What is Unschooling?
Unschooling is a method of learning that is not set in stone. In fact, it tends to mean different things to different people. It is the increasingly popular method of a great many homeschooling families.
Unschooling is natural learning (also referred to as "child-led learning", "discovery learning", or "child-directed learning"), which is based for the most part on day-to-day life experiences. It is not based on the traditional curriculum choices and teaching methods utilized by the public school system. Little emphasis is placed on things such as textbooks, quizzes, and scheduled subjects or class times.
When you think back to your school days, what do you remember? Were you stimulated by what you were learning? Were you bored with what was being taught? Was learning fun?
It stands to reason that most children (and adults, for that matter) learn at a faster pace and retain more information, when subjects are presented in an enjoyable manner. Simply stated, learning should be fun!
Unschooling is not an exact science, which makes it very appealing to many parents who decide to teach their children at home. Parents and children live and learn together, pursuing questions and interests as they arise and using conventional schooling methods on an "on demand" basis, if at all. It is appealing to children who are given the opportunity to learn about things that aren’t offered in the local classroom.
Suppose you have an eight year old who has expressed an interest in learning Japanese or astronomy or genealogy. Chances are slim that these interests would be addressed in a conventional school setting. But in an unschooling environment it would be easy to spend a few days or weeks learning some Japanese, visiting science museums, making 3-D models of the solar system, or putting together a family tree.
Even though unschooling has few rules and many definitions, there have been several wonderful books written on this method of home teaching. If you are new to the concept of unschooling, take the time to do some reading. You’ll no doubt be surprised at the wealth of information that is available.
Join a local homeschool group and online discussion forums. You will come in contact with many homeschooling families who successfully utilize unschooling methods. These folks will answer your questions and steer you in the right direction, if you are just starting out. They can recommend things like books, online resources and teaching materials.
Remember, unschooling is the natural way to teach your children. Make learning fun. You’ll be amazed at the way they progress and how much your children will learn!
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