I remember the days when mamas would ask me about homeschooling and make that infamous statement: “Girl, I could never homeschool my kids.”
Then 2020 happened.
Now, the question is less about if you should or shouldn’t homeschool and more about how to homeschool.
I don’t claim to have all of the answers, but I do know the way we look at school is evolving. Parents are feeling empowered now more than ever to educate their children through unconventional methods. One method that I’ve found highly effective is unschooling.
What Is Unschooling?
First, let me begin by sharing what “unschooling” is not. It’s not neglecting to teach or educate your children.
Unschooling is a form of homeschooling that allows the interests and goals of your children to drive their learning. A simple example of this is your child learning how to walk, feed themselves, speak words and form sentences, or even pick up their toys — we’re still working on the last one in my house.
How Does Unschooling Work?
In a traditional learning environment, children are taught the basics starting in pre-K, and then build on those foundations throughout their grade-school career. Let’s use an engine for illustration purposes.
In a traditional method of learning, a course outline would look like this:
1. Understand the History of Engines
2. Discuss Types of Engines
3. Discuss Engine Tools
4. Study Types of Companies and Cars that Use Those Engines
5. Take a Test
6. Take a Field Trip to See an Engine
7. Complete an Engine Presentation or Project
In the unschooling method of learning, the course outline might look like this:
1. Analyze a Real Engine
2. Deconstruct the Engine
3. Select the Tools You Need to Remove Certain Parts
4. Label or Learn the Parts and Tools as You Deconstruct the Engine
5. Reconstruct the Engine
So you may be asking, how on earth do you teach math, science, history, and other subjects in the unschooling format? I’m glad you asked. Taking the above example:
Math: Volume and Dimensions of the Engine and Different Parts
Science: Combustion and Proper Size of the Path of the Liquids
Language Arts: Writing and Reading the Different Parts
Why Unschooling May Work For Some Kids
If we’re being honest, many of us are very good at following instructions, regurgitating information, then taking a test. This is the main reason why we get into our mid-20s and early-30s not knowing our purpose and have a tough time finding meaningful work or projects that fulfill us. A traditional way of learning often stifles creativity and proactivity that is necessary to fail fast and learn fast — an attribute held by entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 leaders, and Elon Musk.
If you’re the type of parent who likes structure and schedules, this may not be a good method for you. But if you’re more creative and are content with spontaneity and building something from scratch, you may want to give this a try.
What thoughts do you have on unschooling?