Easing into unschooling?

This year has been quite a happy one for me personally and for my family too. Pondering over this recently led me to realise how drastically my approach to the home education of our children has changed.

Although I think of our style as "classical", in my heart and mind I've been leaning towards what some have termed "unschooling". I guess the term can apply to anyone who chooses not to send their child/ren to a typical school, but it does seem to receive a bad rap.

Does unschooling mean that Mum flits around doing what she pleases while the kids languish in boredom and nothingness? Of course not! To me, unschooling is living a lifestyle of learning, having the time to follow your own learning pursuits and build skills independently as well as together.

Now, I don't think of my family as unschoolers. But I do know this. Since I relaxed our formal learning schedule things have changed for the better. We all have more time and we all use our time effectively (for the most part). We appreciate not being tied to a strict schedule that dictates what we do and when we do it. Isn't that one of the reasons I don't send my children to school anyway? It sure is!

Yesterday a few events highlighted the positive changes. My husband is usually home on Mondays, so we use it as a day off rather than a "school work day". In the morning the two older girls (6 & 7) read books about dinosaurs together and had discussions about the same, then the older girl worked on her knitting and stitching projects while the younger one played with Lego. Meanwhile, the littlest in our family (4) was in her room setting up a "farm". Our son (13) went out with his Dad to run errands the spent the larger part of the afternoon formulating and testing mathematical equations that I've never seen before! A year ago, this boy hated maths. Other parts of the day are used for art and craft work, writing, exercise, playing (individually and together), reading (lots of!), prayer and family activities. There is always plenty to do.

I was asked the other day whether we are unschoolers. My reply was "can we be in-betweeners?" We're not throwing our "school" books away, there is a lot of value in sitting down to do bookwork, especially from a self disciplinary aspect and ensuring that basic education is covered. But I do find it truly amazing what a child can achieve when given the space to breathe.

*If you're interested in reading more about unschooling, Sue's blog is excellent and truly inspiring.


Stephanie Philippou said...

Loved this post.

Sue Elvis said...


"...I do find it truly amazing what a child can achieve when given the space to breathe." I am constantly amazed too!

Thank you so much for the link to my blog. That put a smile on my face!

God bless!

Mariangela Wells said...

You have summed up what I envision me doing with my child, and that is to be a 'betweener' also! Thanks for this post..

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