We follow the eclectic homeschooling method, which basically means we use whatever method works for us at the time. This year, we’ve followed the often-demonized style of textbook learning for both Language Arts and Math (with some fun math supplements along the way). For everything else, we’ve followed an educational path much more aligned with the unschooling homeschool method.
What is Unschooling?
Unschooling is sometimes called delight-directed (which I think is more accurate). In our school, we allow Monkey (and one day, Bo) to choose what she wants to study for science, history, art, and anything else she is interested in at the time. For a few months this year, she spent a long time creating and engineering in Minecraft. Then, she moved on to exploring various art mediums. Recently, she has been interested in learning more about science. This year, we’ve learned about famous women in history, colonial history, animal biology, agriculture, cooking, horses, and dozens of other subjects.
Unschooling works for our peripheral subjects right now because it allows Monkey to maintain interest in learning. Sometimes it can be difficult to motivate a child to learn, so when you find what works don’t stop. I don’t believe that formal education with papers and tests is that important during the elementary years, and Texas does not require any formal testing, so we have plenty of time to fill in any knowledge gaps as Monkey gets older. Monkey also has ADHD, so the ability to move from subject to subject according to her interest is beneficial.
For us, the unschooling homeschool method is about exploring as much as we want about any subject that interests us. It is a constant state of research that is informative and fun. Unschooling allows us to explore the best educational parts of the world without having to worry about tests or following a specific curriculum. If we want to learn about how butter is made one day and what makes up a haiku the next day, we can do that.
I chose not to use unschooling for language arts and math for the same reasons we chose to use unschooling for our other subjects. We need the structure and guidance of a traditional curriculum in our anchor subjects. Next year, I also hope to add a formal curriculum for Spanish and music to the list for a bit more structure.
We will continue to use our unusual, eclectic educational method until it no longer works for us. When that happens, we will switch to something that does. Flexibility is one of my favorite things about homeschooling.
Do you use the unschooling homeschool method for any subjects in your homeschool?