I am not an expert in any area of homeschooling or unschooling. I do not have a degree in child development, nor teaching. But I am an expert in my own children, and I have talked to various friends about their homeschooling methods or curriculum and what they have learned.
I should also say before we get too far into this, though I don’t plan on this being a long post, is that each state has their own laws and regulations around homeschooling, so be sure to check those out before you jump into anything.
The basic principle of unschooling, is not doing a structure school teaching process. Your child(ren) will lead by their interest in how they want to learn, which actually helps them learn more and could, in the long run, even help them in knowing what they want to do when they are ready for work/college.
So much has changed in school. There is no longer a home economics class. Seems like PE is something that has become more of a playtime instead of actually working the students with physical activity. Depending on the type of school your child goes to means even more classes have disappeared and possibly even sports/extras.
In class they are so focused on making sure students pass certain tests they cram so much into the learning time it just falls right back out of the students heads. they can’t hold it all, not to mention they miss prime learning time for that subject by overdoing it. If children are falling behind, they meet with the parents to lower their child’s educations instead of challenging and finding out why your child is not learning with the rest.
In unschooling, there is no set standard on your child. I have seen both of my daughters learn more math in 20 minutes or less a day then they have in a traditional school setting. They are learning more about history being able to dive deeper in eras that catch their interest than being force feed based on the chapter that has to be done by the end of the week. Their interest in baking and cooking has sparked up more with more time to devote to that.
As a parent, who has gone to school and has had my girls in a school system, it’s hard to wrap my head around not having set subjects every days. That’s ok. But really think about it. When they are babies, they are learning every day through experiences, and we accept that. they learn that crying means they will get a diaper change, bottle, cuddles etc. As they get older they learn to use their muscles to help them hold their own bottle, crawl, sit, walk etc. Once they start playing with toys they learn about colors, shapes, problem solving comes natural in their playtime with toys, siblings, playdates with friends. This continues until society has deemed them appropriate age for school. Then we force a standard way of learning/teaching on them.
Just like we are unique, our children are unique. They each learn differently and have different interests. They still learn every day in what they are doing. It’s ok to break the mold on how to school and do it your way.
While I am not fully following the unschooling method, I am fully following our method lol. I am learning how my two girls best learn, what they are interested in, and how to ensure they keep growing by their interest and not killing their interest by force feeding them something else.
I use Kahn Academy to make sure they are progressing in areas like math and grammar. These are big areas that kids can fall behind on in the school system. Why is this a concern to me? Because while I am working from home right now, if anything should change causing me to have to physically go into an office again, I want to know that they can fall right back into their grade. Of course reading is something else they can also fall behind in, but, they are reading everyday. Their bible, anytime they do anything online, books of their choosing, books for history, you get the point. So outside of math and grammar my focus is them finding what they are interested in learning about and getting whatever I can, be it a book or activity, to help them learn more about it.
There are so many great resources out there, and some are even local. Check out library events, set up tours of local businesses, connect with homeschool families in your area, and don’t forget about kits. Our newest addition right now is Eat 2 Explore. It combines some geography with a little history on the country, and hello, cooking and baking are both scientific and you need to use math for how much of what you are adding. I will throw in questions like how much of a cup is 1/4 cup? How many 1/4 cups would it take to make 1 cup etc.
Make learning fun, help them grow their interest. You might end up with a Doctor, engineer, culinary chef, who knows! Just focus on your child as an individual, and don’t force learning. It happens naturally, I promise. Just be there to encourage and build on it.