of our fav. traditions) we are into (currently it’s Lab Rats) and eat lunch while watching, or have a picnic outside or sometimes we’ll go out to eat.
1:00pm – 4:00pm Running errands OR once a week we take a trip to the library, museum, etc. during this time, more creative play & learning OR the kids play with friends OR the kids sign up for local classes like chess, acting, gymnastics, etc.
4:30pm – 6:00pm Kevin comes home from work and usually plays a sport outside with the kids while I make dinner. Then he comes in and we talk and finish making dinner while the kids continue to play.
6:00pm – 7:30pm As a family we’ll watch movies, play games, etc.
7:30pm – Evening farm chores
8:00pm – We call this ‘roomtime’ instead of bed time because we don’t force the kids to sleep, but we do have them settle down in their rooms with books, etc. They typically fall asleep around 9:00pm
What about other subjects like math? How do you teach that without a curriculum?
Read my next article…How to Learn ALL SUBJECTS through Unschooling.
I realy want to unschool and get goats we are getting sheep next week and want to know if unschooling would make ime or farm work . My kids are motavated to do farm work with sheep and goats. We also have horses and chickens. Thanks
Hi, my biggest worry with home/unschooling is the standardized tests, like the SATs/ACTs and the state tests you do in elementary school (Although those are optional).. How do those work, how do you make sure your kids can handle that format?
It’s best to contact your State Department of Education and first see what is required. Once you know what is required you can prepare your kids for this. The State Department of Education often has resources to help you with items like that.
You can also find tutorials online, and also just working with your kids one step at a time is very beneficial. The key is not to overwhelm them or become overwhelmed yourself. Especially since there are so many resources through Education Departments and homeschooling websites.
Thank you -Bobbi (DaNelle’s Assistant)
Lupe Bedolla says
I started homeschooling my boys due to bullying, it has not been easy for me. The curriculum I’m on is crazy, I don’t understand why a 2nd grader is expected to create a business plan with estimates on expenses like rent, utilities, supplies, wages, profit…etc. I want him to learn to read, write, and be good at math before I bombard him with tons of projects that keep us busy all day and half the night.
I love the your method, BUT…
Don’t i have to belong to an accredited school to be able to homeschool my kids?
Do you have any resources you could share?
School accreditation (public, private, home) is usually determined by the State Board of Education. Check with your state’s board and they can tell you what you need to do. Here are some great homeschooling resources DaNelle has used that I think could help you. https://www.weedemandreap.com/homeschool-curriculum-easy-going-families/
Best of luck! Thank you -Bobbi (DaNelle’s Assistant)
I stumbled across this post and I love it! My husband and I would love to homeschool/unschool our kids, but I have some really big concerns about things like trigonometry, for example, to name one of many. How does one go about teaching their children that, when it’s muddy at best to most adults (myself, included)? Honestly, that’s the only thing holding us back. I’m just afraid, well, terrified, that I won’t be able to teach my kids everything they need to know – after all, I’m not a high school trig teacher or physics teacher for a very good reason… Any advice on this would be much appreciated.
The fear of failing your kids is such a real and terrifying thing. You are not alone in this. It’s wonderful that you want to embark on this amazing endeavor, and being apprehensive about it completely normal. DaNelle covers a lot of these concerns, along with how to go about teaching your kids, in this article: https://www.weedemandreap.com/homeschool-curriculum-easy-going-families/
I also wanted to include the link to all her articles on her homeschooling because I think you will find them to be a valuable resource as you move along your homeschooling journey. Check them out here: https://www.weedemandreap.com/category/life/homeschool-life/
I hope all this helps! Best of luck…You will do great! Thanks -Bobbi (DaNelle’s Assistant)
Randi Collier says
Which curriculum do you use?
Here is a link to my posts about homeschooling. I hope it helps!
Marketa Marmiel says
What a great post! When we began to homeschool last year (K), I sort of had an idea of what we might want to do. As the year progressed I started leaning more and more towards unschooling because while it seemed great in theory, I noticed it worked extremely well in real life. This year we continue to unschool and love it! 🙂
Nicole Guevara says
Loved the article! This is our first year in a hybrid school for our kids. (4 of different ages). It has been challenging finding a routine we all feel comfortable with. Next year we will completely homeschool and I hope one day to unschool them. My question is how do you fit in Language Arts with younger children? Is learning nouns and verbs and all that important or can quick lessons be enough? Currently I use hand picked curriculm and workbooks for everything as this is all new to me. I hope next year that can begin to change.
I have used Mad Libs to work on parts of speech.
That’s so wonderful. My daughter’s are 3.5 and 1 years old and I am researching how to go about “schooling” them from home. I go from “oh I can totally do this” to totally panic mode of “I’m totally gonna screw this up” … your method sound awesome and simple. So simple I think I’ll mess it up lol.
Ariel Eishen says
Thank you so much for all of your information regarding unschooling. I am currently a 2nd grade teacher, but we’ve decided to ‘homeschool’ my 8 year old son next year. He needs something that not only caters to his interests but also meets his capabilities, and the school system I work for just cannot provide that for him. I didn’t realize that the picture I had in my head of what I would be doing with him resembles the unschooling model more than traditional homeschool. I am so excited to start this adventure with both boys (I also have a 2 year old who I will be doing Montessori with). Your posts have really clarified the definition of unschooling for me. Thank you!
Coming from a Pinterest post: I’d like to point out that the comparisons are way off. We do not unschool, but our homeschool has a fair bit of the unschooling characteristics. Neither is our homeschool a rigid, unyielding in-the-home copy of a government school, and yet some of the “traditional schooling” attributes fit us to a T. It’s also wrong to imply that the use of textbooks, curricula, discipline, schedules, etc are anathema to the child’s interest. (I’d like to point out that ALL learning resources constitute curricula as well, whether it’s a McGraw-Hill textbook or a stack of library books or a game or a collection of YouTube videos.) Nor is it honest to say that anything on the “traditional schooling” side of the equation doesn’t foster a love of learning.
You don’t have to unschool to have a fun and engaging learning environment for your children. There are some unique aspects to unschooling, but I’m not sure this list really paints an accurate picture.
Sarah Seagraves says
So what is it called when a family uses an eclectic array of curricula (even sometimes textbooks and occasionally a workbook or two…in a modified manner), living books, movies, etc., to teach by subject while simultaneously learning across subjects and beyond the curricula, and take every opportunity in general to find out more about everything all the time? Because we have always used a set curriculum (“set” being subject to the personality and learning style of the student, and modified/updated/revamped/tailored — but ultimately chosen — by the teacher) but at the same time, our whole lives are about learning both facts and skills at every moment. We definitely believe in using curriculum, but don’t let it define our learning. Instead, it is just another (but very vital) tool that we use as we learn, and all of life is about learning — learning facts, skills, character, etc.
See, I’ve seen traditional schooling that looks like what you describe above, and I’ve seen unschooling that produces a lot of vibrant learners that nevertheless never reach mastery of anything, because their interest never overcomes a certain level of difficulty (that differs depending on the child and the interest). So I think both elements are a necessary part of an excellent education — the part where we encourage them to follow their own interests and the part where we require them to attain mastery of certain skills, whether they would choose to do so on their own or not. I would also submit that some children aren’t that great at self-leadership at every stage of development and aren’t prepared to look after their own future with the same degree of wisdom and foresight that a parent would have. (As an example, I was once at a homeschool graduation reception where food was provided. My daughter and I went through the line and I guided my daughter in the kinds and amounts of food that I expected her to get — something like, “You need to eat at least twice as much in fruits and vegetables as you do in desserts, dear. I know it’s a special occasion, but it also happens to be your lunch.” She wasn’t thrilled about that, but she willingly did so, picking out what she liked within those parameters, and we sat down at a table. A few young children from an unschooling family came to sit with us. I looked at their plates and saw nothing but cookies and chips. My older son then came to sit beside me and I said to him, facetiously, “Unfeeding.” We had a little laugh, figuring that in reality these kids had already had lunch and this was dessert or snack. Then their mother came to sit with us, looked at their plates, and complained, “Ugh! I told you to make sure you got some healthy food because this is your lunch! These kids!” And then she did nothing about the situation. I was honestly surprised to find that my silly joke turned out to be the reality. I’ve watched this family’s children as they grow up. They are in moderately good health and have a moderate view of their faith and display a moderately adequate education. The oldest two would not have succeeded in college, but that is okay because they both joined the AF. Don’t misunderstand me, I believe the AF is a noble profession and that they are both well suited to that path. But if any of those kids do want to go to college, they will not be prepared. This is just one example of something I see a lot, in a variety of different families.) For my kids, I want them to have all their options available. I want them to pursue excellence as well as interests, and that takes discipline to work through the times when interests lag and fail.
I chose to pose this issue on this blog, of all the ones I’ve seen, because of all the explanations of unschooling (in its ideal form) that I’ve seen, yours is the most clear. It’s my view that excellent schooling requires flexibility and freedom and well as order and discipline; that as a child develops and matures, their education should likewise have greater and greater expectations of mastery and fortitude despite lack of interest at times. The younger they are, the more freedom they need, and the older they are, the more discipline they need. Because there’s a world of difference between knowing how a job is done and actually doing it day after day — and more difference yet if that job is to be done to a degree of excellence, regardless of whether the person is interested in getting it done. So I worry a little about parents of young children who see the remarkable benefits of unschooling at that stage, but never modify their expectations as their children mature. So I just wanted to put that out there, as something to think about. (I promise I’m not trolling.)
So, unschoolers, please don’t be quick to disregard the benefits of curriculum and assessments. Instead, use them, picking and choosing from among the many options, alongside your usual unschooling methods to ensure that you don’t exclude their benefits from your children’s education. You don’t have to do traditional school to put curriculum to very good use, and not all instances of limiting a child’s freedom to govern his own education need to be detrimental to him.
DaNelle Wolford says
What a great perspective Sara!
I would say that our homeschool is more eclectic. The beauty of Unschooling is exactly that of Homeschooling… There are SO many different facets to it. Just like Homeschooling, Unschooling can be a completely different creature in one family than it is in another. This is just a representation of one family. Not all who unschool completely disregard discipline or health for that matter.
Thank you for this post! I’ve bookmarked you to read more fully! Our son is now 5 and is in preschool, which works well for him, but his preschool is a definite mix of defined learning time and “free-learning” which sounds like unschooling! Sadly it’s preschool only, but we’ve known for years that public school wouldn’t work for us. We’ve considered online, homeschooling and now, as I watch him learn in school, unschooling. He pitches a fit over drawing his letters on the sheet of paper the teacher wants, but hand him sidewalk chalk and he’s perfectly happy to do the whole alphabet, 1-10, and his shapes. All while alternating colors and telling me what color each is written in. Spent an hour trying to get him to do 3 letters on the worksheet. Gave up, went outside to play, and in an hour he’d drawn happily done everything and more that the worksheet asked for. Fortunately his teacher let me take a picture of him doing it, and considered it done. 🙂
Just started homeschooling! College might be an option but seeing how the world keeps changing and having letters behind your name does not guarantee a job. Having the ability to do or try will get you a job and as long as you instill a love for doing ,things will fall into place.
Katie Pinch says
I have never heard of unschooling before, but I have always been a believer in self-guided learning. This was a great post and very enlightening. :)-Katie
LOVED this post, thank you!
I have been sitting here watching videos and reading your articles all morning and I am in love! 🙂 We have been talking about homeschooling our two kids. I was wondering if you or anyone else has any opinion or ideas for us. I have one that would thrive with unschooling, she is by definition free spirit, is miserable at school wants desperately to homeschool but would not do well sitting and listening to me or being structured. On the other had our son is in all advanced classes always has been, acts like he would like to homeschool but he would require structure, he likes to know exactly what the day en tales right down to a schedule typed up spell checked and plastered on the fridge so he knows what is expected of him. In short my daughter and I are the same I wouldnt do well with a structured system I like to play it by ear and see where the day lands but our son is a lot like poppa like structure and know what is happening before it happens. I homeschooled back in 94′-98′ through high school and my brother and I had a curriculum but i felt like we were pretty relaxed to do whatever subject that suited us that day. Anyhow just wondered if anyone had some advice with two very different kids! Thanks for the info you are delightful!! 🙂
DaNelle Wolford says
My kids are both so different as well! One is an extrovert and one is an introvert, so they definitely have different learning styles. I think it’s pretty normal to have multiple learning styles within one family. I think the best thing you can do is read up on the different learning styles and see if that’s possible for you to do:)
I love the idea of unschooling. My hubby? Not so much 🙂 So we kind of compromised and went with the Charlotte Mason philosophy. I think the idea of homeschooling in general is to meet the needs of YOUR child/ren. I have 8 of them…children that is 🙂 So I know all about differences. It took a while to figure out what works best for us. But here’s the kicker….what works changes over time. We had a child with a lot of medical issues, who is now stable, so those two years were fly by the seat of our pants. Now I am trying to re-implement out routine we had right before baby number 8 joined us. Some of my kids do best with a checklist. Some prefer to know when our block of time for ‘formal’ learning is and they decide what to do first, second, etc. That doesn’t stop us from having a lot of free learning times. We looked up from a book we were reading and saw out our window that one of my daughter’s goat was giving birth…under the trampoline!
I prefer to be more free spirited, but not everyone in the house works best like that. I find a routine works best for everyone. One of the ideas that Charlotte Mason had was to respect the child as a person. And that goes both ways by the way (they need to respect us as persons). This goes a long way in seeing the personal needs of my children. You may have to get creative with finding a way to meet each child’s needs, but life is all about learning to love, and serving others. Sometimes that means they have to ‘give’, and sometimes we have to ‘give’.
Not sure if this was of any help, but know that the wonderful benefit of homeschooling is to meet the child’s needs (they are not pieces in an assembly line, all to come out the same at the end).
Blessings to you and your family and good luck!
DaNelle Wolford says
Haha, under the trampoline is hilarious! My husband’s the same, he likes to have structure. We’re going to find a middle ground this next year. We’re attending a homeschool conference to learn about the different curriculums available but I’m going to hold pretty tight to unschooling! I love it so much!
What a rewarding opportunity for both you and your children. I just left a job working 10 hour days because I felt like I never saw my children. They attend public school, but I now work from home, so I’m here in the morning and again when they get home from school. We have more time together and everyone seems so much happier. I tell you, that is what it’s all about! If I could unschool I would, but due to split parenting time with my ex, and the fact he would never allow it, that is not an option. That doesn’t mean I can’t use the same principals for the time we do have together!
You have to be very careful that home-schcoling and un-schooling doesn’t become no schooling. I like traditional schooling for teaching discipline, deadlines, exposure to contrary ideas, and measuring results.
Traditional schooling has problems too, as we all know. But if parents are vigilant, all these forms of schooling can’t benefit the child.
There was a program in the 60s and 70s called Summerhill that was highly touted. It was, basically, unschooling. It eventually failed because the kids didn’t want to study what they didn’t want to study. There were huge gaps in their learning. Kids who like literature missed out on math and science. So, there’s a lot of pros and cons in all systems.
That should have said…All these forms of schooling CAN benefit the child. Not “can’t.”
Megan Oriah says
Summerhill has actually been around since 1921 and is STILL going sting. Not only that, but it has inspired many similar schools such as the Sudbury Valley School and the Windsor House here in BC, Canada.
Summerhill didn’t fail, you just failed to do your research.
Megan Oriah says
still going STRONG (not sting)
Da’Nelle- thank you SO much for writing this post. It was clear and fun and even my husband loved it (not exactly a blog reader)! We’re in our first year of homeschooling our oldest who is a kindergartner and I’m looking at what we will be doing next year. We have been in an in-school co-op which we feel like we’ve really enjoyed. But something is bothering me lately, and I think this post hit the nail on the head. I’ve felt so pressured to stick with the curriculum so we don’t fall behind, then when we do fall behind we argue and have no fun learning at all. My passion for homeschooling is exactly what you said- to keep the passion for learning alive in these kids!!! I think maybe we are just doing “normal school” at home in a way less fun atmosphere than a decorated school classroom. I think maybe I’ve not fully committed to the concepts of homeschooling that I fell in love with before making the decision to do it. I LOVE how you point to college being the time of “unschooling” for most kids, since they basically have to rekindle a desire to learn and start searching for what they’re interested in. In that perspective it seems like the last 12 years of their life was a total waste- getting passing grades in a structured and standardized system that killed all individuality and passion. I currently teach a (very part time) high school class. I notice that my students are the epitome of apathetic. I’ve had some incredible high schoolers in the past few years that gave me hope about this generation, but I’m seeing a clear decline in the upcoming generation and my students now. They literally don’t care about anything…they don’t care about learning, they don’t care about failing, they don’t care about the future, they don’t care about the grades they get, they don’t care about seemingly anything but pleasuring themselves. I just CAN’T let my kid become like this. I’m really looking forward to more of your next post!!! You’ve truly motivated me, so THANK YOU!!
WOW I have only known of home school and knew a few kids growing up that had it but have never herd of this before it seems very interesting and I can see how kids can learn so much more and more useful “real” stuff from this method of teaching it shows them about life I will be doing some more research into this such a fantastic way of teaching Thanks 🙂
This topic of unschooling has been buzzing all over the internet these days, a lot of local people do it in my area but I feel like their kids aren’t being prepared to attend colleges (only the work force). Instead, they are just learning to learn, which I LOVE, but a kid that devotes all of his time into learning bones, the muscular system, etc can’t just become a doctor without going to college. You nailed exactly what I’ve been feeling as far as having an open, fun, learning environment for my kids, but how do you let them choose which topics to study while still keeping them rounded and ready for the next step of their lives? The next step does come fast, let’s face it!
DaNelle Wolford says
I’m definitely not an expert on unschooling, but I have just kind of divided our focus into two sections – one is their passion, and one is my recommendations. I tell them they need to be open to new things to be successful and so far it’s working fine:)
I’ve found a combination of all best suited for my child. She went to public school and I supplemented her schooling with private lessons from others (music, art, acting), unschooling (she was crying at threes old. when I asked why, she said “All my life, I’ve never seen a Picasso.” Next day we went to a museum. Also, her interests in Greek mythology lead to Shakespeare. She was reading Chaucer and Shakespeare in the second grade).
Her intelligence made it impossible for me to teach her all myself. I love public school, but I always let her interests guide her education. All her public school senior high went to Ivy Leagues. My daughter was Valedictorian and went to Harvard at 16.
Use all three methods for best results. My opinion.
We began our home schooling journey when our kiddos were in 4th and 6th grades and went through high school. I would not say they were unschooled because I was very involved, by intention, in their education, however I was not of the opinion that learning took place only at the table or during ‘school’. I taught my children to be life long learners. My kids had some fantastic learning experiences due to us living overseas during part of their school years and they both had a class on their high school transcript titled accordingly. Several years into college I asked each of them if they would have liked attending a regular school rather than being homeschooled and they both said no, they liked their home school experiences. Our home school journey was a great blessing for our family. 🙂
That said, I will say homeschooling or unschooling is not for the faint of heart or the lazy. I have seen this so often and it makes me angry. I saw it while involved in the homeschooling world and as a teacher in public education. If you choose to teach your children at home, no matter what method you use, do it well. Do it right. Be intentional. If your child has learning problems, find an answer. Your children are depending on YOU!
Very interesting and pretty cool. One question, did Lydia ever get that rat she worked so hard for?
DaNelle Wolford says
Haha, yes! She did!
I am a public school special education teacher, and I found this post very interesting. To a certain extent, at least in my district, this is the direction schools are going. We’re far from there yet, but there is a dramatic shift in the works and a recognition that we are still using eighteenth century practices with an entirely different nineteenth century generation. I loved a lot of what you said, but I had one question. My fiance was homeschooled traditionally with a curriculum (though he luckily had many opportunities for”unschooling”). He did but receive a high school diploma through his program. At first, he was okay with this, but then, he realized people wouldn’t even give him a chance when he asked for jobs. He got his GED and everything was ok after that. Is this what your kids will be doing? Just curious. Thanks for the ideas!
This is very interesting I love the concept I’m just curious and maybe this is a silly question but how does one graduate from un schooling.
DaNelle Wolford says
You don’t receive a diploma, but you can take the ACT and SAT tests to get into college:)
Thank you thank you! You answered all my questions!
I’m looking forward to reading this series. I graduated from being homeschooled and I did really well with a strict curriculum and plan. But I think my son is going to learn best from a very different style!
This is very interesting. I’ve recently considered ‘homeschooling’ my daughter. She will be entering her freshman year in high school in August. We will also be moving to an area where having a garden, chickens and such will be possible. This is my goal, at least. What I’m concerned with is removing her from public school during her high school years. I’m so worried there are things she will need to know for college that I won’t be able to teach her or prepare her for. Of course, by the age of 14, we have all of the basics down. I’m more concerned with the mathematical and science processes she will need experience with as well as the social aspect. I DO know that the conventional classroom setting is something she has difficulty with. She gets bored so easily but yet struggles with some of the academics. Has anyone begun this adventure at the high school juncture?
We homeschooled our 2 children through high school and they both went on to be accepted at every college they applied to. (They both graduated from a private college with honors.). This wasn’t because I am a great teacher but because my husband and I made sure they were well prepared for college. I facilitated their education but did not teach them during high school. We used tutors and classes with other home schooled students throughout high school. We live in Texas where a lot of people home school and the laws are favorable to home schooling so that made it easier. I was also part of a home school group in our area.
You are wise to be concerned about your daughter being prepared for college. I have seen many homeschool parents that are negligent in this. It takes being intentional. I suggest you find a local homeschool group and look on line for classes or schools you can be part of. There are many more on line options now than when my children were in school. Find a home school conference in your state and attend. Read, read, read. Do lots of research to help you in your decision making. Good luck! You can do it!
oh and thank you for the Minecraft link- my boys are going to love it!!
I can’t tell you how much I love this! My kids have been in cyber-school since my oldest (now in 10th grade) was in 2nd grade. I loved it for him & it really seemed to work. But for my other 2 (11 &6) it just wasn’t right. So this year I made the leap away from the safety net of the cyber-school to homeschooling them myself. But apparently I’ve been unschooling & didn’t know it. While we do have some set time at the table it isn’t with a specific curriculum it’s time spent practicing writing & math. But we play games, write silly sentences, watch videos & so much more. When people ask me what curriculum I use I kind of laugh and say we just fly by the seat of our pants. The thing is my kids are learning so much faster & so much better then they ever did out of a book!!
This is such a great post! I haven’t read through your entire blog but at what age did you start Unschooling? Did you ever send your kids to a preschool or school? My children are young (3,1.5,6m) and I’ve been thinking about homeschooling all of them. However I signed the 3 year old up for a 2 day preschool so he can get some social experience. Do you have any suggestions for starting homeschool for young kids?
DaNelle Wolford says
I just started here about 6 months ago!
Jo Hannah says
Two huge thumbs up! This is how we do it, too. One of our primary parental objectives is to nurture our kids’ innate love of learning, instead of training them to hate learning, which is what institutional education did to me for many years.
Paul Raymond says
Hi, I like most of what I read in your blogs. In this particular one about Homeschooling, I am very curious as to how you were able to teach reading to your children. My three girls were all home schooled. My oldest Now has a Bachelors Degree. My middle daughter has had trouble reading from the very beginning. Even now at the age of 24, she still does not read well. I am still concerned for her and would like to help her become a better reader. Any suggestions?
DaNelle, this is a a fantastic post! I have been wanting to learn more about unschooling, and your explanation is so clear and straightforward. Thank you!