So, you just started Unschooling your kids. NOW, what do I do? How do I homeschool and educate my kids? Great, I am really excited for you! You have just made the best decision of your life and the hardest. I am not going to sugar code this, it has been a long road from when I started in 2010. Let me start by saying it will be tough at first but gets so much better after some time. The hardest part of this whole adventure is YOU coming to piece with the way you are educating your kids or letting your kids take control of their own education.
What is Unschooling
Let me explain. Unschooling is self-directed learning. What does that mean? It is life without school. Pretty simply unschooling means not sending your kids to school, and not creating a school-at-home environment either. Unschooling is a complete rejection of the concept of traditional schooling. Not equating education with a curriculum. According to Wikipedia.
How do I homeschool and educate my kids?
I guess the next question is, how do I homeschool and educate my kids? If I don’t use a curriculum, don’t do school at home, and I am rejecting the concept of traditional school. Then how am I supposed to educate my kids? How will they ever learn? How will I deal with all those people who just don’t understand?
This all really depends on you and how structured you want to be. I am a very laid back person and reject structure. My kids sometimes like structure and want to know our goals or what we may be doing today or this week. We have family discussions and I let them know if we have appointments or give ideas of what we can do. When they were younger I would give them two or three options and let them decide what they wanted to do. As they have gotten older and became teenagers they make suggestions.
The first step to Unschool
Your first step Unschooling should be deschooling yourself and your kids. The rule of thumb is 6 years of brick and mortar school equals 6 months of deschooling. This will be the hardest part but this is how you and your children retrain the brain to Unschool. Let learning become fun, watch movies, and get back to nature. This is a great post I wrote about Deschooling many years ago, right here.
My best advice for you, grab your favorite book, or binge on your favorite TV show. Stay out your kid’s hair and let them be. Your child might decide to watch tv for the next four months. Yes, it will drive you and your spouse crazy but I promise its ok. Eventually, your kids get tired of doing the same thing. Ask them what they are interested in or make suggestions. If its video games, then find a way to incorporate that, by finding an online class or watching video on special effects and how its made. This is the time for you to start your research on Unschooling, Free Range schooling, and self-directed learning. Get advice from fellow moms, ask questions on facebook or look up youtube videos. Nowadays, there is tons of information.
Second Step to Unschooling
The second step, after you have survived the many months of deschooling. Sit down with your kids and have them, or help them make goals. I do this with mine every year, and as they have gotten older they have become more about future goals. Find some co-ops, classes online, sports team, music class, or community art class, that they can get involved in. Ask what their interests are if they don’t know, then try everything. Make them go to that Lego class, and if they hate it, then try something else. The girls attended a Finance class and ended up not going to the last three classes because I was so done with the complaining.
Last step to Unschooling
Last, step is to enjoy the process. If you’re not having fun then whatever you are doing is not working. We don’t do workbook sheets, assignments, write book reports, or take tests. We did pool scrabble spelling and math, played board games and made a marble rollercoaster. I would navigate Pinterest, ask friends and talk to fellow moms to see what they used for homeschooling. If we tried something and they hated the class, complained, through baby fits, we quite and tried something else. My deal is you have to attend the class three times, if it doesn’t get better then we try something else.