Have you heard about the method of homeschooling referred to as Unschooling? It encompasses a range of teaching styles under the titles of Relaxed Learning, Organic, Real-life, Natural, Self-directed, and Child-led approaches. It means not educating in a traditional school setting.
For easier reading, I’ll refer to the range as Unschooling/Relaxed.
Unschooling/Relaxed homeschooling is about:
Setting up a lifestyle of learning! It is about respecting your kids as individual people and allowing them the freedom to learn at their own pace, following their current interests, and learning style. And guiding them in their pursuit of knowledge.
It is about not having a time limit for them to learn about any particular subject. It’s about not forcing their education. It is not about chasing grades.
And it is about nurturing relationships within your family as you are involved in each of their independent and group education.
Students learn through:
- Reading living books
- Exploring details in nature
- Observing role models and mentors
- Curiosity and seeking to answer their questions
- Participating in team sports, music, and art lessons
- Watching how-to videos and documentary movies
- Hands-on activities and experiments
- Reading manuals
- Kits and sometimes school books
- Formal curriculum textbooks and/or media for certain subjects, for example, history.
- Lots of good, classic literature and books, so there is a high library use or build your own through purchases!
- Career exploration and internships when they are older
Unschooling/Relaxed home education is a subject and life-centered learning, allowing your children to go deep into topics and themes that are interesting to them. So they are focused, eager, and love to learn. And they can even become experts in some areas.
On one end of the spectrum, Unschooling can be raw and organic, letting them learn as they wish through nature, wonder, play, curiosity, and stories. Then there are variations leading to the other end of the spectrum referred to sometimes as “delight-directed” where there is about a 50/50 split of teaching academics from curricula and allowing kids freedom to learn certain subjects on their own and away from textbooks.
Either way, the home educator assumes a responsible role.
- Parents model by example as they pursue life-long learning interests of their own.
- Teach responsibility, respect, good manners, and positive character traits.
- You guide and lead, researching materials and opportunities, and providing supplies as needed versus book teaching and following grade-level schedules.
So your students learn as they are ready in a self-paced education that requires you as the “teacher” to think outside of the traditional school box.
How do you assess their education?
- Observation = Are your kids using the knowledge and skills they’ve learned? Are they telling others about what they are learning?
- Narration = Oral and/or Written Presentations to you, family, and friends
- Teaching others = Can they share what they’ve learned by teaching siblings and friends?
Things to do:
1 -Research your state’s education regulations.
- Do they require state reporting? What format do you need to follow?
- You may need to keep detailed records of each child’s learning and/or homeschool portfolio with samples of their work.
- Are you required to include certain traditional subjects?
4- Define your approach. This style of homeschool is very customizable!
5- Have a family meeting.
- Discuss your goals. Answer questions.
- Map out a daily schedule for time for independent learning, house chores, formal lessons, field trips, meals, and running errands. So everyone knows what is expected and what a typical day will look like.
The methodology you teach your kids with will determine your homeschool atmosphere, schedule, and your children’s overall education.
No matter how you teach your kids, if they are learning, you are succeeding!
Unschooling/Relaxed is just one of several home education methods. Do your research. Talk with others. Ask questions. And give it a try if you think if fits you and your family the best!
So what are your thoughts on the Unschooling/Relaxed education styles?
Enjoy your #HomeschoolLife!