Unschooling: Planning the Year
Child-led Projects / Homeschooling / Unschooling

Unschooling: Planning the Year

Unschooling: Planning the Year

I love the beginning of a fresh new year! So much potential! We have so many plans and ideas and things we want to do. But how does an unschooler plan the year you ask? Don’t you follow the children’s interests? How can you plan that? Personally I like making plans myself (if you follow me on instagram you might know I have a little someone that takes after me), and I used to try and plan our days and what we might learn at the start of each year. Even at the beginning of last year I had a loose sort of a plan. I think it made me feel like I was DOing something. Even if my plans never lasted that long because real life took over, and my child’s natural interests were way more interesting. Deschooling is an ongoing process and I’m still learning.

Unschooling: Planning the Year

This year our ‘planning’ was completely child focused and it was much more meaningful. We talked about the beginning of a new year, what we’d done last year, our own plans as a family (holidays, etc), and then I asked them if they had any plans of their own. They talked about places they wanted to go and things they’d like to learn this year and it was so delightful to witness their plans. I asked them if they’d like to draw/write what they’d told me so we could remember and they did. They worked on these over a few days, adding new things as they thought of them…

Unschooling: Planning the Year

Miss (almost) 5’s plans for the year included:

  • Visiting ‘Wet’n’Wild Water Park
  • Learning how to whistle
  • Doing a hand stand
  • Doing a cartwheel
  • Learning to play the guitar
  • Learning some magic tricks
  • Continuing ballet lessons
  • Tap dancing
  • More sewing
Unschooling: Planning the Year
Writing ‘hand stand’.
Unschooling: Planning the Year
Whistling, tap dancing, and cartwheels.
Unschooling: Planning the Year
Learning the guitar.

Interestingly, during the process of this she went from drawing people with legs coming out of their heads and a single line for hair, to drawing bodies and including much more detail! I was wondering when she would do this as her older sister drew in lots of detail from very early on, but she hasn’t been incredibly interested in drawing many things until recently. All of a sudden she’s drawing dinosaurs, animals, houses, trees, and more. On one hand look how adorable these drawings are, I love the music notes! On the other hand, stop growing up so quick, those little heads on legs were adorable too!

Unschooling: Planning the Year

Miss (almost) 7’s plans for the year are:

  • Doing a hand stand
  • Learning to do the splits
  • Learning how to do a cartwheel
  • Continuing ballet
  • Being a zookeeper for a day again
  • Learning about zoo animals
  • Learning to play the recorder
  • Learning more about fairies
  • Finishing everything for the play she has been writing and performing it with her friends
  • Making her own app
Unschooling: Planning the Year
Hand stands, splits, and cartwheels.
Unschooling: Planning the Year
Playing the recorder. Love the puffed out cheeks!

To me, these are the most perfect plans! Things that are truly important to them. Things that are meaningful to them. The things of childhood! I smiled to myself as I watched and listened and noticed that no one mentioned anything traditionally academic. I have no doubt that they will do those things but they will continue to occur naturally as they use these skills every day. I wonder what effect it would have on them to have their ‘childish’ desires pushed aside and replaced with adult expectations and demands. I’m glad we won’t be finding out. 2016 sounds like it’s going to be a blast!


January 29, 2016 at 6:34 pm

I LOVE that her tap dancer has music coming from the feet!!
Have you seen/heard Vent du Nord? Canadian band (I hesitate to say “folk band”, but lots of traditional songs and instruments)… The head guy plays violin(?) and sings and drums with his feet. All at the same time. But the drumming with his feet… He sits through the performances and keeps really complex rhythm with his feet! It is so so cool. There’s YouTube videos of them in concert. No idea of it would be of interest to your girl, but I thought of it when I saw the feet music notes.

January 29, 2016 at 8:39 pm

Totally love this post

We have made a list of places we want to visit this year x

January 29, 2016 at 9:47 pm

Perfect! I am going to ask my nearly 5 year old & my 6 year old boys the same questions tomorrow! Oh how i love watching their childhood! Thanks again x

Phyllis at All Things Beautiful
January 30, 2016 at 12:00 am

I love the unschooling plans. You are an inspiration!

January 30, 2016 at 9:27 am

Hi Sara,

We do unschool planning in a similar way. Asking what projects, activities, groups and interests they want to follow and participate in. I also think about various things for the family to do together throughout the year, such as camping trips, plays, concerts etc. Structure with flexibility works well here.

Jasmine I will look up that band. My kids love Celtic Thunder atm and my house is full of beautiful Irish music. I love it.

I’m with you Sara and love the NY for all the inspiration and new plans it brings.

January 30, 2016 at 11:24 pm

I love your plans. What an inspiration. Thanks for sharing!

Lauren Dillard
February 4, 2016 at 7:19 am

Really enjoy this! My oldest is 4, I love seeing how much they have in common with their writing and drawing. 🙂

We’re unschooling as well, we should do some kind of plan. I know I will feel better if we do!

February 8, 2016 at 7:03 pm

Needed to hear this today. I’m planning on home schooling my kids (almost 4 and 1 presently) and I’m struggling at the moment. Feelings of inadequacy, feeling like I’m not providing enough stimulation or learning opportunities etc. Also, if I were to try and have a conversation like this with my eldest son, he’d just say ‘I don’t know’ so I’m struggling to communicate with him. He’d rather sit on a tablet all day and it makes me so sad that I can’t seem to engage him in anything. I’d welcome any suggestions if you have any because at the moment I’m feeling like school would be a more enriching environment for him ?

    February 11, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    Remember you don’t have to replicate school! That’s the beauty of it. Instead of concentrating on providing opportunities, I would focus on enjoying every day together. What do you want to do? Get outside, visit some interesting places, create some art! 🙂

March 24, 2020 at 3:10 am

Hello! Thank you for this post. My little Mr is 5 and my lil Miss is 3 months. I always knew I wanted to homeschool him, and now that there are two of them I have no desire to change course. As we entered kindergarden this year I began the year with a reading curriculum and a set of well defined daily lessons and plans. As we grew closer to her due date and explored learning at home together more I realized unschooling was a better fit for my super smart, super active lil guy. Now I am struggling with our daily routine. I want to give him time and space to explore, but I also don’t want to let him rule the roost. He wants to play video games constantly. What should I do? I saw you mentioned ” Deschooling is an ongoing process and I’m still learning.” Did you mean that YOU are deschooling yourself? I feel like I have a lot to UNlearn. It’s a struggle! Any tips you can offer about planning a daily routine and unschooling my adult brain would be much appreciated! I love your blog! great work!

Leave a Reply