Unschooling: What Do The Children Think?
I love hearing my children’s thoughts on unschooling and how they learn, and I’ve wanted to do a little interview with them for a while now. It’s so interesting to hear what learning means to them as kids who have never been to school. I was so happy that they talked so much about play and how important it is. Kid’s know what they need! And so, shared with their permission, a little interview with my almost 7 and 5 year olds…
How do you like to spend your day?
Miss 7: Playing in the back yard and figuring out things to do and figuring out little new games.
Miss 5: I like to go to the park.
Do you know what unschooling is?
Miss 5: Yes, it’s homeschooling.
Miss 7: We just go to this group (co-op) and we play for a bit and we don’t have to do the lesson if we don’t want to.
Miss 5: Because we like playing and learning by ourselves.
Can you tell me about how you learn without school?
Miss 5: We learn with practice. We try and we try and we try again.
Miss 7: I think we learn how to do things on our own by looking at stuff and trying our hardest. If we practice and practice and work hard on it every day we’ll finally figure out the answer. We just ask other people if they have any ideas, or we look at our toys and we want to know how they’re made, or we think of what we’re most interested in and think of more questions about it.
What do you like about unschooling?
Miss 7: Unschooling is fun because you don’t have to go to school and no one has to tell you what to do. You can still play schools, but it’s more fun if you don’t go to school.
Miss 5: I like homeschooling because it’s easy and your Mum can come with you. You can play, and play whenever you want not just at play time.
Miss 7: We love to play with our friends and play new games together.
Is there anything you don’t like about unschooling?
Miss 7: No.
Miss 5: No.
Some people think that kids have to go to school to learn otherwise they won’t learn everything they need to know. What do you think?
Miss 7: No.
Miss 5: No.
Miss 7: You can learn from just playing.
Miss 5: Playing on new things!
Miss 7: You can just learn from figuring out things your own way.
How do you know what you need to learn?
Miss 7: We just know from playing.
Miss 5: And we just get ideas from playing.
Miss 7: It’s just important to know everything that you know, and everything that you can know.
Miss 5: It’s not important to know everything. Well it’s not important to know…
Miss 7: Stuff about fly’s legs HAHAHA
Miss 5: Or fairy floss! HAHA
*lots of giggles*
Should all kids learn the same things?
Miss 7: No. Everyone should learn different things, and they can teach the other people to know as well. Like in ballet I was paired up with Claire and I taught her how to go ‘up, down, flex, and point’. And I think it’s fun to get surprised and know different stuff.
How can you tell when you’ve learnt enough about something?
Miss 7: I can tell because I’ve got all of it written down and when I look at other stuff about it I don’t see anything that I’ve missed.
Miss 5: When I’ve learnt all of it and I just know so it’s time to get on learning to the next thing.
Miss 7: I can even recount [what I’ve done] in my head and I’ll see I haven’t missed anything.
What would you like people to know about unschooling or how kids learn?
Miss 7: I’d like everyone to know that it’s fun and it’s easy to do.
Miss 5: I want everyone to know that it’s better than school because the teacher doesn’t have to tell you when you’re finished or not and that you can learn without the teacher even telling you what you have to learn. Kids can play with unschooling and unschooling makes everyone happy, and you don’t have to go to classroom every day.
I hope you enjoyed their lovely little insights. My favourite things to hear were that learning was so connected with play, that their success was measured by themselves, that they thought everyone should learn what interested them and not the same things, and that they were confident in their ability to learn anything that they needed to know.
Thank you 🙂
I loved reading your children’s’ responses here. I was inspired to interview my own boys. It was lots of fun. I wanted to write up a blog post for my own blog but wanted to check with you first because I used many of your same questions.
Of course, I’d love to read it!
I find it interesting that your children go to ballet class to get instructed how to do ballet, but not to school to learn to read, write, maths, science, etc etc.
And? They are free to do any class they like.
Dear Teacher, with your examples (read, write, maths, science), it is easy to learn these ‘subjects’ organically on your own or in a group. There is not one way to do those things. and there are many resources available to aid understanding. Also, all these ‘subjects’ can be learned during the process of play. The children would not learn them as ‘subjects’ because that is an artificial construct in order to fit in with the traditional school model.
Of course, we can dance in or own way, however, if someone wants to learn a specific skill that needs instruction, like ballet or yoga, it’s easier to have someone instruct us.
My children go to school. Your approach is very interesting to me. How do they learn to read with unschooling?
A common question! I once thought reading HAD to be taught. Turns out it actually doesn’t and unschooled kids teach themselves to read easily 🙂 This explains it well: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201002/children-teach-themselves-read
I don’t know where you live, but in New York, children are required to take standardized test each spring starting in 3rd grade (and big pushes are being made toward requiring Common Core tests). How does this factor into your approach? Maybe it doesn’t as each state is different, but again, in New York, if your children don’t do “well enough” you have to revamp your approach and address the “weakness” and if you don’t legal issues ensue.
Hi, this was wonderful to read, can you please tell me more about the group (Co op) set up for unschooling?