Unschooling and schooling all at once?

Never heard of that before, have you? No, me neither. But that might be the only chance we have to unschool our kids in this country. Unfortunately we have Compulsory School Attendance over here, so unschooling and any other form of Home Education is considered illegal.

I already told you a little about that.

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So what are our options? I mean realistically? Do I want to go to jail for not being willing to public school my kids? Do I want to be financially ruined? Do I want to lose custody? No, I don’t. Do I want to fight the system? Yes, I do. Am I willing to do harm to my children because I want to fight the system? No, I most definitely am not.

So here we go. There is no real solution to this, is there?

Well, maybe there is. Maybe there is something we can do without being prosecuted by the state. Maybe we just have to be really REALLY creative. Let’s see. How about looking for a school that works with an alternative curriculum? Without giving grades? Without forcing students to repeat a year if they didn’t satisfy all expectations?

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The good thing is: There are schools like this. They are still schools, so they are not what I’m dreaming of. BUT my kids could just learn as freely as possible – in this country. They don’t feel like doing their homework but do something more interesting instead? Great – since there are no grades there are no bad consequences to this and I could let them do as they like without doing harm to them. They can take almost full responsibility for their educational choices that way.

And they can learn as free as possible.

OK, I’m not going to sugar-coat this: I hate that idea. I want to unschool my kids. I want them to learn at home, in the garden, at the beach, in a local library – where ever they want. Whatever they want. When ever they want. How they want.

But that is just not going to happen…

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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?