As I’ve made it known a dozen times before, we use My Father’s World, a little of Sonlight’s language arts and Heart of Dakota read-alouds. We use them, they don’t use us. E with all of this curriculum, we are unschoolers overall. Just what does unschooling even mean anyway? Ask a hundred people and you’ll get a hundred different answers, but the man who coined the term, John Holt, has a wonderful definition of unschooling. It’s the best explanation to date… the original name was thought up after watching a 7-up commercial in which the company called the soda 7-Up: The Un-Cola. He began calling homeschooling “unschooling.”
Unfortunately the word unschooling sounds negative and lazy instead of inspiring images of freedom and growth within learning. My kids have learned more unschooling than they ever have in our unit studies, BUT (and this is a big but) I believe they were able to learn so naturally and freely because of the focused mom-led academic work we’ve done in our unit studies. In our particular family dynamic and with our lifestyle and personalities, we need both. We need to unschool in order to enjoy learning and we also need to have times of guided school work with MFW, SL, and HOD curriculum.
The way we homeschool, and by “we” I mean any of us, doesn’t have to be like “this” or “that” as we live a life of learning. Trying to fit the entire family into one mold is exhausting and disappointing. I used to do what I didn’t understand… trying to unschool when I had no real understanding of how it worked and how my children learn. It made me uneasy. So then I stuck specifically with Charlotte Mason and her philosophy, which unschooling can fit nicely once we made a path with end goals in mind. But I didn’t know unschooling like I knew Miss Mason’s teachings. There’s no set of volumes mapping the unpredictable waters of unschooling, like there are with CM. Homeschooling, unschooling, whatever-schooling looks different for every family and if I know one thing, it’s that I should never try to be like another family. No two homeschool families have children with the exact same needs.
We use curriculum while unschooling and I want to write about how we made the transition and how it works. Maybe I’ll start a series. Unschooling Unrules. We’ll see… As for now, I want to leave you with this…
“If you know where you want to go, other people can help you get there. If you have no idea where you want to go, you probably won’t get very far.” -Sandra Dodd
Have a plan and have goals in mind, but don’t let them own you. Then make the journey towards the goal while being open for stopping to see the beautiful flowers of learning and growing on the side of the road. One day these will be the good old days. What we do now matters. How my kids learn matters.
Have a great one friends.