“How do you unschool?”
This is a question I hear quite frequently. Overwhelmed homeschool parents who feel stifled by their boxed curriculum often look to unschooling as a possible solution to their everyday battles against the lesson plan. Frustrated public school parents who want more freedom for their children and their family also tend to see unschooling as an appealing route. But how does one unschool?
How do you know you’re doing it the “right way?”
How do ensure that your children are learning and growing and thriving in their unschool lives?
If you’re new to unschooling, and you’re not quite certain that its working for your children, you might wonder if there is something you could be doing differently. Something to help them get on or stay on the right educational path.
Whatever your situation is, you’re not alone in it.
There are countless American moms and dads just like you, struggling to figure out what to do for their children. We all want what is best for our children, but with each child having unique individual needs, what is best can be difficult to determine.
That’s why I’m here to help.
I was once the nervous new unschooling parent. I remember the worry that I wasn’t doing enough, that my children would never learn everything they needed to learn.
My family found its way and our unschooling experience has turned out to be wholly positive. Yours can be too!
This is the twelfth installment in an on-going series of interviews with homeschooling parents. For more information about this series please see the page entitled “Interviews.”
Today we are hearing from working and homeschooling mom, Brenda Priddy. Brenda blogs over at Schooling A Monkey and I encourage all of you to give her a visit and say, “hi.”
Unschooling. Its a buzzword. A hot topic. A thing of mystery and intrigue.
So many homeschooling parents find themselves fighting with their children to do their assignments. Others feel stifled by the workload of their chosen curriculum. To parents like these who want more freedom in their homeschool, unschooling can sound like a wonderful option.
But when we’ve been trained to believe school is done a certain way, how do we let that go?
And if we let it go, how do we keep track of progress and make sure that our children are still learning what they need to learn?
Can workbooks help with that? Yes they can. If they are the right kind of workbooks, used in the right way.
Lately LittleMan has been really into studying Barnum Brown, the paleontologist who first unearthed tyrannosaurus. I wanted a way to bring history to life for him, outside of books and documentaries, so I thought it would be fun to build a diorama. While doing a bit of pre-project research, I found out that Peeps are a really popular diorama staple! LittleMan and I decided to take it a step further and make our diorama almost entirely out of edible items.
One of the best ways to get children excited to learn is to make learning into a game.
They can never get enough sight word practice so any way we can work sight words into a game, the better. Sight word Candyland, sight word Jenga, sight word catch- you name it, we’ve added sight words to it.
Most recently we’ve been playing sight word hangman.
I am always on the look out for fun ways the kids can practice their basic skills.
Because, lets face it, handwriting can get so dull.
So when I saw some Melissa & Doug Rainbow Scratch Art Boards at the shop, I just knew that the whimsical colors and the novelty of scratching off a letter would be an absolute hit with SunnyGirl.
After three years of writing about homeschooling, the most popular question I get from readers remains, “So what does your homeschool day look like? Do you have a schedule?”
I tend to answer something along the lines of, “every homeschool day looks different,” and, “just because I have a schedule doesn’t mean a stick to it.” Neither of which really satisfies the person asking the question.
So here it is, my answer in full eBook form, free to all of our weekly newsletter subscribers.
It is a realistic window into a homeschool family’s life- the good, the bad, and the ugly. We’ll hide nothing from you.
See what others are saying about A Week in the Life of Homeschoolers!
Melissa: “Great book! I loved this little window into a full week of plans made and waylaid. Full of great insights and resources for home education and ways to turn around a day that is headed in the wrong direction. Thank you so much for sharing your world with us!”
MaryAnne: “This is a great look into what homeschooling looks like! I especially enjoyed the planned day followed by what actually happened. The overview of popular homeschooling approaches is very helpful.”
Oberia: “I’ve been homeschooling for around three years, myself, and Suzy’s one of those people I can always turn to for advice. This piece on the real life of one week is a great way to share that same encouraging spirit with anyone else, who cares to take a look.
Suzy’s (Caitlyn’s) days don’t go as planned. No one’s ever does. I can honestly say that her day gone off plan is still neater than my day sticking to the plan. She’s kind enough to show how things do go off plan, even down to her natural feelings, annoyances, and occasional woes. I find the book quite encouraging for it.”
Becky: “Anyone on the fence about homeschooling or trying to imagine what another family’s homeschooling day-to-day life looks like will enjoy this sweet little book. What a lovely window into this family’s life, as well as a handy summary of the different styles of homeschooling that are available. Thank you for sharing a glimpse of your homeschooling adventures with us!”
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A: NO! Most certainly not, your email address will be used only to send you a weekly newsletter. No spam.
Q: Whats in the weekly newsletter?
A: Homeschooling tips and tricks, free printables, and lesson plans.
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A: No worries! If you decide the newsletter isn’t your cup of tea then you can unsubscribe at any time, easy peasy.
You pause and breath deeply, straining to keep your voice calm despite your growing agitation. “Sweetie, if you just focus, you’d have this done in five minutes, then you could go play.”
Your child stares at you with that same blank expression on their face. They start to scribble out an answer for the next problem. The answer is wrong. You know they know this. Did they forget? You search their face, their cheeky face. Something glints in the eyes. They are answering wrong on purpose! But why? Why are they making a five minute assignment last over two hours? Why are they drawing it out and driving you crazy?
Just this morning you saw this same sweet child pour over a book about a sea voyage. They even pulled out a map to check the locations mentioned in the story, to see if they were real places. They spoke of wanting to go there and observe the wildlife as they doodled pictures of ocean creatures in their journal.
How could this be the same child?
Answer: You’re raising a stealth learner.
Tired of the same old lacy hearts with the over used words, “Be Mine” embellished across the front?
Looking for Valentines to pass out at a party that will WOW the guests but won’t take you hours to assemble?
Whether you are into anatomy, astronomy, zoology, paleontology, or just science in general- we’ve got the Valentine for you!
All 14 Valentine options come with fun facts printed on the back. (Did you know frogs can use their eyes to push food down their throats? Or that ours is the fifth largest moon in the Milky Way?)
LittleMan and I were at the shop recently and looking at his options for the upcoming homeschool Valentine exchange when it dawned upon us that it had all been done before. Ninja turtles, Star Wars, all of it. And while he loves his fandoms, LittleMan really wanted something to reflect his love of science. So I offered to help him make some that showcased his interests.
And so, with LittleMan’s help, today is the fourteenth and final day in our series of Free Printable Valentines for Science Geeks. Today’s Valentine is all about love bugs!