Our world is changing rapidly. Earlier this year, parents were forced to school their children at home. This fall, public schools may remain closed, open only part time while offering virtual courses, or re-open with restrictions. Children might have to wear masks, distance themselves from their friends and teachers, and much more. For instance, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction released Education Forward, an 83-page document to guide schools as they reopen.
Parents are now schooling their children at home.
For some parents, schooling at home has been a blessing–they’ve discovered they enjoy being with their children and learning with them.
For other parents, it’s been hard pushing reluctant children to complete boring, uninteresting, or difficult assignments while trying to work from home.
I’m here to help.
Many, if not all parents, have decided or will decide to continue to school at home because they feel the excessive regulations will put their children in harm’s way. If you’re one of those parents, I’m here to help you through this tough time and to encourage you to forgo the public school model and consider homeschooling and, more specifically, unschooling.
From my Seize the Day – Homeschool Blog you’ll receive homeschooling and unschooling information (including a Homeschooling FAQs page), interviews with the top experts in unschooling, real-life success stories, resources, and support. Please contact me if you have more specific questions. I’ll be happy to consult with you through email, on the phone, or through Zoom.
Okay, let’s get started.
What is homeschooling?
Homeschooling is an umbrella term for all types of home-based education. This includes complete parental control (replicating public school at home) on one end of the homeschooling spectrum to complete child control (unschooling) at the other end.
Using the public school’s curriculum to teach children at home is technically not homeschooling. In this scenario, families are satellites of the public school system and are subject to the rules and regulations of that school. They have to follow the school’s schedule, testing requirements, and are limited to only the classes and subjects offered. Virtual public schools give parents a little more leeway when it comes to scheduling, but, generally, the required curriculum, testing, and grading stay the same.
The beauty of homeschooling as opposed to public schooling is that parents and children decide which method or methods of education work best for them. They determine their own schedule and decide which resources to use. Thankfully there are unlimited homeschool curricula and resources to choose from.
The key is flexibility. Many parents start by using a curriculum and then move toward unschooling as they begin to trust their children’s desires to learn.
What is unschooling?
Unschooling, also known as natural or self-directed learning, is child-led learning. Unschooling children decide what subjects they want to study, when they will study those subjects, and what methods they use to study.
Parents act as facilitators rather than teachers, insuring their child has the resources he or she needs to learn. Older unschoolers might decide to use math workbooks or textbooks, but generally unschoolers prefer real-life situations and hands-on experiences.
Does unschooling work?
It certainly does! And I’ll prove that to you in future blog posts which will include interviews from top unschooling experts and real-life success stories. Come along with me on this journey as we explore unschooling.
I have been an unschooling advocate for over 25 years. I founded and led two homeschooling support groups, presented workshops and volunteered at homeschooling conferences, penned articles for Home Education Magazine, and unschooled my two daughters.
I’ve combined my passion for homeschooling with my love of writing to create the award-winning debut novel, Carpe Diem, Illinois, about a Chicago reporter investigating an unschooling town. Its award-winning sequel, God on Mayhem Street, was released in 2016. I am a UW-Madison Division of Continuing Studies writing instructor who is currently crafting a young adult dystopian series. I have a bi-monthly newsletter about my writing life and an unschooling blog called Seize the Day – Homeschool.