Initially, it can be a very big step to just let go of curriculum. However, after that, there are further steps on the way to fully giving our children’s lives over to God’s leading.
Relaxed homeschooling is the natural next step when one lets go of the idea of replicating “school at home, only richer/better/more accepted by the child.” The difference between it and unschooling lies in letting go of school at home, but not (yet) our conceptions of “richer/better,” and being content merely with “more accepted by the child” while still trying to live up to school-derived goals such as reading or arithmetic. The following is a compilation of responses by CU moderators explaining ways to get further into the deschooling process. Continue Reading
There’s actually a separate name for “partially unschooling.” Relaxed/Eclectic is its own brand of homeschooling. Because it’s so eclectic (drawing from many sources), people tend to swing between gleaning from more traditional homeschoolers and gleaning from unschoolers. I think that actually the majority of homeschoolers fall somewhere in this framework. But as many people reflect when they say “we unschool except for… math/English/that one thing,” R/E tends to rely on traditional academic categories and assumptions, rather than the assumptions that are the driving power behind unschooling. Continue Reading
It took me until my 30’s to even begin to learn what it even means to be in control of my own problems. I’m still working on it as I look ahead into my 40’s. I was rereading this post about unschooling apraxia by Jennifer McGrail. The following phrase jumped out at me:
“His not being able to tie well or write neatly are not an issue unless he decides they’re an issue.”
Did anyone along the way ever teach you that there isn’t a problem unless you decide there’s a problem? Or, like me, did you learn from early childhood that everyone else around you must be right about what’s problematic… and they have the right to define it for you? Continue Reading
We receive many “but, but” objections and statements from those who are questioning unschooling and not yet ready to make the leap. For those who are just beginning, many of these thoughts may also recur, so here are some responses. When things get scary, the best option is to breathe… and release. We can let go of fears with the help of a little practical thinking.
1. My teenager is going to college. How do I make sure he/she has all the right math/writing/science/whatever requirements if we unschool? Will colleges even accept them if they don’t have those things? Continue Reading
“I refuse to allow my kids access to the addictive agents such as video games and leisure tv (cartoons) all day.”
– Christian Unschooling forum user
“refuse” – That is problematic.
“addictive” – That is problematic.
“all day” – That is problematic.
You have set up beliefs on false information that seems reasonable and true because it is touted by “experts” and from “pulpits” and “tradition” etc.
Getting to the root of your “why” on such things will help you to see that they are fear based. Continue Reading
“But how will they be prepared for…?”
Recently, I read that in our culture, dreams about school are in the top five recurring dreams. And in an informal online survey on dreams about school, out of 128 respondents, zero rated their dreams as pleasant. They described being deeply stressed or panicked by a feeling of excessive stupidity, lostness, and lack of preparation. Continue Reading
In a recent conversation about homeschooling special needs (dysgraphia, dyslexia, etc.), a new homeschooler/education adventurer said the following to me. It’s a common reaction, especially if you have limited experience with homeschooling overall.
“I don’t think unschooling is for us. I like the ideas, but I panic. My kids are already middle-school age and I only have a limited amount of time left. And it makes me really uncomfortable. And, I’m a writer. That’s really important to me. I want them to read. Everyone in my family reads. I really think they need to as well.”
I chose not to respond at the time, because it felt like anything I might say would add pressure to a person already putting intense pressure on herself. Knowing that this woman was already maxing out her courage, it seemed like a time to just listen.
Someday, sometime, this is what I’d wish for her to think about. Continue Reading
I know that unschoolers don’t use curriculum, but what if your child is asking for it? Is it wrong to give them a workbook and let them go through it?
This questioned is posed a lot in our Facebook group. It will pop up every so often and I always try to answer in specific terms to the discussion and person asking.
My personal response usually goes something like this:
Yes – but with caveats. It’s not “wrong” to give your child a workbook, textbook, or curriculum as a resource to use. Unschoolers are not against those things. In general, we disagree with requiring a child to learn or complete a curricula. If a child is interested in physics there is no reason to deny him any resource that would help him learn it – including schoolish ones.
When I think of a typical unschooling day, I tend to start blending all the awesome things that have happened over several days into one amazing experience.
There are days for us that are filled with life, learning, and adventure. But more often than not those things are spread over weeks, and in between we have what I often fear are unproductive intervals. Continue Reading
During my years (yes, years!) of deschooling, as I journeyed towards really getting unschooling, I struggled with one main question:
HOW MUCH SHOULD I DO? HOW MUCH SHOULD I SUGGEST AND OFFER IDEAS AND ACTIVITIES?
I couldn’t get my head around it. I was learning to trust that my children would learn from living life, I was learning to set them free … but I wasn’t sure how much to “let them be,” and how much to suggest ideas for activities and outings, etc. How active should my role be? When I heard about the concept of “strewing” I realised I had found my answer! The problem was how I went about doing it. Continue Reading