Choosing to homeschool your children is an amazing decision that is very rewarding. Though there are a variety of excellent homeschooling styles, we chose unschooling for our children because of its flexibility and limitless learning opportunities.
To a lot of people, unschooling looks out-of-control and chaotic. And unless you have a little bit of organization, it very well could be that way for your family.
Two questions that so many homeschool parents have is 1) how and if you can actually organize your unschool and 2) isn’t unschooling supposed to mean not organizing academics for your kids?
The answers are, yes and yes!
You can organize your unschool and be intentional about your kids’ homeschooling, even though they are given academic freedom.
I’m linking up with the iHomeschool Network to bring you a 5-post series. In these posts, we will explore how you can organize your unschool (even though it sounds a little contradictory!).
The first way to organize your unschool correctly is to understand what unschooling is and what it is not.
What is Unschooling?
Unschooling is an educational philosophy and a way of life, that a lot of families adopt as their form of homeschooling.
It is becoming a more mainstream way to homeschool, after years of being thought of as “taboo”.
The idea behind unschooling is that children will naturally lead the way in their learning. This does not mean that parents take a completely hands-off approach.
Parents are very much the cheerleaders, resource-providers and the life-teachers to their children. Basically, unschooling follows this natural course of parenting.
Unschooling is curiosity-driven and allows children to take time on their studies. There is not a break-down of subjects, or times designated for certain studies. This allows children to dive into a project and master the topics they want to learn about.
Related Post: 101 Reasons to Unschool
The focus of unschooling is to instill a love for learning in your children. Memorization of facts, and other academic knowledge isn’t top priority.
That knowledge will come naturally. Kids will soak up the information they have a vested interest in. That is what unschooling is about.
For unschooling to be successful, parents must be involved in their child’s learning and should be modeling life-long learning so that they enjoy learning as a tool in life.
What Unschooling is Not
There are a lot of misconceptions about unschooling and the principles behind it.
While unschooling boasts freedom when it comes to academics, this does not mean that unschooling equals a free-for-all generally speaking. This is a huge misconception.
Good, positive and nurturing parenting still continues. If your child wants to read a book to you, go for it! If he or she wants to complete a worksheet or workbook, let them!
Unschooling doesn’t mean your child is completely on their own, it just means that their schooling is not structured and lesson-based. You can (and I would highly encourage you to) help your child with whatever they are having difficulty.
Unschooling doesn’t mean you are hands-off. It is quite the opposite. You should be hands-on and showing your child what it looks like to be a life-long learner.
Whatever your child finds interesting is what unschooling is truly about.
Unschooling does not mean that you have to let your household become chaotic and crazy. You can still be intentional about the values and morals you want to instill in your children and unschool.
Unschooling means just that… you don’t do “school”. You do life instead. And in life, you stay purposeful and intentional.
Families who unschool can still be purposeful with their daily routines, goal-setting, reflections and other tasks that increase productivity. Academic freedom is still there, but the children are being given an organizational tool that will help them become intentional and goal-oriented throughout their lives.
For example, parents can sit down with their kids in the morning and set goals for the day. Example goals might be: completing a project from the day before, learning a song on the piano, and going on a nature walk to look for bird nests.
The parent isn’t setting the goals, but the child is. For younger children, the goals can be verbalized and then written down by the parents. Older children can brainstorm their goals and write them down in a designated area.
At the end of the day, families can sit back down together and reflect on their day and their goals, what went well and what did not go well.
Unschooling also does not mean your child is completely on their own to figure out
Unschooling is not what most people think it is. It can be purposeful, intentional, productive and absolutely fun!!!
Unschooling is a great way for kids to take the lead in their learning. Instilling a love of learning in your kids is the top priority in unschooling, and can be done in a multitude of ways.
Unschooling does not mean you “un-life”. An intentional and purposeful life is still a huge component of a successful unschooling experience for your kids.
To learn more about how to organize your unschool, check out the next posts in this 5 posts in 5 days series! (Links will be provided as they are published)
5 Ways to Organize Your Unschool:
⇒What Unschooling Is and What It Is Not