Our Unschooling Journey

Our Unschooling Journey

Our Unschooling Journey began when we pulled our oldest son out of public school.  We had just started our homestead, building our earthbag home off-grid in Oklahoma and wanted our son to be a part of that process.  He was in 4th grade, with his grandmother as his teacher, at the elementary school closest to their house.  I was just scratching the surface of research on how to homeschool my child.

From what I could gather, there were essentially 4 methods to homeschool:

  • School at home (with a chalkboard and desks and a strict schedule)
  • Charlotte Mason, which seemed a little more approachable but I was turned off by the Christian emphasis.
  • Classical homeschooling (very appealing given that it’s based on Aristotle and Plato).
  • Unschooling (Probably the best, but you have to dive deep for your child’s every question or whim and I am totally not ready for that!)

So, we started out with a strong classical approach.  I resonated very strongly with Susan Wise Bauer’s The Well-Trained Mind, and I laid out a very intentional, almost strategic schedule for study and lessons.  It went really well the first year.  We followed a history book chronologically, studied Latin, did daily math lessons, and practiced copywork and dictation to accompany the many novels I assigned him.

While I enjoyed this school approach (especially the planning and procuring of assignments) Julius struggled to stay focused on particular assignments.  This is not to say that 5th grade was a complete failure.  Check out the 5th Grade Review post to see all that we accomplished.

6th grade was nearly the same as 5th, except that we had a better routine worked out and I had planned lots of activities away from home which made the year more memorable.  You can read about our second year of homeschooling here.

In these 2 years, I learned a lot about Julius; how he learns best, how quickly he zooms through books, and some of his interests.  Our favorite times involved overcoming difficult concepts together, and connecting through novels and movies.

September 2018

Jumping forward to September of 2018, I have a renewed interest in unschooling, or self-directed learning.  During those first two years of homeschooling in an eclectic, relaxed, classical style, I began to notice a trend.  A power struggle between Julius and us as parents.  More so with his dad.  I had to so something.  In my podcast addiction, I kept hearing references to unschooling and gentle parenting.  It took a while to dismiss the notion that these so-called “gentle parents” were all kale-sipping, minimalist, woo-woo hippies with spoiled children who played minecraft 17 hours a day, because they were “holding space” for their child’s self-directed interests.  Now I can see that unschooling is for real parents with real children who are being very intentional about their children’s education and their lives at home.  How can I take steps to get my family a bit more “unschooley?”  How can I take steps toward this natural parenting path?

December 2018

Free to Learn by Peter Gray, Sage Family Podcast, Judith Rich Harris The Nurture Assumption, The Pattern Problem on Invisibilia,