View Full Version : Unschooling????????

05-21-2004, 08:10 PM
What are your opinions of unschooling? My SIL uses that approach with her girls and it seems to work well for them. The two ladies I've heard back from that are members of the local homeschoolers group also say they "unschool".

I'm so new to all this and just looking for opinions. Thanks!!!:D:D:D

05-22-2004, 07:32 AM
I am scared to do this. I have to be structured. I would be scared I wouldn't teach what Vicki would need to know for that year. Their is a lot of people who do this and do good with it but I am to scared to.

05-22-2004, 07:59 AM
I can see where reporting to the state would be difficult, that's for sure. I like the "idea" of it, just not sure that it's something that would for us. We've always been schedule driven b/c the twins required that, or I should say we required that to keep our sanity.....LOL I also don't agree with the "let them do whatever they want approach", but I am attracted to the free style learning that is child led.

My SIL's girls are so far beyond their age and astound me every time I see them. However it take s a lot out of my SIL and her DH to do this. I often wonder when they have time for themselves?

05-22-2004, 01:53 PM
We are just on the edge of unschooling but definitely child led. If we had reporting issues such as having to teach certain topics each year then it would be more difficult! However, we do not have that. So....I am not concerned that their counterparts in structured education may have studied Rainforests last year but my crew did not take the path to that area of study. It doesn't really matter and I don't know a single person that entered University having to know much of anything about Rainforests!! So...our society works on the premise that there are certain topics that should be studied each year for children. This is a nice tidy system and moves kids throught that system on a fairly even ground. Some will remember what they learned. Some will have enjoyed it. Some will have scored great grades on their work and many will have the info pass through their brains into an imaginery trashcan. Most, but not all, of the child-led learning families are ahead of their peers. Not just in WHAT they know but HOW they know.....the process of finding out is highly evolved compared to their counterparts. They also seems to retain the knowledge better and be able to use it conversation...not just repeat facts or interject facts into coversation.

What works here may not work with others. It does take a leap of faith but once you do it, well, your eyes may be opened wide! I fully believe that children want to learn, want to be busy, want to explore etc. I fully believe that if left to it they will not just want to sit and watch television all day. I fully believe they do not need to be taught every step in life. I do very little teaching. We homeschool!!! My kids have time each day for self exploration and self discovery. THey can in fact teach themselves alot of math. My crew all work years ahead of themselves and are self-driven. But keep in mind they have all had been give the space and time to do this.

When I see a spark of interest in my four and five year old I fill our home with books etc. on that topic. I take them to local places that will further that interest. We might watch a video, we might use the internet. My oldest is nine so he finds most info he wants himself but I still share in the excitement as well as the process. Unschooling doesn't mean the kids just cruise the day with no direction, no sense of purpose. It does mean that as parents we should be prepared to change directions and/or delve very deeply into one topic. My nine year old spent a solid 11 months acquiring enough information on Solar Systems etc. to account for an entire school career. He could easily be taking college or university courses in that subject area with what he gained in that time. And...he has retained it all, every last bit and scrap. When he was four or five (I am actually starting to forget these things) he sat for months memorizing the map book of our city. He can still tell me how to get anywhere from any starting point. Although I know that wouldn't be found in any classroom teaching plan or homeschool curriculum, it has been a very practical bit of information that has been well used. It will continue to be for as long as he lives in this city.

This is a bit long so hopefully you made it to the end. Education does not have to be complicated. You do not need to spend endless amounts of time seeking out curriculums nor do you need to buy high priced ones. We like to use Singapore Math and Miquon Math. They do it all willingly but honestly I might insist on Math if the interest wasn't there.

Keep researching for how you would like to homeschool. Your children are young and need no form of workbooks or curriculum at this age. Time, imagination, working with their hands, lots of books, art supplies, music and physical activity. Please don't get caught up in the workbook craze for little ones!! I know some kids love them but that is generally because they can do everything that is in them. Very passive activity.


05-22-2004, 03:29 PM
Thanks Michelle that is wonderful insight! The more I read about homeschooling, the more I see that it is more about changing my thinking and ideas as opposed to trying to "teach" my kids. I'm learning so much reading about all the various styles of homeschooling and it's awesome:D

I can definately see us unschooling the more I read about it.;)

05-22-2004, 04:13 PM
I am seconding Michelle's remarks. And, ummmm....I guess that sums it up! :D

I will only add that for those fearful that their children need to be tested to show what they have learned, you needn't fear. Daily conversations are more than enough proof of proficiency. Children, when genuinely curious, will "self-test" anyway. They will ask a question--to themselves or someone else--and seek to fill the missing piece of the puzzle.

Homeschooling is wonderful, but being relaxed and relevant with your children's education is AWESOME!!!:cool: :cool: :cool:

P.S. earlier today, my almost 8yo ds was reading an entry in his dictionary about types of clouds....since then he's been looking at the sky and talking about the various types of clouds he sees and their approximate altitude. In one reading session he has read, studied, and committed to memory 7 or 8 types of clouds. No prompting, no seatwork, no test. Just one example...... :D :D :D

05-23-2004, 11:50 AM
Brooke! I think our boys would get along so well! My nine year old was quite into clouds two years back and still today assesses the type of clouds seen each week and what weather we can likely expect. Do you have a weather station set up in your yard? My crew love ours.

Heather...may I recommend a book? Creative Home Schooling by Lisa Rivero. It was orginally geared to the support the needs of families homelearning with gifted children. In my opinion it is a great book for any family. YOu just have to skip over the g/t references and use her wonderful ideas. Her resource/book suggestions are wonderful. THey are not heavy on the commercial side either. My five year old son loves the Charlie Brown question/answer books and I never would have found them without her suggestions. I buy the books, leave them hanging around and sure enough...my middle guy can be seen carrying that book around often throughout the day. Very cute. On the abcteach board there were a few unschooling types lurking and not posting much. I was just about to post a weekly check in when the board announced it's temporary closure. I also like books by John Holt. A little preachy of the lack of need of structured education but what he writes makes sense and I have three good examples of how great child-led learning is.


05-23-2004, 03:13 PM
I want to read what John Holt has to say, I've heard he is the guru on unschooling. I hadn't heard about the other book, thanks for the suggestion:D:D:D

How do you set up a backyard weather station???? That sounds like an awesome idea (I know I say that a lot but man you guys have some REALLY awesome ideas) LOL

05-23-2004, 03:29 PM
Weather is not my forte, but it seems to be one of my ds's strong suits.....off the top of my head, I am thinking of raingage, wind sock, homemade barometer (I've always heard of them inside, though)....what else do you use for your weather station?

One of my bros is a professional pilot. Before finishing his degree, he had to take massive amounts of meteorological studies. I'll see if he kept any of his college texts....hmmmm....this could get pretty interesting! I might just do a quick search for "backyard weather station"....I bet I have something in one of the millions of books around here, too.

05-23-2004, 09:51 PM
Thanks Brooke:D I think my guys would enjoy the wind sock and rain gauge. I was also thinking about making a sun dial for the backyard.