Using Unschooling in Our Homeschooling
Posted by Jenn
I am very much intrigued by unschooling. I think the unschooling home education method is truly amazing! I really admire parents who unschool. I don’t know how they do it (because I am so adamant about structure), but I think unschooling families are just so amazing!
My husband and I really wanted to unschool our children, and I was ready to give it a go, but…I am very OCD about scheduling and structure. I have tried to unschool, but I will be honest, I am having a hard time letting go of the traditional methods of education that I am used to because public school education is all I’ve ever known. I am working on my OCD and traditional ways, but it is just going to take time.
Through my research of unschooling, I have gained great insight into this radical home education method. And when I say radical, I mean it in a very positive way!
Some of the insights we have actually applied to our style of homeschooling. I would like to think that my family has created our own version of unschooling, as we do not “school” in the traditional way.
What’s that quote by Ben Franklin about getting up early? Yeah, that’s not us! My children and I do not get up early in the morning. Our mornings begin between 10 and 11 a.m. We like to stay up late at night. Sometimes really late. We like to watch movies, play video games, write, talk. Anything! For example, sometimes Elijah and Mj play video games together, or together we watch one of our favorite shows on Netflix
We begin our school day after 11:30 a.m. Basically, we have school in the afternoon, ending our day between 4 and 5. Usually after 5 p.m., my kids have an extracurricular activity, such as cheerleading or soccer.
Although my children have a daily agenda of their activities/studies, we do not follow the agenda exactly. I allow my children to pick what activity or subject they would like to work on first or choose what order they want to work on their subjects. I don’t say, for instance, “Okay, at 1:30 we’re going to do reading, and then at 2:30 it’s time for science.” We are very flexible.
Studying Six Subjects a Day?
We do not focus on 5-6 subjects in one day, as most traditional public schools do. I tried to fit in 5-6 subjects in one day; this lasted for about a week. I just couldn’t do it because it was very overwhelming to me. Even though I used to teach in the public education field, I found it really challenging to focus on so many subjects with two students on two different levels…and a baby to care for, and a house to run!
Instead, we focus on one subject a day with small activities in between. For example, let’s say it’s Tuesday. On Tuesday, we may focus on Reading for two and a half hours and then after reading focus on one or two short activities. These short activities may or may not be related to the subject of the day.
We do not follow a traditional education plan. I created my children’s curriculum based off of their learning styles, learning interests, previous education level, and particular concepts (subjects) they will benefit from learning.
I will say this, I do use the Common Core Standards (CCS) as my guide. I know there has been much debate on CCS, but I like to use it as my point of reference to aid me in designing my children’s curriculum and to guide their academic progress.
With that being said, we do not believe in standardized testing. So I am assuming our belief goes against CSS. I’m not 100% sure. To ensure we adhere to our state’s education guidelines and laws and to protect our homeschooling rights, we purposely selected an umbrella school that gives the parents the option to have their student(s) tested (of course standardized testing also depends on your state’s education laws and requirements).
We rely heavily on the public library for our resources/reading material. I did purchase workbooks for my children, such as math workbooks, reading workbooks (for comprehension skills and practice), and cursive writing workbooks. I also found some education materials at Goodwill and thrift stores, for example, we found a math textbook for Mj to use.
We also rely on the internet for many educational resources, such as documentaries, YouTube educational videos, and online math games.
Got Any Homework?
We don’t have any homework. Ever. Well, so far. And I really hope it stays that way, too! After dealing with so much homework from our public school experience, I think it’s fair to say my whole family is sick of homework! It really interfered with our time together as a family and my kids’ extracurricular activities.
With my husband being active duty Army, his work hours are often times very long. Sometimes he is away for training or a specific duty. So our family time is very precious to us. We strongly feel family time and pursuing one’s hobbies is an important part of life.
Speaking of homework, we complete our activities and lessons during our school time, and what we don’t finish, we save for the next day (adjusting our schedules accordingly if this happens).
I am not sure if we will ever reach a point where we will unschool full-time. I think it will all depend on what’s going on in our lives at the time and how the children are progressing. Since Elijah and Mj spent 7 to 8 years in public school already, I think it’s good for them to still have structure with flexibility and openness. Right now, it’s kind of hard to just go “cold turkey” on not having any structure. I think when Zhen, our youngest daughter (age 10 months), begins school we will more than likely unschool her. For now, our goal is to simply take it one day, one week, one month, one year at a time.
- Deschooling: Transitioning is More Challenging Than I Thought (mashedpotatoesblog.com)
About JennI traded in my heels and skirts for yoga pants and Nike's!
Posted on September 24, 2013, in Army Life, Children, Education, Family, Homeschool, Parenting, Relationships, Schoolage Kids, Unschooling and tagged army life, babies, children, Common Core Standards, Curriculum, Education, extracurricular activities, family, Goodwill, home education, homeschool, Homework, Math, Obsessive–compulsive disorder, OCD, parenting, postaday, postaweek, private school, reading, relationships, schedules, science, social studies, subjects, textbooks, thrift store, umbrella school, unschool, YouTube. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.