Curriculum Part 6: Unschooling/Relaxed Homeschooling

Today we conclude our series on curriculum and philosophies of education! So far we have had an overview of the basics and researching curriculum, plus a more in-depth look at the Traditional, Classical, Charlotte Mason/Ruth Beechick aka Living Books, and Unit Study methods of education.

You have learned that there are five main types of education philosophy and corresponding curricula: Traditional, Classical Education, Charlotte Mason/Ruth Beechick, Unit Studies, and Unschooling/Relaxed Homeschooling.

Unschooling is the most unstructured, child-led form of education. There is usually no set curriculum or schedule. The philosophy rests on the ideal that children learn best through their own desire, curiosity, and exploring their interests in their own timing.

Unschooling refers to families that let their children learn with no definite curriculum or specific goals – other than to learn. They presume that the kids are learning something every day no matter what they are doing.

Other families who have some specific goals, such as their kids will learn about particular subjects at one time or another, prefer to be known as Relaxed Homeschoolers.

With both Unschooling and Relaxed Homeschooling, children are encouraged to learn through pursuing their own interests. Parents provide them with a rich learning environment including plenty of books, available activities, and resources for natural learning. Kids are guided as applicable to find answers to their questions. Adult availability and interaction to assist and supply the kids what they need on their education journey is standard. Children can also learn from other adults who have first-hand knowledge and experience of a focused topic that child is interested in.

Formal academics are utilized as needed, if at all. Some unschool/relaxed homeschoolers supplement with a structured form of math, and sometimes grammar. Other families consider that a child learns math through life events such as wanting to count their allowance, cooking from recipes, and helping build a doghouse. Reading and writing are accomplished when a child wants to read a book, understand written instructions to a game, or write a letter or email to someone.

Living books and unit studies can be easily utilized in this type of education. For example if a child wants to learn about a bird in their yard they may use a nature study notebook to begin sketching and writing about what they are observing. Then read picture books and living books that have that kind of bird in it. They may watch a movie or documentary about it. They could also decide to mark on the calendar the seasons they see the bird and when they do not.

By the way “deschooling” refers to the transition time period when a child has been a student in a formal structured school and is now being unschooled/relaxed homeschooled.

With unschooling/relaxed homeschooling there are typically no learning assessments given. So no quizzes or tests, worksheets, or reports graded. It is assumed that whatever a person needs to learn as they mature throughout their lifetime, they will then learn what they do not already know.

Unschooling/Relaxed Homeschooling is a very eclectic, unstructured, and child-led style of education. It ranges from free-spirited – let the kids learn what they want, when they want, and how they want. To guiding them to learn about specific topics over time. Or using a curriculum for only certain subjects such as math or grammar.

Overall this style of education should provide a positive stress-free learning environment. It satisfies the child’s natural inquisitiveness and ability to learn. Develops a love for learning and skills needed to learn. And there is little to no planning involved on the parents’ part.

You can learn more about Relaxed Homeschooling by reading Teaching from Rest.

*Surprise bonus education method: Eclectic! An eclectic homeschool is one that the parents have decided to pick and choose certain aspects from a couple or all of the different education methods. So an eclectic homeschool might use traditional textbooks for math, a classical curriculum for history, and unschool/relaxed homeschooling with living books for everything else. In this way the family forms their own unique method of education.

I hope this series overviewing each of the main styles of education methods and curriculum types helps you in your homeschool journey with your family!

Remember, there is no perfect curriculum, education philosophy, or homeschool family. Only what fits and works best for your unique family. Enjoy the process of establishing your homeschool and educating your kids at home!



Paula Smith

I love God, family, friends, and encouraging people. I enjoy helping others in the education world from my experience in my job and from when I homeschooled my kids. As a wife, Mom, soon to be Grandma, and the Education and Homeschool Web Merchandiser, I hope my blog articles are helpful to you as we live life together.

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