For us, unschooling was a natural progression from the idea of homeschooling.
Homeschooling is the easier term to talk about.
Whenever I talk about homeschooling, people are familiar with the word.
Unschooling on the other hand, sounds a little weird and contrarian.
People aren’t sure what it is, so when we first meet people, we usually use the term homeschooling and if the conversation progresses, we may have the opportunity to explain unschooling.
A seed is planted
I don’t remember what made me think of wanting to homeschool specifically.
I do remember though, being totally in love with learning about history, art, culture and food on my husband’s and my first trip overseas together in 2004.
The learning while travelling was so contextual and felt so easy and interesting as opposed to the dry lecturing I received at school. It was a revelation for me that history could be so immersive and interesting.
It was during this trip that we decided if we did have a child again, we would homeschool.
Back then, homeschooling to me meant purchasing a curriculum and teaching my child from that curriculum.
The idea of homeschooling morphs into Unschooling
As time went on though, and I read more about homeschooling, I came across the term unschooling.
No curriculum, no strict rules, following your natural path of interest – it seemed ideal.
The opposite of how I felt with some of my subjects at school.
In the years before my son was officially “school age” I really did feel that I didn’t want to be a “teacher” at home and try to replicate school learning.
Perhaps that’s what puts a lot of people off the idea of homeschooling.
Maybe they feel they have to behave like a teacher and set up a class room for their child/children.
Rather than being the teacher in the traditional sense of the word, I’m more a facilitator or guide.
I use the learning areas outlined by our education department and incredibly, without really trying, we hit on these areas in our day to day life:
- Humanities and social sciences
- The Arts
- Health and physical education
- Information and communication technology, and design and technology.
This is an ongoing journey that I’m approaching with an open mind.
At the time of writing this, my son is still in his “primary school” years.
But I’m loving being immersed in learning right alongside my son and instilling in him a lifelong love of learning.
Learning definitely isn’t confined to a school classroom – unlike what my funny little grade one nephew told me when I suggested he and my son watch a David Attenborough documentary last week.
Learning happens all day, every day and I’m definitely looking forward to all the adventures that are still to come in our unschooling journey.