People often wonder what unschooling looks like.
It’s a natural curiosity – since we don’t do curriculum or schedules, what do we do all day?
Unschooling is a hard enough concept to wrap your brain around. But trying to explain what we do all day makes things even more difficult because unschooling is so unpredictable.
The truth is, it looks different for every family, every child, and really every day.
Usually when I get asked what we do on an average day, I list a few things that we have done recently. But we don’t always do all of the things I list each day, or even in one day.
Am I confusing you yet?
Let me try to explain what it is we do in a typical day:
An unschooling day is filled with life experiences
I try to involve my kids in as much real-life experiences as possible. That means going out of my way to find opportunities for them to engage in maintaining our home, get involved in our community, and explore the world.
Maintaining the home:
I always invite them to join me in cooking, cleaning, fixing, building, shopping, planning, and preparing anything in our house.
Getting involved in the community:
I want my kids to be concerned about and involved in the community in which they live.
For that reason, we try to find learning experiences through volunteer work, interacting with neighbors, and local events.
Exploring the world:
Unschoolers have the world as their classroom. On a typical day, you can find my kids learning about another language, catching bugs from the backyard to identify, walking through the neighborhood, watching shows about geography and culture, and much more.
An unschooling day allows plenty of time to pursue passions through play
You may be thinking, “So what? We do all those things as well as our homeschool curriculum.”
And you are right. Not a whole lot has changed for us either since dropping the curriculum. We haven’t magically become any more interesting.
We still do the same things we did as homeschoolers, except scheduled schoolwork.
The difference is that now those things that we considered extras to our education are the learning experiences themselves.
My kids spend a lot more time pursuing personal interests and passions. Some of those include:
- Fashion and dress-up
- Video/computer games
- Painting and drawing
- Computer programming
Yes, they spend a lot more time on the computer now playing games and Skyping with friends. But that time is full of learning for them.
An unschooling day allows the freedom to play, uninterrupted. It lets my kids dig deep into a concept, or an interest, and spend as little or as much time on it that they need.
A day of unschooling always leaves room for curiosity
Most people wonder how, if I we don’t have a set plan or course of study, my kids will ever learn what they need to know in order to go onto college and a career.
I have one word for them: Curiosity
A typical unschooling day for us takes full advantage of curiosity.
I don’t know about your kids, but mine ask about a gazillion questions a day about seemingly random stuff.
They also want to know how everything works, what words mean, why daddy has to be in another country and what it is like, why the mailman comes at a certain time, what makes milk taste the way it does, etc. ad nauseum.
Children are naturally curious about the world. Unschooling takes those questions and investigates them – and calls it an education.
And that is one of the main reasons we have no typical day of unschooling. We go on so many adventures just trying to figure out answers to questions my kids ask!
They learn so much from those little rabbit trails! I never just give them an answer.
Oh no- they have to work for it.
And in researching, discussing, reading, watching, experimenting, and exploring the topic. . . they learn how to read, measure, multiply, argue logically, present information, and so much more.
I hope this helps you understand why it is so difficult to explain what we do all day, and what a typical unschooling day looks like!