The other day I had a conversation with a fellow homeschooler. She wanted to talk to me because I’ve been schooling a while and she is fairly new. She’s been confused by a few things and just needed to talk. Over the course of our conversation we got on the topic of unschooling and what did I as a Christian think about it?
It’s always hard you know? To answer a question when understanding between two people might not be clear. How I defined unschooling is this: Letting a child choose what they want to learn about without using any curriculum. A child learns at their own pace without anyone actually teaching the child, just providing the resources for a child to teach themselves.
After we were on the same page I told her that as a Christian I didn’t believe in unschooling as a method of learning, but that said I believed that we could use the idea of unschooling in our daily lives. Raised eyebrows at this statement so I went on to explain myself.
For instance, your curriculum calls for you to study about sharks but your child has a love of alpacas… so study alpacas. You don’t need to study sharks. Or you are supposed to look into the history of the civil war, but your child has become fascinated by the Metis rebellion…study the Metis rebellion. You don’t have to do what the curriculum asks you to do. You don’t.
The world won’t stop. The curriculum company won’t call you on your choices. Your child won’t forget how to learn. Other homeschool moms (or dads) won’t yell at you and if they do.. WHY? Nothing horrible will happen. You don’t need to worry about gaps in education, what you need to worry about it instilling a love of learning.
Questions to ask:
You need to ask: Is your child learning and growing? Are they enjoying their studies? Are they retaining the information that alpacas take care of their young, they are mammals, with a backbone who are a domesticated vicuna from South America? Do they know that sharks are fish, and fish are animals.. just like alpacas are? Have they learned the history can be told from different points of view? That both sides have a story to tell? Do they know that learning your history helps you understand what is happening today?
It doesn’t matter what you use to teach,. You need talk to your children, see their delights and curiousities. Nurture that. Working with your child’s interests isn’t foregoing what is good and right in educating your children. You can use what they love in order to help them learn, to intentionally train them up. Isn’t that what we are about?