It's not just homeschooling, it's Life Learning. If you are not familiar with the homeschooling environment, you might be asking what the difference is. If you are familiar with homeschooling, you might simply be asking what Life Learning is.. I have written about it before, but I feel compelled to try to explain it further.
Let's start with home schooling though. Homeschooling can encompass any number of different curriculum and styles. Some family choose to recreate a school environment within their home using text books, workbooks, and the kitchen timer as a signal to switch classes. Some families choose to do unit studies and pick a topic of interest and explore it from every aspect of education. Still other families prefer something akin to a Montessori or Waldorf style run in their homes. I'm sure there are more curriculum that you can think of, and other styles that can be mentioned.. feel free to leave them in the comments if you wish..
Beyond all the curriculum of homeschooling, you start to find the simpler world of Unschooling. Unschooling by definition is simply child led learning. Some may say it means that you do not use any curriculum, but this is not necessarily true. If your child wants curriculum, you use curriculum. If your child wants to try out school, you grit your teeth, cry in private, and pack them their lunch each day. You let the child's interest direct their learning. Will they learn that way? You bet they will.. they are natural explorers, they each have their own direction, but every child has a list a mile long of things they WANT to learn about. Heck, I think most adults have a list that long too.. I know I do!
Further into unschooling, you find Radical Unschooling. These are the families that tend to not use curriculum. For them, curriculum is never needed. There are plenty of learning opportunities around each of us, every day.. if only we would stop and see them as such. The world is their playground. The libraries hold plenty of books to read, the museums hold plenty of science, history, and art, depending on which type you are going to. Want to learn about animals? Try the zoo. Want to learn about marine life? Where's the aquarium? Or maybe this week you are learning about pigeons while playing at the park, exploring the river bank to see what lives and grows there. Perhaps it is horticulture this week as you watch your plants in the garden grow.. and then on to cooking (or uncooking) class as you harvest the fruits of your horticultural labors. Where are your passions.. follow them, share them. Even more important, where are your child's passions.. follow them, share them.
From radical unschooling, it is an easy side step to Life Learning. Life learning is not just the style of education that the child receives, it is the style of life that the family lives. It is a style that may or may not include breastfeeding, co-sleeping, attachment parenting, cloth diapers, and respectful parenting. Life learning may be done in an apartment in the city, on a farm in the country, in a hut on the beach, and anywhere in between. Life learning encompasses the thought that children are capable of thoughts and decisions well beyond their years. It is a place were children are treated with the same respect that the adults are given. It is a place where children are given the same choices as an adult is given. Children are not disciplined per se, but encouraged to learn self control and establish their own boundaries.. taught to accept the responsibilities for their own choices. In this place, the adults are mentors, guardians, life guards, and friends.
This is my world.. I don't just homeschool, I life learn.
If you have questions or want to share your thoughts, please leave them in the comments, and I will get back to you with answers one way or another.