Learning without limits

Learning without limits | Happiness is here

I know I have talked before about the freedom of our life without school. Mainly the freedom we feel not being restricted by school schedules, terms, when to take holidays, or having to be up at a certain time. Lately I’ve been watching my children though, and really appreciating the freedom that they can have in their learning. Every day I have new things that I’m thankful for and I’m more and more glad we made this decision. Homeschooling is such a freeing choice and you can make your life exactly as you want it. My children are learning without limits, and I love it…

Life is not divided into subjects

We all know this, yet that is how our education was delivered to us. In our life, things couldn’t be more different. Very rarely are the children working on only one ‘subject’. Instead, they follow where their curiosity takes them and along the way many things from many different areas are learnt. For example, they might find an interesting bug outside and want to find out what it is. Say they look it up in their book, using the contents, finding the page number, reading words. They learn all about the bug and then decide to draw a picture of it and write down what they know. Something so simple and they’re practicing maths, reading, writing, science, and art.

Learning without limits | Happiness is here

To us this seems much more natural, and they are always so engaged, because it is led by them. They are learning all they need to, but in a way that is true to life and relevant to them.

No time restrictions

In an unschooling home, learning can happen whenever inspiration strikes. There is no ‘school time’. Instead of having set times when learning takes place, we learn when we’re in the mood. Really, being made to learn something when you’re not feeling it is so uninspiring. And conversely, when you’re in the middle of something, feeling engaged and alive with learning, it’s really disappointing to be told you have to stop and move on to something else. So, there are no time restrictions here. You may learn when you feel like learning, for as long as you like.

Learning without limits | Happiness is here

Often the girls most feel like learning at non-traditional times. They may be already up before us and doing some writing at 6am, or they may want to stay up late because they are busy ‘doing sums’. They may suddenly develop an interest, and we can pack up and go out to explore it for the day at a moment’s notice. I’m so glad I can help keep this love of learning alive by allowing them the freedom to pursue things in their own time.

Learning can happen anywhere

The world is our classroom! Just as we don’t need a set time for learning to happen, we don’t need a specific place either. In our home you might find learning happening anywhere. Interestingly, the trampoline is a favourite place to write. A lot of learning also happens when we’re out and about during the week too. They’re always discovering interesting things outside and often pack a backpack for themselves with their journals and drawing materials before we head out. On the weekends and holidays we’re learning too! You might have seen our recent holiday to Fraser Island. Learning here is not confined to a table and chair most of the time, but wherever you’re most comfortable.

Learning without limits | Happiness is here

Their curriculum is dictated by their interests

I can’t imagine growing up not having to learn things you weren’t interested in. But that’s what is happening for my children and I am so happy for them. Their ‘curriculum’ is entirely dictated by them. Not only that but they have the freedom to learn about things that they find important, whatever they are. Something that they may not have gotten at school if their interests were outside the curriculum. Things like maths, reading, writing, science, and art are easily woven into learning about any topic, which also shows them how these skills are relevant in everyday life.

By showing them that their interests are valued and important we also give them confidence in themselves, and a sense of ownership over their education. The freedom to decide for yourself what is meaningful, important, and interesting to you is wonderful.

They set the pace

My children also have the freedom to learn at their own pace. Whether that means they are way ahead of their age level, or taking their time. They are able to wait until they are ready to learn something, there is never a push for early academics which is becoming so commonplace. They can also go as far in depth with something as they like, they are not restricted by grade levels. In fact, they don’t even know what grades are or if they are ahead or behind. They don’t need to compare to anyone else. Which brings me to my next point…

Success is measured by them

The measure of success here, is how they feel about their work. Success does not mean outperforming peers. There is no need for testing, because they are not one of many students in a class. I already know where they are at, I don’t need to test them to find out. Instead, they continue learning about a topic until they are satisfied. Just as you or I would. People may think that this means that children would choose not to do much at all, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, when allowed to learn in this way, their dedication, enthusiasm, and motivation is amazing. For example, my 5 year old has been learning about bees for coming up to 4 months now. That’s some focus for a 5 year old!

Learning without limits | Happiness is here

Ample time for play and other things

One of the best things about this life is that they have endless time to play. They wouldn’t even be able to distinguish for you between their ‘play time’ and ‘learning time’. Learning is just part of life and happens so naturally that it never feels like ‘work’. Without a schedule to stick to, and the freedom to choose what they want to do at any given time, there is always time for play. And that’s what childhood should really be about, in my opinion. There is also lots of time for being outside, time for being with friends, and time for visiting family.

Learning without limits | Happiness is here

All in all, this life is fabulous. Along with the freedom I feel, my kids also have a massive amount of freedom in their education. This has been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made for our family.

25 thoughts on “Learning without limits

  1. What state are you in? Seems western australia is stricter with their homeschooling/natural learning regulations….I would love to have a lofestyle like this, but from reading the education dept websites olit seems impossible?

  2. I can’t agree more!! My daughter Lizzy has a rare, incurable, and Progressive heart and lung disease. When she got diagnosed at 11 all fell apart for her schooling. They were not equipped to care or help a physically disabled child. Now I home school her and she is “Learning Without Limits”! http://www.phinvisibledisease.org/

  3. I am so thankful for the collection of blogs I found (you, Memoirs of a Childhood, An Everday Story, etc!!). Within the USA, it can be difficult to have this “unschooling” approach. I was homeschooled growing up so I’m pretty familiar with the different types of schooling that can occur within the home. My daughter is only 4 and in my state I don’t have to do any reporting until she is 7. I find it so rewarding to have such a close connection with what she is learning and seeing how it fits in our every day life.

  4. Hi! I don’t have children myself (yet), but I love learning about homeschooling and unschooling, and I particularly enjoy reading your blog :).
    The way your children are learning sounds wonderful to me, and I agree that that’s what learning should be like. I’ve been wondering though, how do you envision continuing this kind of learning when they get older? For example, right now, it seems relatively “easy” to learn maths through daily routines. But how would that work once they reach middle- or high school age, and they have already mastered basic maths concepts and are ready for something a little more challenging? This doesn’t just go for maths, by the way, I just used that subject as an example. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, as it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while now :).

    • Thanks for the question Bee! I see us continuing much the same way. Led by their interests. As their ideas and questions get more complex they will need to learn more to be able to answer them. Whether that means they take courses or study books or continue to learn just from life. Whatever works for them! There is always the question of what they NEED to know. The school curriculum taught me a lot of things that I never used again. If the direction they want to go in their career means they need to learn advanced maths then I know we will be able to do that. But if they want to be an artist and maths really is of little importance to them then I don’t see a huge deal with that either. Basically I plan on trusting them and following their lead. Just like I do with myself. I learn what I need to know in my life.
      That was a ramble and I hope it made sense! πŸ™‚

      • Yes, that makes perfect sense! I think trusting your children really is the most important thing here – something I was forgetting for a moment ;). It’s funny how stuck I am in the “school-curriculum” mindset that suggests everyone should learn everything, when in reality, it makes more sense to pursue your interests and learn that way. Your kids seem so excited about learning – I think that’s wonderful. Anyway, thanks for the reply, and all the best to you!

    • I have a 9th grader. Its not all that different to home school high school. I have gotten more creative with the lessons. It’s not so hands on. There is a lot of essays. A lot of her work is studying this year. She is ahead though. In 9th she has Chemistry and Greek Mythology. It gives me more time to put her lessons together. I definitely feel smarter some days and not so much on other days. I go by her interests. She is so much smarter than I was at that age. She loves it and wouldn’t have it any other way.

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  7. I love the term ‘Unschooling’! I can’t wait until we finally feel the peace that you are implying with that word!
    Both my son and I have have literally been through 10 years of complete hell, due to the education system! Simply put, they have a desire student type, in mind. He is not it and no abuse will ever turn him into the person they want!
    I have only just started to home school my son this past September. However, Unschooling has a different meaning for me at this point. I have realized in the past two months, I have to reverse the years of damage the school system has caused him?! My eyes were not exactly closed all these years. The constant calls over ridiculous things, the negative notes and every meeting was always negative…But it was all presented as constructive!? I would send him off daily, while I go on to work. I would try to push their agenda, but he just had zero respect for them and they did it to themselves, so I couldn’t fix that? One can’t possibly think people will respect you when you tell them they have to because they have a university degree and you don’t?! I was told, just this year, by the principal, that she knows more about kids than I do, because she has 20 years working experience with kids. Yet, when it comes down to knowing what is in 1 kids best interest, they seem to miss the mark? Not once has a teacher or anyone related to a school, has ever uttered the words ‘In the best interest for your child’? They wanted homework, and apply pressure on me to get it done. It’s what responsible parents do…Right? Or at least, that’s what they imply! So, I tried to enforce it, until I realized…We spend hours away, come home, fight all night, then bed? Just to get up and do it all over again? I simply pushed back. I am very serious about education! But, fighting all night, enforcing groundings etc…Was designed to make our home life miserable!
    The school system has subjected my son to testing, detentions, threats and medication. They have done nothing but tear him to shreds, while using guilt on me, to help them enforce their agenda at home goals to turn him into another person that just does not fit his personality at all! They have demeaned and ridiculed to get what they wanted! When I picked up my son from the ?police station?…Of all places and the very last place that I should be collecting him during school hours!? I finally had enough and told them it was not in his best interest to remain at this school and he would not be returning I requested that he was able to clean out his locker! She asked my son to wait outside. I did not even expect what was coming next! I was told that if I did not return my son to school when I was told, they would be calling CAS on me! Up until that point, I only just started my research on homeschooling. So, I was not in a position to argue. But luckily, it was the end of the year, I dodged them for a few weeks, sold my house and left the region and spent the summer researching! I had my paperwork filled out in time for this year πŸ™‚ The principal was not impressed at all that I finally won πŸ™‚ and called me at least 30 times in a span of 2 months and they knew in advance that we were moving! The school board has been great! I have it in writing that my son was released from school and the school has no legal right to call me! I have to give my son credit! The boy fought them every single step of they way! It just took me some time to catch up πŸ™‚ So, Unschooling, for us, for now, is to get back the kind, trusting, loving, intelligent, caring, curious, talkative boy I trusted them with before they started tearing him down to turn them into some robot he is not!! :'(

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