Transitioning from homeschooling to unschooling can be a liberating and transformative experience for both parents and children. Here’s why.
While homeschooling provides structure and control over learning, unschooling emphasizes self-directed exploration and real-world experiences. But how exactly can you make this transition smoothly and effectively?
In this blog post, we will explore the steps and considerations involved in moving from a more traditional homeschooling approach to embracing the principles of unschooling. So, fasten your seatbelts because we are about to embark on an exciting educational journey that puts the power in your child’s hands.
Understanding the Difference Between Homeschooling and Unschooling
Unschooling vs. Homeschooling
Transitioning from homeschooling to unschooling is a journey that offers freedom and empowerment for both parents and children. Unschooling, also known as self-directed learning, allows children to take charge of their education by deciding what, when, and how they learn. It capitalizes on their curiosity and motivates them to explore the answers to their own questions. In contrast, homeschooling often replicates a traditional school environment at home.
In my own experience, I started homeschooling my children in a structured way, but when my oldest child turned seven, she resisted my planned lessons. It was during the COVID pandemic, when everything shut down, that I stopped homeschooling and simply focused on surviving day by day. Surprisingly, my children continued to learn and explore independently, even without my guidance. They created toys and games from recycled materials, observed nature during walks, and never stopped learning. This unexpected turn of events led us to transition from homeschooling to unschooling.
Preparing Yourself and Your Child for the Transition
If you’re interested in transitioning to unschooling, there are a few steps you can take to prepare yourself and your child.
Research and Gather Resources on Unschooling
First, research and gather resources on unschooling and embrace the philosophy behind it. There are many amazing books and podcasts available that can inspire and encourage you on this journey.
My Favorites are:
- Unschooling To University from Judy Arnall
- Unschooling – Exploring Learning Beyond the Classroom from Gina Riley
- Honey! I’m Homeschooling the Kids podcast from Robyn Roberson
Discuss and Involve Your Child in the Decision-making Process
Next, involve your child in the decision-making process. Let them know that you will no longer be preparing lessons for them and that they will have the freedom to decide what they want to learn. This autonomy often excites children and motivates them to take charge of their own education. Remember, there is no one right way to unschool; it is about following your child’s passions and allowing them to lead the way.
Creating a Flexible and Child-led Curriculum
Creating a flexible and child-led curriculum is another important aspect of unschooling. While there is no set curriculum to follow, having a routine as a family can provide structure. For example, our daily routine includes family scripture and prayer, chores, breakfast, exploring time, quiet time, outside activities, and family reading time.
Finding Community and Support
Finding a supportive community is essential during this transition. Seek out like-minded families and join homeschooling or unschooling co-ops. If you can’t find one in your area, consider creating your own. Having a community of supportive individuals can provide encouragement and resources for your unschooling journey.
Celebrating the Freedom and Joy of Unschooling
Finally, celebrate the freedom and joy of unschooling. Set goals with your child and reflect on their progress every few months or once a year. My daughter, who has never attended formal English classes, is currently writing a fantasy book. My son, who spends his days playing independently, has taught himself math skills without any formal instruction. These accomplishments showcase the self-motivation and purpose that unschooling can foster.
Unschooling for the Win
In conclusion, unschooling is a rapidly growing trend in education, producing children who love learning and have a sense of self-motivation. As a parent, it is a blessing to have the opportunity to support our children’s unschooling journey, providing them with the space and time they need to figure things out on their own. While we may always be there to support and guide them, it is important to remember not to interfere with their self-directed learning.