Why I Love Unschooling

Welcome to the November Carnival of Natural Parenting: What is natural parenting?

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our Carnival coincides with the launch of Natural Parents Network, a community of parents and parents-to-be who practice or are interested in attachment parenting and natural family living. Join us at Natural Parents Network to be informed, empowered, and inspired!

Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

***

In our family learning happens all the time.
Unschooling was the next natural step from Attachment Parenting.
The two flow so well together.

Learning is not restricted to several hours a day Monday through Friday.
The children are free to live and learn 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. They learn when it’s raining, the sun is shining, when we are at the grocery store, or the museum.

Learning takes place playing at the park, or at home playing a video game.
Running errands with the kids can be fun and exciting!

When we’re out and about we may talk about the sky, or how the sun is hiding behind the clouds on a cloudy day.
We may talk about the construction workers we pass on the side of the road, or the color of the cars.
Why the leaves are changing color and it’s cooler outside now.

I answer all of their questions until they are satisfied. We can talk about anything.

At home I play video games and watch tv with them.
How else will I learn and understand what they find so fascinating about their favorites games or shows?
How wonderful is it that they want to share those things with me!

They invite me to paint and do puzzles with them. But I don’t always wait for an invite from them. I ask to join them. Most of the time the answer is yes. They are so excited that mom wants to play with them. Other times the answer has been no….then I find something else to do.

Some people also call unschooling child-led learning. They take it to mean you wait for your child to take the lead in their learning.
I was guilty of that when we first started unschooling. I thought I would ask Kiah what she wanted to do that day.
Someone suggested to me that I make life sparkly for my kids and find one cool thing to do everyday with them.

A sparkly and rich environment will look different in every home.
I’m working on being more sparkly and providing a richer environment for them.
For us some of it is hanging out with our friends, cooking, painting, talking about the things I did when I was a little girl.

I make it a point to do my best every day to make life as fun, interesting and exciting as possible.

With unschooling you really start to see the world through your child’s eyes.
You stop taking the simple things in life for granted.

I trusted that Kiah and Ava would learn to roll over, crawl, walk and talk on their own when they were ready. I trust that Samuel will do the same.
Why stop trusting in them when they reach the age of three?
Suddenly we need to teach them how to do everything. I don’t understand that.

I’ve heard that unschoolers are lazy. That is so funny to me!
I’m not throwing something at them and hoping it sticks.
I am really being with my children. It’s magical.

Deb Lewis wrote this on the Always Learning Yahoo Group.

“If you had some expectation of what motherhood would be that is not matching your reality you should get rid of your wrong expectation. 
Your daughter has no responsibility to be the daughter you imagined.
You have a responsibility to be the mother your real daughter needs.”

Unschooling requires being able to accept your child for who she is right where she is.
I love being with my children for who they are right now. Not who I think they may or may not be 10 years from now.

I’m not sure who wrote this. It is also from the Always Learning Group.  I’ll add their name when I find it.

“The fact that you are your child’s everything can be magical, moving, and the most important thing in your life! How amazing…how lovely…how breathtaking that the life you created adores you so much (really, she does..even when fussing, crying, etc..she does).

Remember, every second of her life is a gift and stress should not over shadow the beauty of raising a child. 🙂 My son is 10 years old and I am still his “special mommy”. Stop for a sec…when your child is gazing up into your eyes, showing you unconditional love…even if she’s asking for something or what not, and just stop…gaze back into your child’s eyes and realize…the most integral part of being a mom is that bond…you are her everything and that is a great, great thing!”

Indeed. This is why I love unschooling.
It has caused a radical change in my life. Unschooling goes far beyond academics….it’s a way of living  life. I’m much better for it.

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaStop by Natural Parents Network today to see excerpts from everyone’s posts, and please visit a few to read more! Visit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants. Three of the participants below will instead be featured on Natural Parents Network throughout the month, so check back at NPN!

This list will be updated by afternoon November 9 with all the carnival links. We’ve arranged it this month according to the categories of our NPN resource pages on “What Is Natural Parenting?”

Attachment/Responsive Parenting

Attachment/responsive parenting is generally considered to include the following (descriptions/lists are not exhaustive; please follow each link to learn more):

  1. PREPARE FOR PREGNANCY, BIRTH, AND PARENTING:
  2. FEED WITH LOVE AND RESPECT:
  3. RESPOND WITH SENSITIVITY:
    • Attachment Parenting Chose Us” — For a child who is born “sensitive,” attachment parenting is more a way of life than a parenting “choice.” Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares her experiences. (@CodeNameMama)
    • Parenting in the Present” — Acacia at Be Present Mama parents naturally by being fully present.
    • Parenting With Heart” — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment parents naturally because healthy attachments early in life help our little ones grow into healthy, functioning adults.
  4. USE NURTURING TOUCH:
  5. ENSURE SAFE SLEEP:
    • Sometimes I Wish We Coslept” — Sheila at A Gift Universe has started to add cosleeping into her sleep routines and has found frequently unspoken benefits. Watch for her post, which will be featured on Natural Parents Network on Tuesday, November 30. (@agiftuniverse)
  6. PROVIDE CONSISTENT AND LOVING CARE:
  7. PRACTICE GENTLE/POSITIVE DISCIPLINE:
    • Unconditional Parenting” — The philosophy of Alfie Kohn resonates with Erin at Multiple Musings, who does not want to parent (or teach) using rewards and punishment. (@ErinLittle)
  8. STRIVE FOR BALANCE IN PERSONAL AND FAMILY LIFE:

Ecological Responsibility and Love of Nature

Holistic Health Practices

  • Supporting Natural Immunity” — If you have decided against the traditional vaccination schedule, Starr at Earth Mama has some helpful tips for strengthening your children’s immune systems naturally.

Natural Learning

  • Acceptance as a Key to Natural Parenting” — Because Mrs. Green at Little Green Blog values accepting and responding to her daughter’s needs, she was able to unravel the mystery of her daughter’s learning “challenges.” (@myzerowaste)
  • Let Them Look” — Betsy at Honest 2 Betsy makes time to look at, to touch, and to drool on the pinecones.
  • Why I Love Unschooling” — Unschooling isn’t just about learning for Darcel at The Mahogany Way — it is a way of life. (@MahoganyWayMama)
  • Is He Already Behind?“Ever worry that your baby or toddler is behind the curve? Danielle at born.in.japan will reassure you about the many ways your little one is learning — naturally — every day. Watch for her post, which will be featured on Natural Parents Network on Tuesday, November 16. (@borninjp)
  • How to Help Your Child through Natural Learning” — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now offers tips on how to understand and nurture your child’s natural learning style. (@DebChitwood)

Healthy Living

Parenting Philosophies

Political and Social Activism

15 thoughts on “Why I Love Unschooling

  1. What a beautiful description of unschooling! And you're so right about the fact that we trust our babies to develop at their own pace – why is it so hard to trust our kids as they get older?! I'm so happy that I've been exposed to unschooling now, when Kieran is young. It's really altered the way I think about his toddler/preschool years.

  2. We are far from deciding what schooling will look like for our little guy, but you make a compelling case for unschooling. It is already what we do, what works for us, why change it when the little one turns 3 or 4 or 5…I also really enjoy your description of making life "sparkly." I try to do that too! Now, with November temperatures in the 70's we are being super sparkly with all-day outside play. Great!

  3. I love this picture you've made with your words about unschooling! Like the other commenters, I also love the concept of making life "sparkly" for your kids. Beautiful!

  4. Our 2-yo boy may one day go to public school, but then, as now, I imagine that we will retain and practice the values you're discussing here. Learning as an all-the-time, everywhere thing. Trusting the child. Accepting the child. Yes!

  5. Great post — I can't wait to start doing this with my little boy! (Well, in some sense I already am … he's only seven months, but I love playing with him and watching him unfold.)

  6. As we're considering unschooling vs. public schooling, it's so good to read your perspective. You sound so joyful in your everyday learning. I love the suggestion to make life sparkly — I have to figure out how that looks for us, but it's a great touchstone for me to come back to. And those quotes you shared at the end are inspiring!

  7. I remember my mom making learning a 365 thing with us. Kids don't have to stuck reading textbooks to be learning. They learn doing the simplest things. Likewise, we learn more about them and why they do the things they do when we show interest in their interests and try things that they like. Great post.

  8. I love this picture you've made with your words about unschooling! Like the other commenters, I also love the concept of making life "sparkly" for your kids. Beautiful!

  9. Thank you, Darcel, for your honest post. 🙂 We learn with 2 of the kids while one chooses to attend public school. It's an interesting combination and it is all about using Life to learn instead of thinking it only occurs during a certain time frame.I like this tip also:"Someone suggested to me that I make life sparkly for my kids and find one cool thing to do everyday with them."Thanks!

  10. We are far from deciding what schooling will look like for our little guy, but you make a compelling case for unschooling. It is already what we do, what works for us, why change it when the little one turns 3 or 4 or 5…I also really enjoy your description of making life "sparkly." I try to do that too! Now, with November temperatures in the 70's we are being super sparkly with all-day outside play. Great!

  11. What a beautiful description of unschooling! And you're so right about the fact that we trust our babies to develop at their own pace – why is it so hard to trust our kids as they get older?! I'm so happy that I've been exposed to unschooling now, when Kieran is young. It's really altered the way I think about his toddler/preschool years.

Love Notes

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s