Wednesday, April 15, 2009


We've given some thought to how we'd like our children to learn. Knowing that we'll probably end up in California and after what I've heard of the California school system, I'm not that impressed. Of course, schools are different in different areas and maybe our local school district will be a great match for our kids, but I thought I might as well prepare for homeschooling.

Last week at the library I checked out a book on different homeschooling methods. I read about classical, unit study, Charlotte Mason, Montessori, Thomas Jefferson, Waldorf, eclectic, and a few others. I think each method has a worthy treasure or two, however, as I read one thought kept coming in my head, "This is way too structured."

I think I'm going to unschool. I checked out The Unschooling Handbook and while it's odd to think that unschooling needs a handbook, it's a great introduction to unschooling.

It's easy to see how young children are excited to learn- and then somewhere near the end of elementary school, they lose that excitement- and I think it's because the schools squelch that excitement and it disappears. The key to unschooling is trusting that your children will want to learn. I think we get it in our brains that kids won't learn unless we shove it down their throats. I feel that, as children of God, the desire to learn is something that's innate within us. If as parents, we demonstrate that we love learning and don't squelch that desire in our children, then they will want to learn and become lifelong learners.

And I figure unschooling is going so well already. In recent months, Margaret's learned to walk, sign "potty," to communicate more effectively with pointing, to get off the couch safely, the words "ohhh" and "hi," which books are her favorites, and more. Unschooling is going great- why change?


  1. When I was in HS I researched a place called Sudbury in Mass where they have an unschooling "school"; basically a VERY unstructured homeschool co-op. It sounded so idyllic, and yet, I did well at "regular" school, and my kid so far is doing great there too.

    I think the most important thing about school -- however you do it -- is having a parent whose number one priority is advocating for the child. My mom went to bat for me when I was a kid, and I do the same for mine. This doesn't actually mean being part of the PTA, but being engaged w/ your kid and making sure what's going on is working for them, not being afraid or intimidated to demand changes if it's not, etc.

    I am horrified when I hear stories of parents unhappy with their kids' school/teacher/books. Bec. if I(or my kid) were unhappy, I'd fix it. Period.

  2. I have also researched homeschooling a lot and have always reached the decision through prayer, that it is not right for us, but I definitely think its a good idea to study all the options early. I have several friends who homeschool and it works out great for most of them. I know that several of them started out unschooling and it worked out well for the first 2 years or so but then found that they needed a little bit more structures as their kids got older, but never adopted one specific program. Anyway, I still consider it from time to time but like you said, it depends on your school options available to you as well and we've been pretty lucky with our options so far.

  3. I was thinking about unschooling a while ago and casually brought it up with my husband. I thought he would be totally against the idea of our kids not going to school, and learning outside of regular structures. I was SHOCKED when he said he thought it was a GREAT idea! I'm pretty excited about it, but nervous at the same time! I will have to get that book for some good ideas!

  4. For a long time I thought I would just make public school work for my kids, a lot of Jane's approach. But then my 4 year old got upset and refuses to go back to preschool because his teacher wouldn't let him use all the colors on a coloring project when they were learning about red. He got very hurt and very upset.

    If something as small as that can make him hate school, what am I to do when the currucilum gets tougher? For now I am approaching unschooling tentatively. I am not a friven woman and I worry that I wouldn't be good for my kids in a homeschool setting.

    I planned on a charter school for a long time, and I hope to be able to utilize some great ones in our area. But, ultimately, the decision will be up to my child, and my job will be to have the suitable substitute waiting in the wings if they need it.

  5. I just saw you on the "Freebirthing" documentary on Discovery Health! :) It was a fascinating show, and neat to realize I knew someone, albeit virtually, on the show.

  6. We are new to the homeschool community...the whole thing ended up sortof getting thrust on us...but so far we're enjoying the ride :0)

  7. I mostly unschool my nearly seven year old and he's ahead of where he would be in school. I get work books that are appropriate to the grade he would be in at school and I use those as a guide for myself to know what kind of things he would be expected to know. He does worksheets sometimes and does lots of reading on his own. I helped him some with learning to read but I can't really say I taught him, it just clicked one day. I have also taught him basic math skills and I show him how to do different problems. I never force anything on him, though, we go at his pace and I stop if he's not interested. Like you said, they learn to walk, talk, sit, stand etc without schedules and rules and standardized tests, they can learn everything else they need to know the same way.

  8. It looks like you have really been finding some interesting things to read lately. I'd like to take a peak at this one, too.

    My older boys do need curriculums now, but we unschooled through 5th grade. The older one is ready to take more advanced topics and my middle one is dyslexic and needs a very explicit reading program.

    However, we can still do these curiculums and other topics at our own pace and time!

  9. If you end up in California, make sure to check out the two groups HSC and CHN. They are both inclusive and have lots and lots of info, as well as two conferences. If you are Christian, there is also CHEA, which also has a conference.

    We also have study-at-home charters here, if neither full homeschooling or full all-day schooling works for you.

    Whatever you choose, it'll work. You can tell by how carefully you're thinking about this now.

  10. A family in our ward homeschools, and they only have the kids in "school" 2 hours a day. The rest of the day they are taking field trips to the canyon, playing and building, acting, singing, doing activities. I totally agree with you on this one!

  11. Unschooling is awesome. Hope y'all love it too!


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