The term “unschooling” in relation to education may seem like an oxymoron to some, while making others cringe at the term. However, I think if you take a look at what the term generally means, you will find that all children experience unschooling to some extent.
So, what is unschooling?
I think this sentence from Wikipedia makes my point and is a fair explanation: "Unschooling students learn through their natural life experiences including play, household responsibilities, personal interests and curiosity, internships and work experience, travel, books, elective classes, family, mentors, and social interaction."
Every child is going to learn something through their experiences (as listed above) for better or worse, regardless of the intent of their parents. Unschooling is simply a term some homeschooling parents give their style of teaching, but it does not mean that their children are not being educated.
I am sure there are some extremes, but in most cases unschooling simply means that the parents allow their children to pursue their passions and interests without the confinement of four walls. In fact, the parents often encourage their children to achieve higher-than-average academic levels, but the road on which they get there is uniquely theirs.
Those parents who embrace an unschooling homeschool style, are uniquely equipped with a natural talent (or strong desire, despite their talent) to find an educational opportunity in every moment of life. They see the math lesson in baking cupcakes or grocery shopping, the science lesson in discussing the weather or a trip to the park, the phonics lesson in their child’s favorite book or song, the social study lesson in their volunteer work, the history lesson in their museum visits, and the value in great literature. They believe that teaching their child to learn is the foundation for everything else.
In fact, education is often the passion of the unschooling parent. The desire to teach their children to love learning, fuels their desire to allow freedom in the subject matter and style of their homeschool. Their children are not confined to a textbook, though if the child loves reading history and science textbooks, you will probably find an entire bookshelf full of textbooks for all grade levels, including those far advanced to the child’s age.
Though the term unschooling may be foreign or ridiculous to some, you may be surprised to know that many of the great men and women of our country (and of the entire world) were mostly unschooled by default. Life and the world were their classroom, with their parents leading and guiding them into adulthood. Their parents took their responsibility of raising their children seriously and taught them all they knew by allowing them to work and learn alongside them. Most importantly, they taught them to be hardworking and to learn. And I think that is the goal of most unschooling families.
Clarissa West writes at www.clarissarwest.com. She is a Christian, Wife, Homeschooling Mama to 7 (plus has another child in Heaven), Homemaker, Dreamer, and Writer. She is on a mission to simplify life and embrace holistic health.