Unschooling is an approach to education that has the child and the family in the drivers seat of how learning is done. The parents role is to provide space and tools for the child to access and connect with everything they love to do, to read about and to explore, and then to watch them flourish.
Unlike conventional schooling, unschooling allows your child to spend as much time on an interest as they like. Rather than having a set curriculum for your child, lesson plans or a scheduled day of bookwork, unschooling happens through living life itself.
For us, unschooling our three children has had a heap of benefits for our family. Here are the top five top reasons we love unschooling.
1. UNSCHOOLING GOES HAND IN HAND WITH CONSCIOUS PARENTING
Unschooling has been a very natural progression that has come through our natural parenting style. When we gave Leroy the choice about whether or not to go to school, he wanted to experience what it was like. He had never been to child care and he didn’t last more than a few weeks at kindergarten but he was positive about school. The positivity faded quickly though and he missed his time at home.
He wanted to stay with his family and keep doing the things we had been doing through the day together. Those days centred on lots of unstructured play, exploring and adventures outside. Leroy directed our time together, we ate when we were hungry and we relaxed when we got tired. We lived and learned together and a full day at school took that away from us. Leroy gave school a go but stopped enjoying it so we pulled him out. With Leroy at home Violet also chose to drop out of kindergarten so she could learn on her own terms.
2. UNSCHOOLING ALLOWS US TO DIVE DEEPLY INTO AN INTEREST
Unschooling allows us to delve into whatever the kids are interested in for however long they are interested in it. Violet loves baking, art and craft so she is free to do art (whether it is drawing or painting or anything else) all day if she chooses. We just leave the glue, paints, pencils and paper out for her.
When Leroy went through a phase where he was obsessed with volcanoes we read about volcanoes (reading), we wrote books about volcanoes (writing) using facts that we looked up online (IT), we crafted volcanoes out of paper mâché and painted them (art) and had them explode with bi-carb soda and vinegar (science). We did volcano drawings and colouring and we watched volcanoes erupting around the world on Youtube. There is no way to do this when the day is taken up by formal schooling. In school, it seems as though as soon as the child begins to dive deeply into a topic, the bell rings and they are pulled away from their interest.
3. UNSCHOOLING IS GREAT FOR TRAVELLING FAMILIES
The world is the best place for learning! We love to travel as a family and unschooling (or worldschooling) is the best way to do it. Every location has its own history, culture and stories.
As Unschoolers we have the time and mindset to explore all of the places we have dreamed of going and our kids get to learn about a variety of different places and people around the world. There is lots of planning involved and, in turn, lots of learning. From geography when we decide on a location to maths when we budget. Every aspect of life involved learning for us.
4. SCHOOL IS OUTDATED
I truely believe that the way we do schooling as a society is outdated. The model of the school system as it stands today was developed in Prussia to ensure soldiers listened and took orders from their authority. This model of education was imported to the US during the Industrial Revolution so that factory workers stayed in line, ate when they were told and did what they were told as a group. Kids should not be forced to go to a place filled with other kids their age, sit still and be instructed by a stranger. I don’t believe that is the best way for a child to learn.
5. UNSCHOOLING KEEPS US TOGETHER
As a family we love each other and enjoy each others company. The kids can play all day together and they are happy. They love seeing their extended family and having lots of time outside and with other friends but at the end of the day we all love being together.
When Leroy was at school we all missed him. His sister asked for him and life was not the same without him. After school he was tired, we would play a little then have dinner and go to bed. School sucked away the best part of the day and there was simply not enough quality time to spend together after school was done. Unschooling allows us to stay together as a family.
Why do you love unschooling? Let us know in the comments.