Friday, November 30, 2007

Unschooling through the ages

This is for Unschooling Voices issue 11

Unschooling through the ages: How, if at all, does unschooling look different as your child ages and grows. Is it different now than it was a few years back? What role does age play in unschooling?

I have been thinking about this probably a little too hard which makes it more difficult to articulate.

I have 4 kids, ages 12 1/2, 9 1/2, 8 and 5 1/2.

We have been living and learning without the confines of school since birth.

I actually find that with the younger kids my role is more hands on, there is a constant question and answer dialogue going on. They need more undivided attention, which is hard to do with 4 kids anyway. I have just found a way to be with all of them at various times and helping them with whatever it is they need. With different ages they are all into different things, their interests vary but rarely are they all interested in the same thing at the same time.

As they grow they are more independent learners. My oldest just does the research himself and rarely asks me for help. He will still come to me on occasion but not like when he was younger. I believe it's because he knows how to learn and how to think because it's been fostered in him and nothing has been force fed. He doesn't look to me to tell him what to do he looks to me for support and guidance .

My middle children are right in between these two with doing things independently and asking me how and for help as needed.

It will be interesting to see how they continue to learn and develop as they reach the teen years, which isn't far off for my oldest.

My role as facilitator is to observe my children, to know when to step in and when to stay out of their way. I do not want to hinder the learning process, I want to nurture it and watch it flourish.


Grace Walker said...

I have really seen differences in Heather since we started this 5 1/2 years ago. She spent 6 + years in public school settings, 1-6 grade and was in daycare before that...*sigh* I certainly would change that if I could but I believe when we know better, we do better. Anyway, she needed me a whole lot more in the beginning than now. Now, she is the one who's constantly teaching me new things and sharing with me what she learns. It's amazing!

Vicki said...

Nice article! Unschooling is such a wonderful way to live! It seems that my son is learning more and faster as an unschooler then he ever learned while attending school. I'm glad I learned there was a better way before his love of learning was lost in the school system.

Babette said...

Good point! My 7 year old needs me constantly whereas my 12 year old is happy just to read an ask my advice occasionally.

Maire said...

Hi I have been home edding my youngest for just over a year and we have been sort of unschooling because she had become extremely demand averse. I too wish I had never sent her to school.

I too have been married to a wonderful man for 18 years and have three children.

I have just decided to give my daughter more structure but have not had the chance because she has been occupying herself and sometimes me for the past two days and has only once asked to have the telly on.

Maybe we will unschool after all.
I also love dark chocolate, wine and coffee, a little bit to much!

Maire said...

Sorry my comment got a little muddled up, will preview next time.