One of our favorite parts of being an eclectic homeschool curriculum is getting to meet and learn from incredible homeschoolers from a variety of backgrounds and approaches. Throughout the summer, we’ve been introducing several of our favorite experts who practice different homeschool philosophies and sharing their best lessons here.
Probably the most misunderstood philosophy? Unschooling! But the more you learn about unschooling, the more you might find it to be the best way to unlock the freedom you crave in your homeschool journey. We were so thrilled to feature Robyn Robertson of Honey! I’m Homeschooling the Kids in our IG LIVE Summer Series to share more about her journey and what it really means to be an unschooler. If you missed it, you can watch the whole LIVE here, or keep reading for five of the biggest lessons we learned from our chat. (And don’t forget to check out all of our IG LIVE Summer Series on Instagram!)
“Unschooling” isn’t just for kids.
Many people are confused by the term “unschooling.” But a better term might be “learner-directed learning,” meaning the learner chooses the where, when, what, and even the why of what they learn. And that philosophy doesn’t have to only apply to students! An unschooling mindset is about empowering the learner (be they a student or an adult) to direct their learning journey in every way.
But unschooling isn’t anti-school.
This is one of the most common misconceptions! While this philosophy can seem contrary to so many societal norms many of us grew up with, an unschooler’s journey can even include traditional classes if the learner chooses to take that path. The important thing is that the student is in the driver’s seat of their education.
Unschoolers can even use a curriculum!
The thing is to find a curriculum that supports your child’s ability to direct their own learning journey. Especially for younger children, though, a flexible curriculum can be the best way to introduce them to a variety of topics to help them narrow down their true interests and introduce them to different ways to learn. Even more importantly, the curriculum you choose should foster a love of the learning process and a strong connection between you and your child. “The basis and foundation for learning is connection—building that connection with you as the parent,” says Robyn. “It’s about showing that the learning process is a joyful, fun, safe place and time to be.”
Letting go of expectations (yours and others’) is the key to finding joy as an unschooler.
Instead of doing what others expect you to do (or what you think is expected), let your family’s personal values and beliefs guide all of your education decisions. By regularly weighing your education decisions against those beliefs and maintaining a steady line of communication between you and your child, you will find the confidence to do what is right for your family—even if it doesn’t line up with what is right for someone else’s. “You aren’t doing this for other people,” says Robyn. “And the joy you’ll have as a family, that’s the answer.”
Seek out other people and resources that can build your confidence as an educator.
Too many homeschool parents fall into a trap of uncertainty and insecurity—when really, you know your child better than anyone else! Find other homeschool parents and resources (like Robyn’s incredible podcast and website!) that will help empower you to be the boss of your homeschool and strengthen the connection you have with your child through homeschool.