Beginning Unschooling with older kids: A Candid Conversation

Any advice for our family? We are considering Unschooling but I am apprehensive. Our children, a boy (14), boy (13) and boy and girl twins (11), were in public school, then we were called to homeschool for the past 3 years. We have done mainly “school at home.” Is it to late to try unschooling at their ages?

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How We Fund Our Unschooling Life

Our daughter was 11 when we unenrolled her from public school. For the first 11 years of her life, I worked full-time-plus, in an office, and for several of those years, I was also a full-time college student. My husband works a 55-hour-a-week office job as well (much of that in the late evening and early morning hours), and there were days we felt like we didn’t even see our house, or each other. Continue Reading

Autodidacticism is Contagious

I took this photo of my son, helping his grandmother learn a software program to remind me: my children are and always will be autodidacts. He had no knowledge of this software Grandma wanted help with, but he was there to help give her the confidence she needed to see how to explore and learn what it was she needed to know. If there’s one thing autodidacts know how to do, it’s helping others learn how to be autodidacts themselves. Continue Reading

The Scheduled Unschooler

You know that picture that some people have in their heads of the homeschooler chained to a desk in the kitchen, or worse, the unschooler who just watches television all day long, eats junk food, and can only handle social interaction by unsocialized grunting?

Erase all those preconceived notions and come and meet my kids. I have four children: Noa is 17, Colter is 15, Kyler is 11, and Mica is 9.

We are unschoolers, but we have have a fairly rigid schedule we follow … because my children have chosen to engage in a number of activities outside the home. Most are casual or fun, some are formally academic. When we’re home, we often just collapse to relax! Continue Reading

Just Another Ordinary (Extraordinary) Day

Some days just seem so ordinary – but if we have eyes to see, the extraordinary will appear.

  • Miss 9 was awake watching television when I got up …

… She was also looking at a diary and last year’s calendar, and was using her new blue clipboard (a longed-for acquisition). She seemed deeply engrossed but slowly managed to raise her head from her paper world, and the questions began: “Mum, how do you spell February?” “Mum, how many days are in March?” Which naturally progressed to discussions about leap years, the history of calendars, and a little rhyme I learned as a child, to help with remembering how many days were in each month. Continue Reading

Our Unschooled Friday

We’ve been unschooling since the last millennium. (Wow, that sounds impressive, but really isn’t.) When my second son was born in 1999, I decided I didn’t want to miss any more of the daily discoveries of my two boys, so I left the corporate world and embraced an entirely new lifestyle.

Our unschooling day in 2012 of course doesn’t look like it did in 1999. Actually our unschooling day today doesn’t look like it did yesterday. Unschooling means we meet our needs at the moment, and our needs are constantly changing. Continue Reading

What, You Learn on Saturdays?

When I got to kind of introduce myself to the Christian Unschooling community through the Unschooling Portraits series, I described myself like this:

I’m Joan Otto, wife to Chris and mom to Sarah (who’s 12). We live in central Pennsylvania in a house that also includes my mom, a large dog, 5 cats, and a hamster. We’re new to homeschooling of any sort, sort of – I was homeschooled for several years, but our daughter had been in public school until Leap Day – Feb. 29 of this year. We blog about our life at Our School at Home. (Which was a funny choice for a title, really, given that we aren’t “school at home” types at all.)

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