Press Release | Apr 02, 2020

What is Unschooling?

By Austin Hatcher Foundation
By The Austin Hatcher Foundation
What is Unschooling?

If homeschooling isn't working for you, have you considered "unschooling?" In the excerpt below gathered by our Occupational Therapist Tammy Gipson, we explore what unschooling means and how it could benefit your child while homeschooling, whether it's temporary due to COVID-19, or you homeschool year-round.

Unschooling is often described as a type of homeschooling. However, the approach to learning is notably different. Unschooling is dictated by the child’s interests and is less structured than is homeschooling. Homeschoolers are guided by state and national standards — parents plan lessons, assign homework, and grade assignments. Unschooling is whatever the student wants it to be. To some degree, both unconventional approaches to learning are driven by the individual child; unschooling takes this to the extreme.

Unschooling families look for opportunities to make learning opportunities out of everyday household tasks like cooking, replacing the smoke alarm batteries or the car air filter. Children are encouraged to pursue their interests — like dinosaurs or fashion or farming — with books, videos, hands-on activities, games, and experiments.

During cooking activities, you can find great opportunities to learn math skills completing measurements and fractions. In my house during cooking, it often turns into a science experiment! Either way, learning opportunities arise and can be embraced.

In an environment where everyone is confused about how to best ensure their children are receiving all they need, we all need to know that our children will be ok. Historically, children have been placed in situations where they could not attend or be a part of formal education, and they have still been able to succeed.

Most importantly, as parents we need to remember that during this COVID-19 crisis, our children are learning through us, they are learning lessons on how to cope. Children are seeing first-hand how to manage stress and time through our daily examples. It is so important that we stay optimistic and positive because our children will pick up on our energy. Let’s make the only thing contagious in our homes a positive attitude – because we CAN do this!

Resource: ADDitude