Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread - Proverbs 30:8

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Little Unschooling

For those of you who might not be familiar with the concept of unschooling, it does not mean you don't educate your children.

According to Wikipedia...
Unschooling places little emphasis on traditional school curriculum and encourages children to learn through their natural life experiences including play, game play, household responsibilities, personal interests and curiosity, work experience, travel, books, elective classes, family, mentors, and social interaction. Unschooling encourages exploration of activities initiated by the children themselves, believing that the more personal learning is more meaningful, well-understood and therefore useful to the child.

Many prefer to call it interest-led learning.

I have to admit, I am intrigued by the idea, but not enough to fully embrace it. Instead, I have found ways to incorporate some of the ideas and practices of interest-led learning into our mostly classical method of education.

One way I am doing this is by letting the girls teach me something. They choose the subject, prepare the lesson and then on Fridays, they take turns teaching.

They really love making me do copywork. And I love trying to earn an A+++. I tend to do the copywork both in cursive and print, and often add a sentence or two of my own to earn extra points.

Speaking of copywork....Sometimes I let them choose a sentence from their favorite book or current story and use that for copywork (instead of me just choosing it every single time). It's amazing how much more compliant they are to copy something they have chosen.

And my oldest daughter...she loves to write books. She's been writing and illustrating books for a couple years now and is currently working on her first chapter book. Supposedly it's the first in a series of five. She loves talking about the story and has worked quite diligently to write it out.

When she lets me read through what she's written, I can easily see how she is applying what she has learned through our formal writing lessons. And this book writing exercise has been the springboard for most of our spelling lessons this year.

Younger sister often follows in her big sister's footsteps, so she too might begin writing her own book. We'll see.

And then there are the sketchbooks....they both have several of these. I've learned to stock up on blank page notebooks because they can become anything the girls want them to become.

So although we do follow an education method and even use set curriculum for most things, we have found ways to incorporate interest-led learning into our homeschooling journey.

When my girls have the freedom to explore and learn about what they are interested, that's when I see a love for learning develop. And that's what makes it all worth while.


  1. I love the idea Jill. I might have to get my 6 year old to do that too.

  2. Totally digging the idea of "them teaching you" a little lesson sometimes. I can see how that would provide them a unique challenge of planning, give them a sense of accomplishment and help with decision making. Even as I mentor young women at church, I encourage them to spend some time 'creating' studies to share and teach each other. It makes us dig deeper into the bible and gets us away from the lazy "Teacher, you do all the work for me" mentality. I really enjoy their sketch drawings! (the owl & hummingbird are terrific)Thanks for sharing this!

  3. What an awesome idea! Thanks for sharing!