The Unschooling Life

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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:

Aadel who blogs about family, faith, and homeschooling as a military family over at These Temporary Tents.

I often laugh when people ask the question, “What does a typical day of unschooling look like?”

By its very definition- there is no typical unschooling day!

Unschooling is a philosophy that assumes learning is naturally part of life. It takes into account the innate curiosity of the child, the dynamic of the family living together under one roof, and the experiences we encounter each day and says, “This is education”.

Our Educational Philosophy

We don’t require our children to do any formal curriculum or lessons.  It wasn’t always this way.  There was a time when I tried the traditional route with our oldest.  But over the years, and through many frustrating lessons, I have learned that you really can’t get kids to hate learning unless it is being forced upon them.

Our home is democratic in nature.  Since we all have to live together, work together, and be accountable to one another – we find that using the one another verses in the Bible as guides to behavior and responsibility works best for us.

Because my husband and I are the parents, and we are more mature both physically and spiritually, we guide our children into thinking wisely about their future.

Sometimes we might suggest skills or information they will need in life and ways to go about learning them.  We will ask our children if they would be willing to do a certain task or educational activity if it is something we think they would enjoy or is essential to their growth.

Often they come to us and ask us to help them learn something.  Recently, both of our daughters expressed the desire to learn about different things.  Raven (11) wanted to have a more formal art curriculum so she could improve her technique.  Denna (7) wanted to learn to read a clock and tell time.

My job as an unschooling mom is a big one.  I need to:

  • Provide a rich, alternating learning environment that sparks curiosity
  • Watch my children for cues they are developing or need support
  • Find resources for what they are interested in (this is sometimes exhausting!)
  • Be an enthusiastic learner myself

An Example of Living the Unschooled Life

I spend my days trusting that God will lead us in the direction he wants each one of us to go, and that he will provide those light-bulb moments for me to affirm that we are guiding them the right way.

So we live and learn, and God blesses me with an abundance of light-bulb moments.

Raven struggled with spelling and writing when we did formal curriculum.  It was one of our most sensitive areas that would make attitudes flare.

But when I gave her the freedom to develop in that area on her own, she excelled.  She still doesn’t love writing as much as she loves art, but her spelling has improved ten-fold by typing to online friends and playing computer games.  Last fall she decided that she wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and wrote a 7,000+ word fiction book.

Denna has never had formal lessons.  Every lapbook or worksheet we have done has been at her initiation.  She learned to read through playing phonics games online and went from sounding out words to reading 4th grade chapter books in one year.

As the school kids are getting out for the year, my girls have been excited to play with our neighbors.  The neighbor girls gave Denna some “homework” to do in one of their games.  It was a worksheet with subtraction problems.  Denna completed the first line of problems flawlessly, even though we have never sat down and worked in a math book.

What Exactly Do You Do All Day?

I would be amiss to say we never sit down and “do school” together.  However, we don’t see it as school.  We see it as pursuing our interests and expanding our skills and knowledge.

We read books together as a family.  We make lapbooks and history timelines.  We notebook, do science projects, build with legos, play outside, draw, paint, listen to music, and play computer games.

Most days we do some gardening, cooking, baking, and cleaning.

Basically, we live life!  We have jobs and hobbies.  We take care of what needs to be done to run a household.  We pursue interests both collectively and individually.  We eat, pray, and play together.

And through it all, we learn.

Aadel learns alongside her 3 children and military husband of 12 years amongst the rolling hills of Kansas.  In her nonexistent free time, she writes about their military, unschooling, Christian life at These Temporary Tents.  She also writes at Christian Unschooling and owns Homeschool Commons.


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  1. Although we employ a more structured approach to learning, I very much enjoyed reading about your unschooliing methods, Aadel! I ‘m impressed with the ways you foster natural learning in your daily life.

    And Carlie, what a great series!

  2. Aadel, what a great description! I especially love the “one another verses” reference – we are really into those as well! My parenting philosophies have definitely grown and been tested in the past 6 months as we’ve moved from public school to unschooling – and I couldn’t be happier! 🙂

  3. What a beautiful picture of the unschooling life…I love it! I so enjoy reading others’ posts about how they live and learn together that resonate so closely to our own journey and how we do things 🙂

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