You really want to know don’t you? If you’re new to home education you just really want someone to tell you how to do it. What does it look like? How do you know what they need to learn? How do you know you’re doing enough? How do you plan your days? What if they don’t want to learn anything?
And I remember the answer was always ‘it’s different for everyone’ and ‘you have to find your own way’. And how frustrating that was! Ok, I know it’s different for everyone but won’t someone please just give me an example, a plan, some direction!
No, they won’t. That’s not unschooling is it?
Unschooling is about letting go and trusting and following the child’s lead. And most of the time it’s a mindset that doesn’t really happen overnight. It’s a gradual letting go of what you’ve been taught about learning and children and education, and an increasing trust in the process of natural learning.
So you don’t need to have all the answers now. You don’t need to know how to do anything except live your life as you have been already.
We’ve believed for so long that formal education starts at around five years of age. That when our children turn five we suddenly need to do something, when all the years before that we watched them learn and grow with relatively little direction from adults. Suddenly, when they turn five, things are different. There’s a list of things they need to know and if we don’t get it into their heads now they will fall ‘behind’. Panic!
Consequently, people sometimes feel that when their child hits school age they need to ‘start unschooling’. Really, you’ve been unschooling since birth. Letting your child learn at their own pace, whatever they were interested in. There is no need to change that now. The only plan you need is life.
Unschooling is living as if school does not exist. So forget ‘school-age’. Forget the schedules and the curriculum, and just keep doing what you are doing. Playing, exploring, growing and learning together. And the further along you get, the more you are able to see how natural learning really does just happen through life. Children gravitate to what interests them and what they need to know for this stage of their life. They are so capable of taking the lead in their education and the more you see it the more you begin to let go of old fears and beliefs and just trust.
It’s a magical thing to witness.