❝Children need to be themselves, to take their own paths and schedules, and above all to learn to trust and follow their own instincts and interests.❞ – John Holt
Is there such a thing as an unschooling schedule? While both words are almost opposites of each other, let’s take a look at what an unschooling schedule or rhythm might be.
As an unschooling family, our days are anything but typical. We don’t adhere to rigid schedules and textbooks that are the cornerstone of traditional schooling.
Instead, our family dances to the beat of our own drum, embracing the freedom and flexibility that unschooling offers.
I do, however, believe that it’s important to have a system in place for kids. That system can revolve around sleep times, eat times, reading times, extra curricular, etc., but you have to stay flexible. That’s the key.
Our unschooling schedule is actually more of a “rhythm” and it looks a little something like this:
Thankfully my kids have always slept in, so we aren’t all up at the crack of dawn. Usually by 8 or 9 a.m., everyone is up.
We start our day with…. Drum roll… screen time.
This gives the kids time to wake up and me time to get food ready for breakfast/brunch.
By 10 a.m., I like for screens to be off so we can eat, do chores and carry on with our day. Am I a drill sergeant for the cut off time? No, but I try pretty hard to be close.
Next, we eat a quick breakfast and do our “animal chores”. We walk dogs, feed and water chickens and goats, feed all indoor critters (ferrets, bearded dragon, fish and other creepy crawlers) and make sure all our furry, feathered and scaly family members are taken care of for the day.
Most days, if the weather permits, we are outside for the bulk of the morning. My daughter usually has a dog outside that she’s training and the boys play and build and explore our property.
There is no typical afternoon in our house. Some common afternoon activities for the kids include:
➜taking care of their indoor/outdoor plants
➜creating an ecosystem with plants, insects and debris from outside
➜taking care of fish tanks— filling water, testing water, moving fish, researching fish and their needs.
➜drawing at the kitchen table using THIS DRAWING BOOK.
➜practicing a new math skill using THIS MATH WORKBOOK.
➜Playing a game together. Our current favorite is Slapburger. Grab it here on Amazon.
➜ learning about something on YouTube (I do limit screens to the best of my ability, so in the afternoon, YouTube usage has to be for something they are learning about)
➜ taking a walk through our neighborhood.
One of my favorite things about unschooling is teaching life skills. Whether it’s cooking a meal together, managing finances, or working on my small business together, we weave these practical lessons into our daily routines.
While we don’t adhere to a strict schedule, we do have a loose structure to our days.
This might include a quiet time in the afternoon, discussions on current events, or collaborative art projects. The key is to remain flexible and open to spontaneous learning opportunities that arise.
My kids are also very involved in gymnastics and tumbling classes so we are usually at the gym a few times a week. That helps us structure our week and have some consistency.
The beauty of homeschooling, and specifically unschooling, is that you can mold it to be whatever works best for your family. There are no “wrong” answers, as long as your kids are enjoying the learning process!
As the day winds down, we gather as a family to reflect on our experiences and discuss ideas that have surfaced throughout the day.
I always ask my kids what their favorite part of the day was and usually there are several favorite parts!
This time allows us to connect on a deeper level and reinforces the idea that learning is a lifelong journey.
Forming an Unschooling Schedule:
- Follow the Rhythms: Instead of imposing a strict schedule, observe your family’s natural rhythms and build your day around them. Whether it’s morning larks or night owls, embrace the ebb and flow of your family’s energy levels.
- Flexibility is Key: Be willing to adapt and adjust your schedule as needed. Unschooling is all about embracing spontaneity and allowing for organic learning experiences to unfold.
- Trust the Process: Trust that your children are natural learners who will thrive when given the freedom to explore their interests at their own pace. Let go of the need for control and embrace the journey of learning together.
- Embrace Everyday Learning: Remember that learning doesn’t just happen in textbooks or classrooms. Encourage curiosity and exploration in everyday life, whether it’s through cooking, gardening, or simply observing the world around us.
So, the next time someone asks about our “unschooling schedule,” I’ll simply smile and say, “We’re too busy embracing the rhythm of life to be bound by schedules.” After all, in the world of unschooling, every moment is an opportunity for discovery and growth.