When you decide to unschool your kids, it can be confusing as to what your role as a parent is going to be.
How do you find the balance in your approach to unschooling? How much do your kids approach on their own?
A huge part of organizing your unschool is understanding what your job is as the parent. It can all feel very overwheming.
Unschooling is certainly NOT a hands-off approach to homeschooling your kids. It is quite the opposite.
So, what is your job while unschooling your kids? Let’s take a look.
This post is part of a 5-post series on organizing your unschool. Make sure to check out the other posts to help you in your unschooling journey!
You do, in fact, have a very important job as an unschooling parent.
While unschooling does take on a free approach to academics, it doesn’t mean that as a parent, your household turns into a free-for-all.
A lot of people misunderstand unschooling for un-life-ing (made that one up myself!) and this is just not the case.
As a parent who is unschooling, you are very much “doing life” and teaching your kids to do the same.
It’s an amazing journey that is so rewarding!
Here are your jobs as an unschooling parent:
Learn about your kids.
In the previous post of this series, I wrote about learning about your kids while you are unschooling.
This is a HUGE part of unschooling and something that should really be explored to have a successful experience.
After all, this is your child’s education and you need to be in tune with their interests and passions.
Related Post: A Day in the Life of an Unschooling Family
Teach your kids to have a love for learning.
Unschooling is based on the principle of teaching your kids to love learning. That is why curriculum isn’t needed.
It doesn’t really matter what your child is learning, as much as it matters that they are figuring out the process and enjoying it.
How do you teach your kids to love learning?
You need to genuinely enjoy learning about things. It could be anything, really.
Are you a musician who learns new songs?
Do you love nature and enjoy hunting for interesting fossils?
Your kids will pick up on your enthusiasm, so this is an important thing as you organize your unschool.
Modeling a love for learning will be something that sticks with your kids for the rest of their lives, so be hands-on and ready to learn along side of your kids!
Related Post: 101 Reasons to Unschool
Provide necessary support and resources.
As your child shows interest in certain subjects, it is essential that they have access to any supplies they might need to pursue projects.
For example, if your child is interested in how robots work, it is your job to assist in researching and figuring out what materials they might need to build their own robot.
Depending on your child’s age, he or she can make their own list of things they need. A trip to the store always makes a great lesson in math and budgeting!
It is unrealistic to think that kids can be successful without this step of the process. Your support with resources will make or break your unschooling experience.
This doesn’t mean that you have to spend tons of money (being creative is also a great goal), but it does mean that you will need to plan out how you will support your child’s interests and passions.
Plan and transport to outings.
One of the biggest perks of unschooling (and homeschooling in general) is that taking a field trip can (and should) be a common occurrence.
Having the opportunity to have learning experiences outside of the home is important for your child. Not only does it help to simply get out of the house, but it also fuels rich learning environments and a chance to investigate new passions and interests.
As your child shows interest in certain topics, it is your job to research where you can go to learn more about it. At a certain age, your child can do the research on their own, but make sure it is an age appropriate expectation.
This might be one of the most misunderstood pieces of being a parent who unschools their children.
The balance between hands-on and letting your child figure things out independently can be hard to achieve.
Here is how you can find the balance:
| 1 | Never turn away your child when he or she needs help.
Unschooling isn’t about your child needing to figure things out “the hard way”, it’s about a partnership between you and them that gives them a broader understanding of learning and following their passions.
| 2 | Show an interest in what your child is working on.
No, you don’t have to be hovering over your child for every minute of the day, but do show an interest in what your child is doing. Ask questions, be there for support and give encouragement as often as possible.
Be the ULTIMATE cheerleader and source of encouragement.
Even when you choose to go the unschooling route with your children, there will be days that are worse than others.
Your kids will still get frustrated over something they’re working on. There will still be doubts and fears and kids who need confidence boosters.
Be the parent that cheers your child on. The parent who is there to help when help is needed.
Encourage your child to try their best, even if it doesn’t equal perfection.
Let your child know that what they are doing is amazing and that you can see their hard work.
Unschooling is a chance to build strong relationships with your kids. Take it as an opportunity to be the positive parents your child needs you to be!
Final thoughts on your unschooling role.
Finding the balance when unschooling your child can be overwhelming and confusing. When is it enough and when do you need to do more?
Always remember that your child will need help with some things and that is absolutely OKAY! Your job as an unschooling parent is to help, encourage, provide necessary resources and instill a love for learning that sticks with them forever!
To learn more about how to organize your unschool, check out the next posts in this 5-post series!
5 Ways to Organize Your Unschool:
⇒The Parents’ Job in Unschooling