Sunday, 15 January 2012

Attempting Unschooling.....

UnSchooling?!  WWHHAAT???  

I know, that was my first thought, when I heard about unschooling.  I will admit, I thought, “Oh those parents are too lazy to try to teach their children. They just let them sit around, watch TV, and do nothing." and "How are they ever going to be able to do anything with their lives?”  Yes, I was biased, and too immature of a homeschooling parent to even consider the benefits.

Let’s back up a second here.  

Homeschooling is teaching your child at home what they might learn while at a public or private school. IE: Reading, writing, math, science, social studies, etc.  It is taking their education in hand and teaching them yourself instead of having someone else do it.  It has its benefits and its drawbacks. It allows you as a parent to see exactly what your kid is learning and help them to learn in a way that works best for them.  That said, there is the potential to abuse homeschooling, and not teach your children what they need to know, or to do such a bad job at it, that they are way behind because you just didn’t care enough to do it right.  Of course, the flip side is that you are the most awesome teacher in the whole world and  your child turns out to be a genius and grows up to be a mad scientist who speaks 10 languages, reads, writes, and dreams in dead languages, and discovers that the origin of man was truly as it is written in the Bible because he got to interview God.  I like to think that I am an awesome teacher, but that my child is normal and that she will just be smart and happy enough to be comfortable in her own skin and will know how to help herself learn new material in order to be able to pursue her own dreams to the best of her ability.

Aislin has been prospering as a homeschooled student. Her reading and comprehension levels are WAY up, her math is up, her knowledge of science (chemistry and biology) are up, etc.  So why change a good thing?

Well, we decided a while ago, that if we ever got to opportunity to put Aislin in school again, we would make her the eldest in her class rather than the youngest, as she had been.  So, going with that thought we made the decision that since she has completed all the second grade work from last year, and is halfway through her third grade work, we would give workbooks, and 3rd grade "lessons" a break and do real life experiences.  Some of the experiences she wants to learn from are pretty interesting, and all her own choices.  She wants to see how Jan Mitchell makes her glass plates, volunteer at the animal shelter, figure out how to classify corals, understand our local history and why chaney is what it is, "do" marine biology as it pertains to our marine environment, learn more about sushi and cooking in general, learn about rocks, crystals, and minerals, learn about farming, etc. 

I figure that unschooling is about letting kids learn about what interests them, and providing them with as many primary sources as possible to make that learning successful. So, with that in mind, I am going to set up interviews with key people, field trips, find books on those topics, and really get down and dirty with Aislin and what interests her.  Of course, since I am slightly A type, when I want to be, it will be planned, and it will be in an orderly manner.  She WILL keep reading and doing math; and she will learn about stuff that many kids her age do not get to explore in an in depth manner at such a young age.  Hopefully this will serve her well later in life, and give her some good memories of the fun side of learning.

I will have to keep you all posted as to how it goes, but if you are reading this, and you have any skills that can help us in any of her topics of interest, email me :).  If I know you have those skills, never fear, I will be calling you!  It could be as simple as lending us a book, or talking to Aislin after she reads some books on the topic, or hosting a field trip, or even putting her to work to give her hands on experiences.

Let the Unschooling begin!


  1. great post!
    Enjoyed reading it, very well said.

    (we go to the homeschool group sometimes)

  2. Thanks Tiffany! It has been fun so far, really enjoying it.