We ended up Unschooling by accident (you may have read a little about it here when I discussed curriculum) — we knew that we did not like the school system (for our children) although we didn’t know what other options we had. We had tired to find alternative schools, Steiner, Montessori and Brisbane Independent School were all options but none were near by — we ended up homeschooling as a last resort (although knowing what we now know it would be our first choice). As far as Unschooling we had no idea what Unschooling was.
We had met with a few other homeschoolers who told us that kids need to “deschool”, which means give them time to adapt by taking it easy (a lot of people recommend about 1 month per year the child was at school). It is a lot like Unschooling for a few months so that your child starts to see that learning is not going to be forced. Another homeschooler had given me some books about getting started with homeschool and from that we noticed it seemed really important to set learning goals with the kids. So we set out with a few ideas although still mostly blind!
The first thing we did was our goals and ask about interests. We found that Sage wanted to do horse-riding and that William waned to learn about space… um now what…
We decided that William would do a simple project about the Solar System and Sage could learn about how to care for horses watching you tube etc until we figured out where to do lessons. Off we went…
Fate stepped in for Sage and another homeshcool friend planned horse-riding lessons for little kids. Both Will and Sage were lucky enough to be able to attend weekly lessons.
Well William’s simple project grew and grew and grew! It became a family obsession, all of us wanted to learn more and more about the solar system. We were only meant to be making a little book. The book was really simple and could have been done in a short time although we just kept reading, discussing and watching all we could about the solar system. It was WONDERFUL.
Then we thought we had better “get into it” and started to plan lessons with outcomes in mind… For some reason we reverted back to “school at home”. We hated it. I was becoming stressed and the kids were finding the lessons boring! We could not think what was wrong — it had all been going so well! They had learned so much when we didn’t “force” it so why aren’t they learning more now that we have all this planning!?!?
Eventually we realised that learning from a place of interest was what made all the difference! The reason we were learning at home was not so they could do school, school was what we were avoiding! We wanted learning. Our own programming had been so strong that we had not realised learning and school are not mutually exclusive. We wanted children that loved learning, loved exploring and questioned! We realised that exploring their own interests had taught them so much more than simple facts — it had shown them that you can always learn and it can be amazing!
We become what is known as Unschoolers and we have not looked back
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?”.