There are many reasons why we chose to home educate our family, but the way in which we will teach them has changed and evolved as we have learnt more about home education and how we operate as a family.
Within home education there are several main types of schooling. The more traditional home schooling approach which tends to follow a set curriculum and involves lessons often within a classroom involving textbooks; or the unschooling approach which is flexible to the child’s interests and focusses on learning as they go. Obviously, home education as a whole is extremely varied and every family will work in a different way, so these descriptions are very general and only intended to give an idea of the different styles. You can read a more in depth comparison here.
Once we had chosen to home educate our family, shortly after Aria was born, we originally chose to home-school them. However, the more I read, interacted with other families and discovered our style of parenting, I realised that traditional home-schooling wasn’t for us. Instead, I discovered unschooling, I saw how families with similar lives to us gave their children freedom to explore their interests and didn’t have an allocated classroom. Quickly I fell in love with unschooling and so did my family!
Lack Of Structure
I’ll admit, at first the idea of no structure terrified me. As an academic I have been conditioned to expect rigid structure when it comes to education, slowly learning set material and then passing an exam in order to progress onto the next level. So, as you can imagine, the idea of throwing structure to the wind and learning as we went was somewhat of a daunting thought.
However, now I have experienced it for myself with our two growing girls, I love it. I love not sitting down and learning a set task. We follow our hearts when it comes to learning. Studies have shown that children learn a lot better when they are following their interests and we have certainly been proof of that. Whilst our girls are very young, Aria is just 2 and Ryver only 1 year old, we are only at the very start of our home education journey, but already we have seen amazing benefits of unschooling.
Aria suddenly became very interested in animals, so we embraced it, spent lots of time at the zoo and watched lots of animal documentaries. Through play and self-directed learning she can now name most common animals and even knows how to spot the difference between a cheetah and a leopard…
The same can be said for her numbers, colours and language skills. Through spurts of interest she has learnt so much! Ryver too is following in her footsteps and thriving through the lack of structure when it comes to learning. I am truly looking forward to learning even more as they grow, watching their individual passions develop and thrive.
The World Is Our Classroom
It is well known in our community that we are a huge advocate for taking the classroom out of 4 walls. The world is our classroom and we learn wherever we are. This is one of the main aspects that made me fall in love with unschooling. Our Instagram community is full of families all over the world learning and exploring, sharing their adventures and inspiring others.
Whilst most home-schooling curriculums focus on learning in a classroom, the freedom of unschooling means that you can learn wherever you want to, there are no rules! Learning about the woods? Why not learn in the woods! Want to know more about space? Head to the local space centre or museum… We learn on the go and we love it!
Some amazing families even take this a step further and learn whilst travelling. They give up the anchor of a permanent home, and instead go mobile, travelling the world and giving their children a whole host of wonderful cultural experiences. Due to our love of homesteading, we prefer a more rooted life, but noting is better than making the forest your classroom and learning outside of 4 walls!
Learn At Your Own Pace
Not only is unschooling fully flexible in terms of content, but it also allows children to learn at their own pace. Whether they are fast learners, like Aria, who seem to absorb information at the speed of light, or whether they prefer to take their time when learning new skills, unschooling doesn’t discriminate.
The beauty of this is that unlike in schools where kids are forced to keep up or learn at a pace unnatural to them, often leading to increased pressure and misunderstanding. In contrast, unschooled children can afford to take their own time and ensure they truly understand a subject before moving on. Less pressure and a more relaxed approach was definitely a positive in our minds!
Lastly, but by no means least, unschooling allows our children to learn a whole host of alternative skills that they may not have learnt in a more conventional education.
Rather than following a set curriculum, we are free to follow their interests and integrate less traditional lessons, such as growing their own food. This was a massive draw for us. Having felt myself, that the standard curriculum left a lot to be desired, I revelled in creating a much better education for my own family.
We always planned on raising our family in nature and unschooling let us take this a step further. Instead of attending a regular preschool, our girls help us care for the allotment, learn how to grow their own food and spend hours in forests and local fields. They chase their passions and learn at an alarmingly fast rate!
Our children are learning skills that will help them live and thrive as they grow, all whilst having a lot of fun! You can’t ask for better than that!
All of the above reasons formed the foundation in our choice to unschool. Of course every family is unique, and home education is so varied that no two families school exactly the same way. Our way may sound far fetched to some, the same way we would struggle to keep our wild ones indoors behind a desk. What is important is that you choose what is right for your family and make an informed decision on how you picture your future.
We are so excited to be at the start of our unschooling adventure and can’t wait to see what the future holds!
How do you school your family?