Thoughts on unschooling


Sometimes I think that unschooling is more in the minds of the parent than it is in the minds of the kids. We are the ones that need unschooling, they just do it (unless they have been in school for a longer period of time).

How is that? Well my kids they don’t distinguish between weekdays or weekends – except that daddy doesn’t work on weekends. They don’t know the difference between holiday and “school year” – they learn what they need to learn, when they need to learn it. They play, thus they learn.

I’ve had this thing … I don’t know why, but my son needed to learn to read a 4 like I did – otherwise he wouldn’t be as intelligent as I am. Silly really – because my sisters didn’t learn to read at 4 – my eldest sister didn’t learn how to read before she was 8 or something and she is definately as intelligent as I am. Maybe not a scholar like me, but who cares – isn’t that the reason I don’t send my kids to school? Because I want them to learn other values? I mean I went to school for something like 20 years – in the end I was all I knew how to do… I was really good at it. Being in a workplace however – not so much…

So now I’ve let go of the whole “school” thing. We do projects at home, and I let the kids show the lead. And otherwise, we just lead our lives together: Go to the market, cook, clean the house (once in a while, fortunately we don’t have to do it too much because we have hired help a few times every week). We go to the beach, to the playground etc.

Then sometimes I worry – you know all the wise people say that too much computer is not good for kids – they miss out on exercise, or that they can learn nothing from TV. And I think – but my kids watch too much TV and play too many computer games – ohh O! I’m a “bad mom”.

I had that feeling yesterday, because really we had done no schooling all week – but as my son snuggled up to me while playing “DragonVale” I started thinking about what we’d done that day: We went to the optician to get his glasses repaired, we went to the market to buy kale (and strawberries) for sauerkraut, then to the playground. Afterwards we went home to cook burgers. We made homemade buns, burgers and guacamole. Even though I had planned for days to make burgers on Friday – I’d forgotten to buy ketchup and mayo, and I didn’t have any greaseproof paper to bake the buns on – but the kids didn’t care: They loved our Mexican burgers, and the buns were perfectly baked on our pizza stone. Afterwards we had a siesta and watched TV for a couple of hours, then I made sauerkraut, then we played DragonVale together the 3 of us, then had dinner and went to bed. All in all a good day of doing absolutely “nothing”. When I tucked in the kids last night Lucas said “thank you for the best day EVER!”

This morning right after breakfast Lucas got up and said “I think I need to do some schoolwork” – turned on the iPad and opened one of his school folders (which I made in a fit of wanting to control which games he played when… ) and started using “learning games”: Reading and writing games that he has not touched in months (maybe because I in that control phase of mine said that those were the only game he could play during “school hours”). On a Saturday! It’s true what they say – we are never not learning 🙂

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39 thoughts on “Thoughts on unschooling

  1. Always learning 🙂 “Best day ever” ❤
    You're right – we're learning to unschool, they're doing what's natural. We've just been removed so far from natural that it seems strange to us at first.
    What I do is look at what they do and think about what they're learning. To many, it seems that computer games are just a frivolous passtime, but the way I see it they're learning something all the time. Language, reading, working as a group on MMOs, strategy, problem solving, patience – add to the list 🙂
    I really would recommend a subscription for Life Learning Magazine – they have soo many great inspirational articles on learning how to let go 🙂 And there was this great article by Naomi Aldort on Reading: better late than early, focusing on reading when the child is ready etc.

    1. I’m always amazed by how
      Much they are actually learning from TV and computers. When we were I’m Denmark there were no TV at the summer house, so when the kids wanted a break they would watch Barbapapa I Swedish (only thing I had on my iPad). After a few days Lucas would run around speaking Swedish while playing. I’ll look into the magazine thanks! I’ve just been weary off unschooling blogs etc. because they always make every thing seem soo rosy cheeked and perfect 🙂

      1. I don’t like unschooling lists because too often they tell people there’s one right way to do it, and I resent that sooo much 🙂 Unschooling is about individuality – and this goes for everyone, parent and child 🙂 Blogs will often tend to sound as if everything is perfect, true, so you’ll have to just take what you can use and leave the rest 🙂 Magazines are a bit different for me, because there’ll be articles on different topics with ideas for you to use or discard as you please. This magazine in particular is so great because it has so much on how to listen to yourself and trust your child, and not about right and wrong 🙂

      2. LOL yes, those lists… I’ve all ready paid for my subscribtion to Life Learning 🙂 just waiting for it to arrive in my inbox. I figured if I could pay 35 DKr for a knitting magazine, I could pay what was it 24 CAD for 6 unschooling mags.

      3. Re blogs though – I really like “The Parenting Pit”m esp. since he really admits how hard it is to wrap your head around this free learning thing. Unfortunatelymthey are not full time unschoolers anymore – but they send tehir daughter to a democratic school 2-3 days a week. 3 children just turnesd out to be a little too much if they were to give their daughter all the oportunities they wanted and they ended up saying “next week” a few time too many.

      4. I think so too – but maybe there weren’t to them. Maybe they’ll go back to unschooling later, or maybe it’s a good decision for them. I won’t judge either way.

      5. Of course not, just thinking that it wouldn’t be very inspirational to me if I were having problems.

      6. That’s true 🙂 but I used to read it before they had their baby. Also it was the explicit wish of their daughter, and they respected it, finding a school that corresponded in values to their own etc. I actually think it’s a good solution to some. I Lucas comes in two-three years time and says he wants to go to school, I’ll do my best to find on that will respect him the way I do…

      7. I not sure that exists, though 🙂 But of course some places are way better than others. And everyone has to find their own way!

      8. Yes, especially young children. But when they get older, fitting in and being “normal” might be so important to them that they would suck it up…

      9. I think it can be, depending on the child. I think some kids couldn’t care less what others think, while others do, and not just because of how they were raised. I think there are other mechanisms at work also and that we as parents do not control everything.

      10. 😀 And to being reminded of the importance of teaching kids to listen to themselves and also respecting their no’s whenever possible! It’s an investment 🙂

  2. It’s certainly a partnership, but yes, the parent truly needs to completely wrap their head around what you are doing together. Unschooling is not unparenting and that’s where many people from the outside don’t get it. Great article! (am sharing among my network)

    1. Thank you! No it certainty is not unparenting – on the contrary it is parenting 24×7 🙂 Doing the ‘normal’ or expecte thing would be easier sometimes, only I know that is not good for my kids and therefore I just can’t.

      1. LOL – one of those totally blond moments 🙂 I just could not figure out where I’d heard about your blog… untill I open Life Learning Magazine and find a picture of your Milo – duhhh!

      1. I think it’s called nursing fog or something like that. Do you remember when we looked into it, determined to disperse the myth and ended up concluding that it’s real? 😀

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