What is unschooling? Simply defined, unschooling is homeschooling that doesn't use a fixed curriculum. It is not eclectic - where you use several curriculums from different publishers - but rather it is a lifestyle in which learning through being and doing becomes center to the family life.
Unschooling would eschew traditional textbooks in favor of hands-on and real life learning. The philosophy tends to be child centered focusing on questions like:
- What does the child want to learn?
- What is the child's learning style?
- In what ways does the child NOT like to learn?
The goal of the unschooling parent then is to work towards providing the opportunities for their children to thrive and to provide gentle guidance towards thriving without pushing traditional boundaries and expectations on the child.
There is no 'typical unschooling day'. With that said, most families will focus on doing things together. All experiences would be considered learning experiences and therefore valid. So if a child and her parents wanted to plant a garden, the day would be spent working on that garden, learning all that there is to know about weeding, planting and taking care of gardens.
While there is no one set way to homeschool, The Moore Formula has been a popular method to follow. There are several distinctive elements of "Moore Unschooling."
One of the driving principles of the unschooling philosophy is that children learn better when they are ready. According to the Moore Formula, formal education of any sort would not start until at least eight years of age and perhaps as late as twelve years of age.
Another element of the Moore Formula is the idea that your child spend some time studying every day. Studying tends to focus on things that the child is interested in. Before formal education, a child may spend time reading on their own, learning how to cook, or doing something else that is hands on.
The Moore Formula also suggests that children spend at least as much time working as they do studying. Working is important since it helps children develop a sense of work ethic, and teaches new skills.
The final piece of the Moore Formula for unschooling is to have your child actively participate in service. When the child is young, service opportunities include things at home; however, as the child gets older, service can encompass a variety of opportunities in and around the neighborhood.
While unschooling would never look the same from one family to the next, it can be simply defined as child-centered education that seeks to provide rich experiences without the use of traditional methods.
LoveToKnow Homeschool's slideshow on Homeschooling Notebooking Ideas will give you one option for weaving in writing skills in a fun way on topics that interest your child.