3 Steps For ANYONE to Start Unschooling (Even if You Think You Can’t)

Do you wish you could homeschool or usnchool your kids? Well, good news–you CAN!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the phrase “If I didn’t xyz, I would homeschool”.

The majority of these statements come from working or single parent families.

What if I told you that you CAN educate your child at home?

Do people picture home education as kids sitting at a desk for 7 hours and needing to parents needing to come up with a curriculum plan?

What if I told you it’s as easy as following your child’s interests, learning together, and using simple tools that create a learning environment throughout your day. That is the joy of unschooling.

Unschooling is defined as “an educational method and philosophy that advocates learner-chosen activities as a primary means for learning.

“While often considered a subset of homeschooling, unschoolers may be as philosophically separate from other homeschoolers as they are from advocates of conventional schooling,” according to Wikipedia.

I would not consider our learning environment as “radical unschooling”; I prefer to call myself an “eclectic unschooler”, because I do use monthly themes and we follow a daily rhythm and structure that is flexible to our needs.

I like to use themes each month: I structure some activities around the theme, and simply follow the state guidelines so my child is up to grade level, should he choose to go to school someday. (What can I say? The habits of a former teacher die hard!)

Our learning environment is filled with field trips, sports, time with friends, cooking together, and learning through life.

Are you interested in homeschooling, but don’t believe that you have the time or skills to teach your children? Then unschooling might be the perfect solution!

Here’s 3 Ways that unschooling makes homeschooling accessible for everyone:

First, unschooling is accessible to all families, regardless of whether the parent has teaching experience. Unschooling follows your child’s interests. You are essentially learning together and can come up with a plan that meets both of your needs.

You don’t need to be a teacher to educate your child. Children naturally learn what they are interested in learning when they are ready.

Did you ever feel like your child was at risk of not being able to walk or talk? No. You trusted that they were capable of learning whatever they were ready to learn, on their own time table.

My son taught himself how to ride a bike and swim. I merely offered access to these these experiences, modeled the skills in my own life, and scaffolded our environment to create opportunities to learn these skills.

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Second, unschooling doesn’t require expensive curriculum or private school tuition. Unschooling can be as inexpensive as you need it to be.

If it’s accessible to a self-employed single mom, then it’s accessible to most families! All unschooling requires is access to free resources, such as libraries, museums, parks, nature, etc. It can be as simple as taking a monthly trip to the library and checking out books that are in alignment with your child’s current interests.

You can strew books around the house so that they happen upon them and explore them. You can also set up activities that are based on their interests and go on field trips that explore those interests.

Finally, unschooling is still possible even if you work outside of the home as a single parent.

There are many families that work outside of the home and still find ways to successfully educate their children at home. You can trade childcare with another unschooling family, find ways to work with your child present, or have split-shift childcare with your partner or another unschooling family.

Are you curious about unschooling and interested in seeing how to structure your day to learn through life?

Here are some examples of unschooling in action:

Let’s say your child is interested in construction. Here are some ways to set up his or her learning environment:

  • Go to the library and can find books on architecture, building homes, and construction vehicles. You can set up construction books by the lego table and explore ways to build the structures in the books or whatever they have in their imagination. You can even teach literacy and math with this activity by reading a book, writing out a word wall with common construction words, and teaching addition and subtraction with your lego building.
  • Set up a sensory table with sand and construction vehicles. You can add a measuring tape and blocks to build structures. Include a clipboard where your child can record observations.
  • Introduce your child to Minecraft–yes, the video game! You can even rent a Minecraft book to help them build structures. They will be learning how to follow directions and using math and measurement skills. They will be introduced to symbols and sight words within the game. Many unschoolers learn how to read through playing video games.
  • Go on a field trip to a construction site and pack a picnic lunch. Discuss what you are seeing. If you have spending money, take a trip to somewhere like LegoLand where they can build and explore construction. Play math or reading games in the car, on the way there!
  • Bake a batch of cookies in the shape of trucks or buildings. Your child will be learning math skills, how to read/follow a recipe, and you will bond as you bake together.

So, tell me…do you think home education/unschooling is possible for your family?

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