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What is Unschooling?

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I was first told about unschooling from a girlfriend of mine. It was after I started panicking and worrying to her about making sure I wasn’t an epic failure as a homeschooling mom.

To put it simply, Unschooling is the idea that children learn best by allowing them to find there own interests. There are no set curriculums or subjects. You allow them to go about their days and find what interests them. Most if not all their learning is done through this method.

Basically, you make it look as little like learning in a school setting as possible.

Studies have show this to be an effective teaching method. Children will learn naturally through their environment. They will use their natural curiosity to gather information and learn. In a lot of ways I think this method is wonderful. I use it on a smaller scale to encourage natural creativity and growth.

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Why I don’t Use it As My Only Curriculum

However, I personally do not use this as my sole teaching method for several reasons. The first is that when it is used alone it increases your chance for educational learning gaps. If this isn’t a concern for you, great. But there are certain things I want to make sure get taught. I don’t want to have to spend time later fixing big learning gaps that could easily be corrected in a small lesson now.

Another issue I see is that when you only allow studies that are fun or interesting, it makes teaching those things that are less fun, but necessary, more difficult. Children tend to not want to do them. Really, who can blame them for it.  It’s kind of like allowing your kids to choose candy and cookies for dinner everyday and then trying to make them eat their vegetables.  I’d much rather eat cupcakes than brussels sprouts all day long.  So would they.  

Also, I don’t have a problem with school feeling like school. I liked school as a child. I was blessed with many great educators. I feel like a beautifully designed classroom brings joy to learning.  It also separates learning time from playtime.

Homeschool in the woods world history


What I Do Use it For

But to be clear, I do use parts of this method. If we get obsessed with an animal, a science subject, or anything else. We stop and focus on it. We definitely turn it into a unit study. I have been known to stop learning in the middle of a hail storm to pick up ice crystals. We grabbed a microscope and started science class right then and there.

I have allowed hours of watching the Amoeba Sisters on YouTube. That show is way smarter than I am.  I particularly like to use this for Creativity Days.  If you have never hear of them, you can read about Creativity Days in my post HERE.

So once again, no method is right or wrong. This is how I do it. You do you. If you think this might be an option for you, give it a try. Just make learning an adventure no matter the method that you choose to use.  If you have an amazing way to unschool share it in the comments below.


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