A typical unschooling day in our home

I know that many of you wonder why I even describe our lifestyle as unschooling – since our kids are still very young and there really is no schooling whatsoever until now. Well, you sure got a point, but you know what? There is really no start to unschooling. You can start to public school or to homeschool your child, but unschooling is natural learning that just happens “by the way”.

Unschooling is self-determined and self-regulated – and since natural learning starts with birth (maybe even before) and young children usually still have the chance to self-determine and to self-regulate their learning. And I consider that unschooling.

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So I think we’re already unschooling. But let’s what we do all day!

In the morning the kids and I usually get up about the time when my husband leaves home. We’ll have a morning prayer together and breakfast afterwards. The toddler loves butter her bread all by herself – which maybe is her first learning experience every day. She will also tell me what we wants for breakfast apart from bread. The baby loves to taste all kinds of things. She grabs basically everything that is around her and she loves to drink water from a glass.

Doing housework together offers us plenty of learning experiences

After breakfast we’ll just do some housework. The toddler loves to participate, the baby loves to watch. But sometimes even the baby wants to be part of our daily work and e.g. grabs pieces of laundry or tries to throw something into the dishwater while I’m doing dishes.

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Usually we’ll sing during the housework part of the day. You can call that music teaching if you want – I’ll go with fun and enjoying life.

Having finished the main part of my daily housework routine we’ll have our family devotions. We’ll pray together the Angelus prayer and the Lord’s prayer and we’ll read in our children’s bible. After that I’ll read in my bible and the kids will either play or “read” their bible.

Nap time…

The toddler recently stopped to take siestas, but the baby will be very tired by now. So the three of us will lay down until the baby sleeps. When the baby is sleeping I’m going to blog, write my book, or do whatever work needs to be done. Or I’m going to just read for a while. The toddler will play for herself during that time – that’s our arrangement and most of the time it actually works pretty well.

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After nap time we’ll prepare lunch together and eat and do some more housework. The toddler loves to hang out the laundry, to dry dishes and to clean with cleaning rags. The baby loves to practice all her new skill like standing, sitting and crawling in her play pen.

Ready for lots of new fun learning experiences we’ll go out to the playground

When we’re done with our daily work we’ll go out to the park or to the playground. Have you ever noticed just how much children learn while they are outside playing and interacting with other children? To me that is my favorite part of the day. I love to spend time just watching the toddler climb, seesaw, slide, play with sand, talk to other children, share and cooperate with them and have loads of fun. The baby will participate as much as possible.

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We all love playground time!

Our evenings are pretty quiet. We’ll just have dinner together, take a bath, pray and read a story from the bible. And then the kids will go to bed.

To me it’s amazing how much my kids can learn naturally. They learn by watching, by doing, by exploring and experimenting. And they learn by participating. And yes, I do think this is already unschooling.

What do you think?

What is Unschooling after all?

I think most of us have heard about unschooling. In case you haven’t: Unschooling is a certain concept of homeschooling that focuses on natural or life learning. Unschooled children are allowed to learn self-determined and self-regulated. That sounds interesting, right?

But what does that mean in practice?

And more importantly for a family with very young children: When and how does unschooling start?

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Unschooling starts when your child is born, maybe even before he is born. Natural learning just happens because your child is eager to learn. Children are never not learning. And they do learn a lot, don’t they?

In his first years a child learns to sit, to walk, to speak and to do so many other things – without really being taught. You don’t teach your child how to walk, learning to walk is a natural learning process. Unschoolers think that basically everything you learn can be learned in such a natural learning process. Children have their own learning goals – and they pursue them. If we let them.

Children are intrinsically motivated to explore the world and to learn so many things – basically everything they really need to. We as parents, however, have to learn to trust them in what they are doing. That’s what unschooling is all about.

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You don’t really start unschooling. Unschooling is a process that comes naturally as soon as your child is born – maybe even before birth. The question is if you stop that natural learning process one day to school your child – or not.

There are different unschooling approaches. Some parents do use classical learning materials in a sort of “prepared environment”. That means they hardly regulate their children’s learning processes, but they do offer learning materials and a prepared learning environment in order to take stock of their children’s state of knowledge. And sometimes they even seek to inspire their children to deal with domains they don’t love too much.

Radical unschooling, however, doesn’t instruct or regulate at all. There is no prepared environment or school materials unless the children utterly demand them.

How do you feel about unschooling?