What is Unschooling?
My husband and I got into a discussion about this subject last week. I was explaining to him how I tell my friends or random people who ask me what is the definition of Unschooling. I basically say it’s self-directed learning. The kids learn what they want, how they want, when they want, and I direct them or lead them to find the answers they seek. I was telling him that I get the head turned to the side, big eye looking at me blinking, with the what the Hell did this women just say to me, eyes in a head light stare. He laughed and said I know people just don’t get it, don’t want to get it or just think your crazy. I honestly think it’s a little of all 3 but that is what I am trying to change.
I am not trying to get everyone to start unschooling or homeschooling their child. Good grief there are just some people who need that time away from their kids, and some kids need to be away from their parents. I have friends that need discipline and could never just go with the flow, I have friends that are over achievers and need their children to get “A’s” they need someone to tell them what to do, and how they need to do it. I have friends that work and need 2 incomes just to pay the bills and be able to have some fun money. Hey I get it, it’s not for everyone and sometimes it is hard to deal with your kids 24/7. Trust me when I tell you that we have enough crazy moms homeschooling their kids, but more on that later, another post another day.
So here is how my Hubby and I came up with a way to explain Unschooling.
Lets say you wake up one day, and you decided that you want to write a blog or make a website. What would you do?? You would get on the internet and start googling how do I start a blog and you may find a great blog on. You would be teaching yourself how to do something, or self-directed learning. There is no teacher that is going to walk into your bedroom at 8 am and say Mrs. X here is the study guide for writing a post, read it today and I will test you on Friday and then you can begin. If you want to learn how to make a website and write posts you have to become motivated and want to learn it. You have to get on the internet, go to library, amazon look up ebooks on blogging, ask a friend, you might come across a great website like How to start a blog by Amy, or even pay someone to make a blog/website for you. The point is you figured out how to do it on your own, and it doesn’t matter how you got it done but that you did it. Think about how great you feel when your blog is up and running and how you tell everyone that you have 10 hits a day. NO that’s not a lot for some big websites but it’s huge to you because you did it, and you figured it out.
Now with all that in mind, think about your kids. Why not teach them now the skills they need when they get that big job, want to start a business, or make reservations to take you to Paris, France. Unschooling is teaching them to get excited about learning, to want to discover new things. They will learn to love that feeling of accomplishment when they get their project done. They will have the desire to find out new things on their own, and figure out how to ask for help if they need to. I don’t care how my girls get a project done, but that they get it done. They still have a time line, they still have a grade pass or fail. I have taught them that if they fail – it’s not a “F” – it’s a question….Why did I fail and how can I get it right the next time or how can I improve or do I need to ask for help, or maybe I looked at the wrong website or book. Maybe the information I received was wrong and I need to ask a different question, or maybe I need to come back to that topic later and do something else, and think about it for a while.
Let your kids be kids. Unschooling is letting go and knowing that if you give your child freedom to learn he or she will learn and it will surprise you. Kids should be able to ask questions, even if they get a NO for the answer, why is it no, why can’t I do that? Kids desire to be like us, and they look up to us. They have opinions, desires, emotions, they get scared like us, they play sports like us, they want to know about the world like us. If we let our children ask those hard questions, and not sit them at a desk doing clerical work all day maybe some kids will figure out why we have starvation in the world, why is our economy in the tank, how we can fix the tax problem that we all hate, how can we play more and work less, or maybe work is play so who cares. Lets let our kids think outside the box, not fill in the answer on a test so the government can control us and make us into more factory workers that don’t question or stand up for what is right. THEY JUST DO BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT THEY HAVE BEEN TOLD TO DO…