Radical Unschooling

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Summer Series At So You Call Yourself A Homeschooler
WELCOME to my summer blog series:
Homeschool Methods & Approaches

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday throughout the months of June and July, you will hear from several different homeschool bloggers about the methods and approaches they use to teach their child(ren). It is my hope that you gain insight, encouragement, and confidence by reading what these tremendously faithful women have to share.

I am honored and excited to introduce to you:

Darcel, a radical unschooling mother of 3, who blogs about over at The Mahogany Way.

Most people assume that if you are a Radical Unschooler, you let your kids roam free with no parental guidance whatsoever. Not true.

Radical Unschooling is at the heart of it, trusting that our children will learn what they need to when they need and want to. The philosophy extends beyond academics, and pours into every aspect of our life.

I have three kids – Nakiah(7), Ava(5), Samuel(2). Our kids are free. They learn freely in their own way. The older girls learn much like their younger brother…..through play and exploring.

We do not use a curriculum of any kind. There are no limits on media usage, food, or sleep. That means if they want to watch a video first thing in the morning, then they do. If I’m cooking breakfast or dinner and they need a snack, they get it. If they want to stay up with us reading books, or finishing a game, they do.

As far as I can tell, both my girls are visual-spatial, so we do a lot of hands on activities. We use everyday life in the real world to learn.

Some mornings the kids may want to go straight outside…digging up bugs and worms, and others they might want to start the day with their favorite show, puzzles, or building block towers. We don’t place value on one method over the next, especially with books over the television. In fact, we use media for watching documentaries on China, ocean life, and all sorts of other goodies. We can learn and be entertained at the same time!

We visit our local museums, parks, and the beach as often as possible. This past Spring we took a trip to a historic museum to visit the wetlands and plant our own wetlands plants. The kids also enjoy playing with their many sets of flashcards. That lot includes space, dinosaurs, insects, numbers, and the alphabet to name a few. We paint, make playdough, cook together, play computer games just as much as we play outside.

Real life isn’t divided into subjects and our learning isn’t either. Math and Science can come from baking and cooking. They are recently learning about money from spending their own in the stores. They’ve learned about the postal system from trips to the post office with me.

Both girls learned to add, subtract, and divide in their head a while back. Now we’re working on the technical way its written.

Nakiah has very recently started to recognize more and more words through the video games she plays. I believe she’s learning through whole word sounds rather than phonics. Who says books are the only way to learn?

I would be lying if I said that I never once attempted to try to teach my girls using traditional methods, but it has backfired on me every single time. I don’t believe you can truly teach someone, especially a child anything, but that they learn in their own way how to do something.

My job is to be their facilitator. I keep an eye out for different things they may find interesting. For instance, Ava is heavily into ballet right now. She was taking classes until the season ended for the summer. We looked at videos on YouTube, books, and listened to ballet music.

Nakiah has been into the human anatomy for some years now. It all started the Summer she broke her arm two years ago. The Dr let us keep the x-ray and from then on she has wanted to know all about bones, how our muscles work, and how our insides function. We often get books from the library and have visited the children’s museum that has a pretty cool human body section. This fall I plan on taking her to see a human body exhibit at one of the local museums.

Ava is also into whales. Nakiah is into sharks. We visit the aquarium, watch documentaries, read books, and talk about whales and sharks. Samuel isn’t school aged and I definitely don’t believe in preschool curriculum, but he’s into trucks, trains, boats, and helicopters. I’m sure you can guess how we foster his interests.

If we bring up an idea, activity, book, or game and they aren’t interested, it’s fine! We put it away for another time. Children are amazing and will learn very well on their own…if we adults would get out of their way. They want to learn about the world around them. They are naturally curious. All of my kids learned to crawl, walk, and talk without me showing them how. Why wouldn’t I believe they can learn to count, add, and subtract without my teaching them?

I’m Darcel…..Wife, Mama, Birth Junkie & Radical Unschooler.

Very New Knitter, Pathological picture taker and Beach Lover.

Blogging over at The Mahogany Way.

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  1. Great article, Darcel. We too are a radical unschooling family. Great piece here, and what a need project!

  2. This is very interesting. Although, I believe every word of this to be true and that children can grow and learn this way, I find it nearly impossible to be the facilitator. My poor brain is wired such that it needs a schedule, if only a skeletal one. I do admire those who can be implement this lifestyle. You are truly gifted mothers. Carlie, I love this series. I’ve been meaning to tell you that for some time.

    1. Savannah, I am so pleased to hear you are enjoying this series. I am too! It is such a wonderful way to learn about other families while also learning more about different methods/approches in their “real life” form 🙂

  3. Thank you, Kelly! Savannah, Unschooling is a lot of work, but in such a good way. I love the challenge and the change that has come into my life since we started this journey. We’re having so much fun. And I learn right alongside my kids. Carlie, thank you for the opportunity to share our life with your readers.

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