Thursday, May 14, 2009


Welcome to the Schonder School of Unschooling. Here is where I will provide a detailed journal of our educational exploits.

I have four children, two of which are home schooled. We use an eclectic approach to schooling that leans quite heavily towards the unschooling method. For those of you who are not aware, unschooling is also called Child-Led Learning. The general premise of unschooling is that the child is allowed to choose what topics they want to cover and at what point in their education that they wish to cover that topc. For example, a child who is not ready to tackle writing skills would not be pushed or forced to engage in repetitive writing just because she is considered to be the proper age to master that skill.

The major reason that I have chosen to follow unschooling for my children is because this method allows a great deal of freedom in chasing whatever interests happen to overtake them at any given time. My four year old has become extremely obsessed with learning everything there is to know about fire. The unschooling method allows me to give her the freedom to chase the information until she is fully and completely satisfied with what she has learned. Eight months into this obsession and she's just now starting to show signs that she might have finally reached a limit with this interest. As a result of her obsession, though, she has learned quite a bit more about fire than even I have ever known before. This experience is what finally convinced me that the unschooling method is not an insane approach that lazy parents use to pass off as their way of home schooling the kids without doing any work. Kira's need to know all there was to know about fire caused me to take a very proactive approach to locating whatever it would take to satisfy her drive to learn. I worked really hard trying to find her the information that she needed. It wasn't always easy to get. I eventually had to resort to ordering an actual fire-fighter training video that was very technical (and boring, if you ask me). The video covered so much actual, real life information, in a way that seemd to finally give her the satisfy her need to know all there was to know. I, however, hated watching that video - and we have watched it several times. To me, the information was dry and dull. To her, the information was exactly what she wanted. On my own, I never would have considered that type of information to be useful for teaching a child, and yet there is no doubt that she learned so much more from that one dull and boring video than I could ever have taught her with a child oriented curriculum.

I hope you will enjoy reading about our journey into the world of education without schooling.


Petula said...

Very freaking cool! :) ... Although my children go to public school, and Anna will as well, I think I will have to do this part time. Amareah has the comprehension of at least an 8 year old. Andre learns in a different way than is the normal method in a classroom. And I can't even figure Anna out yet. LOL...

When my ex and I were together we talked about me homeschooling the children. Now that I have to focus on making money, taking care of the children alone and seeing about my health, I haven't figured out a way to do it. I really believe my son needs the structure of a classroom. Amareah thrives in a classroom and at home so I choose to send her now PLUS she's so attached to me that getting away is really good for her.

Look at that... your welcome message sparked a way long comment. Cool... see you again soon. :)

Hey, are you feeling all better?

Chiara said...

Do you expand so it's not just about fire for example?
So that it goes from fire, to camping, to bushfires/forest fires, to plant reproduction (our australian trees reproduce via fire), to loss of habitat. Also safety, science (lots of 'what does fire/heat do to various objects), Maths (how fast does fire spread), literacy (stories about fires)?

Mom said...


I do expand topics, using a method of Unit Studies. However, Kira is only 5 years old right now. At this point, covering certain areas would be outside the scope of her ability.

When discussing fire, which is an ongoing topic with her, we covered the following:

- forest fires and why they are necessary
- volcanoes
- camp fires
- fires for heat, food, etc
- sciences (there's another post here about one of our experiments with what fire does to different object... )

We have not yet covered the Math or Literature with regards to Fire. It just isn't within her ability at this time.