There are so many questions that people ask me, both homeschooling families and not, about unschooling homeschooling.
Unschooling can be misunderstood and can actually be defined differently among families; but I think it does have a common denominator and that is that it gives children the freedom to learn and draw from their interests. Everyone has the innate desire to learn and children are no different if given the opportunity. Learning can become a chore and mundane when forced and dictated and then eventually the fire and love for learning that these little ones are born with, are in danger of being squelched.
Not all families can homeschool their children, let alone unschool, and they are the most wonderful, loving, inspiring parents to their children. I don’t ever want anyone to think that it’s unschooling homeschooling or nothing…for us, and our family, this works and we love it and for those who are on the fence on unschooling their children, I hope I can inspire you to give your children more wiggle room and time to explore their world and learn more by their interests.
It’s very rewarding for all involved…
I love unschooling homeschooling and have always lived and learned this way with my children. My oldest daughter, now nineteen, actually taught me how to teach her and I’ve never looked back. She has not only thrived along with her siblings with an unschooling environment, but flourished! I love how she took her love for horses and with the freedoms of learning from her heart and desires, and taught herself and learned everything she needed about horses, through books, lessons, community college, experience, and everything else that surrounds her love for horses. She now owns two horses, has her own horse lesson/training business and when she doesn’t know something, seeks out the knowledge needed to succeed.
Ultimately that is what we want for our children; to never, never, stop learning. More than anything, this will keep them being their personal best.
My other children down the line follow suit, just in different ways according to their own individual interests. I know I’m not alone when I say that being a Mother, though the toughest job in the world, is the most rewarding.
So what are my top ten questions that people ask me about unschooling homeschooling and what are my answers?
Our Bella at one of our favorite hot spots: Barnes and Noble bookstores
#1 How will your children ever be able to learn math unless you make them?
Good question. But like everything in life, math is integrated in everyday life. You cannot escape math if you tried. We take every opportunity to teach them math in everyday situations and when life presents it to us. It falls in our laps constantly and is our job is to enjoy the problem solving math presents. Some of my children like the help and to learn along side me, and I have some children who prefer to learn without me and all on their own.
#2 What if they don’t want to learn at all?
Life is a journey. Living and learning with my children is no different. There have been days where some of my kids appear to be “learning” nothing from a schooled view and then there have been days where schooled kids would freak out because they won’t stop or put their books or projects down to come outside and hang out. On my journey of unschooling, I have had my fears along the way, it’s natural in being a parent whether you homeschool or not. I have learned to trust them more, to give them the freedom to just be, in what might look like idle time, to figure out what they want to do next. Kids want to learn…and it’s amazing to watch and be a part of.
#3 What if they want to go to school?
I get asked this quite a bit from others, and while my husband and I have never had children ask us to go to school until they hit high school, I have had to learn to let my children go.
Seems silly to even write this down now, but looking back, when my oldest was in high school, those were hard words to hear when she asks me if she could give high school a try. I guess, because I just loved having her around.
She ended up going to a community college at age 16, and never did go to a public school, but my now, teenage son, takes morning classes at a public school. He loves the flexibility of being able to pick out classes that he loves and has interest in and has the afternoon to pursue his other interests. It has been a wonderful addition to his life and works for him. We are open to what interests our children have and what avenue is best to pursue their interests and dreams.
So in short. If any of our children wanted to give high school a go…then we want to give them the freedom to make that choice.
#4 Do you own any curriculum?
Yes! We have, what seems like, and endless supply or learning resources in our home. Books line up our book shelves from just years of learning at home and we love to go book stores, library and of course, we have our computers. We do have bits and pieces of curriculum because I do have some children who love to use it! It’s so fun to see how some of my kids love to be more carefree and learn more by not using curriculum and some who absolutely love it.
#5 How will they ever learn all subjects?
That is what I love about unschooling homeschooling and the freedom it brings. Why learn everything that the schools introduce at given times? The freedom to learn different subjects in this world can be learned throughout our lives and particularly when it is most useful. Instead of learning subjects that aren’t pertaining to them at a certain given moment, why not learn it when it does? It is fully retained and not forgotten when learned with this method. Most subjects are learned because life and interest will present it.
#6 Do your kids like homeschooling?
Yes! Very much and they are always telling me how much they love not having to get up early and leave us all day and enjoy all the fun days learning together at home. Their love for learning has opened up my eyes to a whole new world on how children learn. It’s been a blessing for all involved. I’ve never had a child regret being homeschooled.
#7 How could you possibly teach all your children? You have so many?
This one is a huge one. The misconception is that I am a Super Woman/ Mom. On the contrary. I’m just a Mom who wants to do this, so that makes the job that much easier, and we just live and learn together and enjoy each other’s company. (Well, most of the time.) I do love to plan our year with them. We dream and plan out individual learning goals, and we dream up learning fun we can do together. Having a lot of children just gives us more hands, more brain power and more fun! Any one can do anything if the desire is there! And that is how unschooling homeschooling is for me. I’d have it no other way…
#8 Do you get your kids involved in activities?
This one is a hot topic for me, because, it seems that society loves to submerge children in a plethora of activities as though it somehow seals the deal on a successful future.
I just don’t believe that.
Activities and all the extras are well thought out, planned and discussed. When my children are elementary up through middle school, having one, maybe two things to be plugged into that they enjoy is great, but no more than that. And I certainly don’t make it mandatory. I have some kids who don’t like extra activities and some who love them. And the one thing I don’t like is chaos and being in my car all day, not to mention it doesn’t do anyone any good. I love learning at our leisure and being plugged into a couple things. I want our lives to be unhurried; to be enjoying each other, to learn, do be as little stressed as possible. There is enough stress in the world without adding to it.
High school age kids are a different ball game. They love and seem to thrive on busy. They also have the added benefit of driving so all more the power to them. Teens are focused, more driven to do what they need to do to get them where they need to be and I give them that freedom to plug in and do what it takes to get where they need to be.
#9 Don’t you get sick of being with your kids all day? I could never handle it.
Some women have asked me this believe it or not. But I don’t judge them for it. Really, if you think about it, it is a lot of stimuli! But, for me, I love it. I enjoy the good, the bad, and the ugly on my parenting, homeschooling journey and it is not for everyone. I absolutely love it! And I do make sure that I get out once and awhile and plan for it before it’s too late and the stimuli makes me chuck a chair through the wall. I am human and need some girlie time away with girlfriends or have lunch with my husband. This gets me refueled to give my best me to my kiddos.
#10 My final question that people ask is: Why did you choose to homeschool your kids?
I accidentally began my homeschooling journey and unschooling fell in my lap because my oldest detested formal learning. My oldest actually went to school for 6 months, because I didn’t even know that homeschooling existed. Once I learned that I could actually be with my kids at home and learn, I freaked out with excitement! I wanted to know where to sign-up!!
It’s been an amazing journey ever since.
Thank you John Holt, for teaching me how to live and learn with my children with freedom, and to my children for teaching me how to best teach them.
Abby… nineteen years old. Loves horses, trains horses and children to ride, owns three horses of her own and own her own horse riding business.
Taylor…our son, sixteen and just got his drivers license. Takes a couple classes at a public school, loves martial arts, hunting, camping, fishing, and volunteering at our church.
Maddy…fourteen and loves children and design. Loves to help me with the younger kids at home, cooking, photography, and sewing. Hates math.
Gabe…twelve and the comedian of the family. Never a dull moment when Gabe is around! He loves fishing, camping, hunting and being outdoors.
Bella…nine and is very vocal. She loves to work out of workbooks, has a schedule, has the Planner Perfect for Girls, and is quite the planner. Loves her friends, glitter, and clothes. A girl after my own heart!
John…seven, sensitive and enjoys being home learning and exploring. His favorite is fishing and playing Legos.
Brock…four and if I didn’t know any better, uses his “baby” status to get whatever he wants. His siblings adore him and his three older brothers tackle him, play with him, and show him the ropes on what it means to be a boy. Frogs, dirt, wrestling, wardrobe lessons and the like. It’s going to be fun watching how this turns out!
There you have it, friends! My Top Ten questions people ask me about unschooling homeschooling and a little look into what my children are up to.
Jenny is a homeschooling mama of seven, blogger, speaker, and the creator of the Planner Perfect planners and Method. Her passion is to inspire women to live with purpose and intent; switching focus from task slave to goal aficionado. Her blog, eBook, Planner Perfect planners, and its Method will transform your life by teaching you how to better manage your home, get organized for good, set personal goals, and follow your dreams. Planner Perfect is for women in all seasons of life, and hope to inspire you to be all God created you to be and find joy in everyday life. Jenny also has a tasty food blog, full of meals made from scratch, kid friendly, and fabulous meal tips to keep you organized in your kitchen. Jenny’s blogs are full of homeschooling and organizing tips, kid-friendly meals, how to set goals, resources for moms, and chalked full of inspiration to live with intent. You can find Jenny at plannerperfect.com and plannerperfectmeals.com