Unschooling Portraits: Melissa

Please introduce yourself.

I’m Melissa. I’m a proud police wife. My husband and I have been together 17 years. Our children, ages 10, 8, 5.5, and 3, have never been in any daycare or schooling type setting. We have three girls and one son. We discovered homeschooling as a viable option when our older daughter was in the hospital. She went into liver failure shortly after a vaccination, which required her to have a liver transplant at the age of two. After her transplant we knew we could not send her to school and expect them to keep on top of her medications correctly, and we didn’t want her to be exposed to illnesses on a regular basis with her immune system being compromised. We are blessed that she is eight years post transplant and doing wonderfully today. Though her transplant opened the door to homeschooling, all the amazing reasons to homeschool the children beyond just medical reasons were soon discovered by our family.

What does your typical day look like?

Well we don’t really have typical days, as any unschooling family can attest to. Ours are so varied but I do have them on our blog, Cordova Academy. We are homebodies though and really enjoy our time at home. We do try to go to the park as often as the kids like. We attend church every Monday night as a family. My kids love math, reading Life Of Fred, via video games and apps on their kindle fires. And my ten-year-old loves reading about history. She and I are also doing a bible study where we read and discuss the bible and how to apply it to our lives.

What does the term “unschool” mean to you?

My ten-year-old loves telling people about unschooling. I’m going to defer to her answer which is: learning by living life.

Have you always unschooled or did you, like many, gradually move from traditional homeschooling (or public school) towards unschooling?

No we haven’t always unschooled. We made a gradual shift while using the Robinson curriculum which we had down to about an hour of Mom required work with the rest of the day being free for the kids. We are fully living the radical Christian unschooling lifestyle.

What interests do your kids have that you never would have guessed they would develop?

My older girls do tons of research and comparison shopping. They use eBay and Amazon to research prices of dolls they want to add to their collections. They plan how to spend their allowance (freely given not for any purpose other than for them to have spending money). My ten-year-old likes cleaning up the house and loves the Life Of Fred math books for reading.

What are some of the benefits of unschooling that you have seen?

Family connections and relationships are so focused on, so in the forefront, so I’d say a tight, close, open family where the kids feel okay telling us anything no matter what it is. And we are all friends. I never thought kids and parents could be friends. I used to think parents had to be the boss not the friend. But we are close friends and enjoy our time together.

What are some of the negatives?

I do think it’s more of a challenge for parents because you really do have to be invested and interested in being with your kids.

Tell us about your best day (or your worst).

Every day is a blessing. Every day has a million moments where my kids make connections in this beautiful world and one another.

Favorite definition of unschooling:

I’d have to say my daughter’s definition. Learning through living life. It’s so true. Learning can’t not happen. It just happens, as part of living, you can’t prevent it. God makes us so wonderfully to be born to learn.

Thanks for your unschooling portrait, Melissa!

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