For the last 4 years I have unschooled my daughter at home. I have heard the sentiment “Unschooling wouldn’t work for everyone” so many times and every time I hear it I cringe. Unschooling can work for anyone. Unschooling is the freedom and choice to learn how, when and what we want. There are numerous prodigies throughout history who have successfully unschooled by choosing the lifestyle of self directed learning.
Unschooling allows the child to choose their own path in life, with the support and assistance of parental/caregivers in their life. I trust my daughter with her own education even at the tender age of 8. I am not my daughters’ teacher; I am my daughters’ resource – librarian, chauffeur or tutor. I encourage my daughter to be well rounded by providing math books, story books, handwriting practice books but it is her decision on how she uses these books.
One of the main reasons unschooling appealed to me was because my daughter gets exposed to things she wouldn’t come to if her learning was directed by school. I definitely don’t consider myself a radical unschooler.
I expose my daughter to new things on a regular basis, but I don’t demand or expect that she will like it or even get anything out of what I expose her to. I let her tell me what the next step should be and tend to push her to be a bit better. And if she isn’t ready to go to the next step then I meet her where she is until she is ready. Being unschooled we have the freedom to do that.
At the age of 4 my daughter was really interested in penguins. She was always asking questions about penguins so we went to the library to get all the books we could on penguins and I searched online for colouring pages, diagrams and pictures. I printed out all the sheets and my daughter put together a lapbook all about penguins.
I do realize that she will miss stuff along the way because I know I did when I attended a bricks and mortar school. It is just a reality I choose to accept typically most schools feel that because they teach a child everything and test them on everything, they will not miss anything. Everyone doesn’t learn every when it is taught it is just a known fact.
I am trying to foster a love for learning in my daughter that doesn’t end at the age of 18. I want her to continue to explore and expand her understanding of the world we live in.
As an unschooler I expose my child to things that she wouldn’t necessarily find on her own. I have been teaching my daughter this way since she was born and I am not about to change that. It doesn’t mean that unschooling is always perfect. Perfection is subjective and nothing ever achieves that. But thinking about unschooling does challenge us in how we do things to see things from a different perspective.