It’s the time of year when parents are anxiously packing into auditoriums for a close-up of their child receiving awards and honors. As a Flight Attendant Mom of 3, this will be my first year not cheering, applauding, or posting to social media my children’s accomplishments and I couldn’t be any merrier!
Since choosing to unschool a year ago, I’ve been asked tons of questions by parents. Most just want to know what we’re doing. Unschool, or Self-Directed learning, is a relatively new concept for many. And just like traditional homeschool, unschool looks different in every family so it can appear to be elusive.
Check out my interview with Akilah S. Richards:
We learn through everyday life and travel. My children use resources in our home and community to access information that interests them. As their parents, we serve as a guide or facilitator. We organically offer ideas and concepts that they naturally digest, such as history and geography from my daughter’s DNA report and our family tree.
We choose not to use a curriculum or anything that’s boxed unless specifically requested by our children. Because of our natural approach to learning, there are no certificates, test scores, or formal measure of our success.
Many of my children’s achievements as unschoolers are immeasurable. We’ve grown closer as a family and enjoy each others company even more. They both learned to cook and take on daily chores with minimum protest. We started a vegetable garden and my children water, weed, and harvest it daily. They enjoy long days at the library and stay up late reading stacks of books to their heart’s content.
Aside from the occasional “Participation Certificates,” they receive no awards or grades, and we like it this way. We want for them to define themselves and not succumb to any fancy labels given to them such as “Scholar of the Year” or “Most Improved in Reading.”
The children are involved in regular activities and classes. This year they studied Arduino once a week at the County Arts Center. They take Creative Writing lessons with my sister who also doubles as our nanny. There are weekly gymnastics sessions and Art Class twice a week. Unlike when they were in school, my children chose ALL of these activities.
My parents have even noticed my children’s newfound calmness and matured nature. While they still play, entirely too much for me sometimes, and are very social, they both are much more confident and secure. In conversation, they’re more thoughtful and considerate. They still bicker but they enjoy each others company.
I’ve been asked more than once this year how long do I plan to homeschool. My answer has always been, for as long as my children wish to.
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Highlights of our First Year of Unschool:
Boy Scouts (Weebelos Award Earned)
Girl Scouts (She completed her Bronze Award)
Skiing (First Time!)
Vision Boards for our Family
4H Dissection Workshops
4H 3D printing
Financial Literacy Workshops
St. Louis Science Center
High Museum of Art
Atlanta Botanical Gardens
Delta Flight Museum
CHIME IN: What does your “unschooling” look like? Let us know in the comments below!
Katrina Morrison is a Flight Attendant, wife, and homeschooling mother of 3. She is actively involved in the community and takes great pride in her role as a volunteer Girl Scout leader. Along with her husband and children, Katrina has traveled to some amazing destinations including Morocco, Paris, Costa Rica, and Jamaica.