Unschooling is learning during day to day life. There are no timetables, no “lessons” and children learn what they want, when they want.
I know many of you will think “that is crazy” and I guess, to someone outside an unschooling life, it must look that way but it is our life and it works!
We develop things they are intreated in. This might be big topics like space, cooking, gardening etc or it might be tiny things. For example if they are discussing wanting a new toy we may ask them “how much does it cost?” and then “how much do you have?” and then “how much more to you need?” and “how can you save that?” you get the picture. After the discussion we might find some play money and items to leave out. Or we might get out some money dice. We place items that we think will interest them around the house, this is called “strewing”.
Our children learn only what they are interested in… and I discuss this more in the post How do you know they are: at the right level/know what children their age know/have learned the curriculum?
There are people that argue that children need a trained professional to learn, while they are entitled to their opinion, I strongly disagree with them. Both of my children and many others have learned more than you can imagine without a trained tutor. Also if one of my children had trouble grasping a concept that they were interested in (including reading, writing or maths) we would find a mentor or teacher for them — I see that argument as very closed minded.
Homeschooling is not the same thing — although it is too — many people with many ideals take up homeschooling so there are many ways to homeschool. Some homeschoolers follow a strict curriculum, some are somewhere in the middle and there is also a term ‘radicle unschoolers’ who are more relaxed than unschoolers again. Having said that I am not one to segregate people because of a word! I find that, like in life, very few people or families are just one thing! In each state in Australia you can register to homeschool and one way of homeschooling is unschooling.** Note — When we talk about what we do we don’t really call ourselves unschoolers. If we do use a term for the way we learn we say ‘Life Learners’ or ‘Natural Learners’ although for this blog we are using the term Unschool for continuity as it is the most widely accepted term for the style of learning we mostly follow. ** This is a part of the “So what is homeschooling anyway” page, where you can view similar posts that also answer “So what is homeschooling anyway?”.