The Blog

DESIGN YOUR LIFE

Mind Training + Alternative Healing + Simplified Living + Financial Independence

blog image

Unschooling Could Change Your LIfe

May 10, 202310 min read

Don’t enjoy reading long blogs? Let Speechify read it to you.

Our Jouney to Unschooling

Back in 2015, my husband and I decided to homeschool our children. Our oldest was 8 and had just finished 2nd grade. Our middle child was 5 and had just finished Pre-K, and our youngest was 2.

While I was pregnant with our second child, my husband and I thought it would be a good idea to send my oldest son to school so he could be around other children, and have something to do besides sit in front of the television while I took care of our newborn

I ended up signing him up for a part-time Montessori school, not too far from our home, where he went for about 2 school years.

When we decided to leave the Montessori school because it was wayyyy too expensive to be part-time. I came across a private school, where he and eventually his brother went up until the time we decided to homeschool..

By the end of 2nd grade, I was completely over paying tuition, driving back and forth everyday because there were no buses, and done confusing my child.

My son was starting to get older and have questions. He was attending a Christian, private school, and though we weren’t Christian (in the traditional sense…another conversation for another time), I thought we could get away with sending him to a Christian school because we enjoyed the staff and the educational “rigor”, and he was so young it wouldn't matter. We thought we wouldn’t have to address our religious discrepancies anytime soon.

Time passed and we began to see that we were a bit off on that. We quickly realized…

  • we did not want anyone else indocturinating our child(ren) with their religious beliefs, especially when they weren't aligned with ours.

  • My 8 and 5 year old were away from me for 5-6 hours a day, absorbing somebody else’s morals and values.

  • Someone else was having more or as much influence on them at crurcial stage in their development than me and my husband, and we weren’t there to know if everything they were being exposed to was in alignment with what we wanted for them. These were very formative years…I wasn’t ok with that.

  • We also discovered that though the school prided itself on being diverse in the staffing and student body, the curriculum was terribly white-washed. That was the end of the rope!

Give me a child

When we (as in me)…when I (because my husband needed some convincing) decided we were going to homeschool our children. We were in the process of purchasing our first home, and the assigned public school in the area wasn’t doing so well, and no other school I had looked at were meeting my standards.

This was my sign that it was time to give homeschooling a try.

As I mentioned, I was drawn to the Montessori method. I was the parent making my own jobs/educational manipulatives for my children, and finding creative ways to teach them what I thought they needed to know. I also substituted for a local Montessori school.

I enjoyed the hands-on, natural, learn-by-doing approach to the Montessori method. And I knew I didn’t want to simply bring the traditional school model home because I witnessed education being so much more than what I expereinced in school. Giving my children the opportunity to follow their passions was essential to our homeschool experience.

Montessori

I started looking for more resources to help me make this way of living and learning a part of our experience, and I stumbled across Unschooling.

What is Unschooling?

Unschooling is a lot of different things, depending on who you ask, but in a nutshell, for most people, it is allowing your children to learn the way they would if the school system didn't exist.

As parents, we provide our children with opportunities to learn and experience, but we don't consider ourselves their teacher, per se.

There is no emphasis on…

  • Grades

  • Standards

  • Testing

or any of the traditional educational tools, like worksheets or flashcards, etc.

Children are allowed to learn at their own pace, what they are interested in because it is believed chidlren are always learning.

I will introduce my children to information that I feel will help them be better people, and that I feel will help them thrive in life, on top of allowing them to lead their own learning.

Unschooling and homeschooling, can look like whatever you want it to look like.

For those of us that have been through the traditional school system it is important for us to take time to practice expanding our view of what learning looks like.

This process is called deschooling.

By definition, deschooling is the transition process that children and parents go through when they leave the school system in order to start homeschooling.

This is a step that is crucial when transitioning from school to home, but especially, if you are not interested in bringing school home and want to bring more creativity to your family's homeschool experience.

I am not bashing the school system. It works for all intended purposes, and if those purposes are aligned we yours, have at it. But for the rest of us, deschooling is very necessary.

Our family took a solid two years to deschool, which means we stepped away from most things that felt like traditional school during that time, but deschooling continues to be an on-going process for our family.

During our initial deschooling journey I focused on deprogramming myself and my children and…

Recognizing learning in unconventional ways

People, children included, are always learning. Whether it’s useful information or not useful, we are learning. Therefore, opportunities for learning are everywhere. We as parents, have to pay attention, recognize and observe the learning that is happening.

Learning never ends

Therefore, there is no rush to know certain things at certain ages. When children need to know something, they will have an interest in learning it. If they are not interested in learning it, it’s because it’s not essential to their life yet. We all take interest in learning what we need to when we discover its relevance and benefit to our lives.

NEWS FLASH! Learning doesn’t stop once our children turn 18. We don’t need to try to cram it all in before then. They have time. Even though that’s not what we’ve been conditioned to think.

Homeschooling/Unschooling can look however you want it to look

I fell for this one, I thought that I had to do everything the way I saw it done on the internet in order for me to be able to wear the Unschool label. I couldn’t use workbooks or flashcards, or assign assignments.

Eventually, I realized this is not true. Unschooling for me, is assisting my children in learning however I would if the school system didn’t exist. This may still be using written resources like flashcards or worksheets. Although, I do try to make a lot of our learning hands-on, real-life learning when possible.. So, worksheets, etc. are not my first option, usually, but they have their time and place in our Unschool experience.

It’s not all or nothing. You can be a hodge-podge of whatever style of homeschooling you want. That’s the beauty of taking your children’s education into your own hands. Find our your homeschool style, and get my free homeschool bundle >here<, to help you get started.

For example, your child(ren) may spend weeks or months investigating the same interests. There is no rush to keep up or slow down for everyone to be on the same level or pace.

What People Think…

When I speak to parents about getting started homeschooling, one of the main issue that come up for them is they don’t feel they know what to teach.

Parents have a misconception that they need to keep up with standards, which is fine, but it’s not a requirement. At least, not where I live, and that's part of the freedom of homeschooling

We have a hard time doing things our own way and not having society direct our every move.

Doing homeschool differently takes guts, and a lot of us are overly concerned about impressing others, and don’t want to look less than if someone pop quizzes our child and they don’t know the answer that society says they should, and we homeschool.

This will inevitably going to happen whether it’s a stranger hearing you homeschool, family member, or friend.

What people don’t understand

is that homeschool children learn on many different levels at the same time. They often know a lot more information than their traditional school counterparts in more areas than not, but also know less in other areas. But homeschoolers typically only get pop quizzed in the subjects that the school system/society has deemed as important. So when that’s not your main focus as a homeschooler…here lies the problem.

That’s why homeschooling families have to gain unwavering confidence and have an IDGAF attitude when it comes to what others might feel, say, or think about how learning is happening for your family.

You might not always feel like you know what you're doing. Especially, if you're a first generation home educator, but you know Why you're doing it. Stay true to that.

Build a strong foundation for why you are homeschooling, out the gate. There has to be a strong reason you decided to go down the path. Homeschooling is not for the faint of heart. Keep this as your North Star when things get tough, as they envitably will.

Check out this resource to help you with this.

In the meantime, you are not going to ruin your children.

People are natural learners. It doesn’t take as long as school makes it take to learn most skills. Therefore, if there is something your child needs to learn, they can most likely learn it in a relatively short amount of time.

The other concern I come across

Parents have a hard time envisioning what homeschooling could look like outside of the school-at-home model.

We have to take back our control, collaborate with our children, and build our own experiences. It helps to have a support system to share ideas with and open your eyes to the possibilities. Find some local groups via social media.

Long gone are the days of sitting around the kitchen table for 6+ hours doing page work. That's boring, and who has the time?

Homeschooling can happen at any time throughout a day, in the evenings/night, on weekends, alternating days, etc.

I know parents with full-time jobs that homeschool their children and single parents. It takes a village so find your support system, get creative, and give the gift of homeschooling to your child(ren).

You will find ways to socialize them

There are tons of other homeschoolers, especially not. Again, connect with them on social media.

You are qualified enough to teach your children

There are tons of resources online and in libraries that will teach you and your child whatever you want to know.

Homeschooling is not for everybody

But if it is on your heart to homeschool your child(ren), give it a try. That’s the only way you will know if it’s for your family or not. Then, at least you can say I tried it and it was or wasn’t for us.

You've got this!

- Shonnea

Homeschooling is one of my favorite subjects to talk about. Hit me up on social @shonneaabdullah if you’d like to chat more.

Back to Blog

We want you to be a part of the amazing community we're creating. Leave us your email so you can stay up-to-date with all the cool stuff that's happening here.