An In-Depth Look at Homeschooling and Unschooling
My older three children have always attended public school. The thought of Homeschooling has always crossed my mind but this is as far as it went because up until a year ago I worked full-time shift work outside the home. Since then I have been doing research on the subject and am considering homeschooling our youngest daughter. Baby Girl turns one in May; I have decided to start her in Tot School after her birthday. I heard about this wonderful program from my friend Liz over at From Chalkboards to Strollers.
Homeschooling and Unschooling are two (of many) alternative education models that are used by parents. However, there are many adults who are confused by these two types of alternative education. Below are some of the differences between the two.
Homeschooling – The following are the normal steps parents go through when they make the decision to homeschool their children.
* Investigating state and local educational rules and regulations for homeschooling.
* Selecting a curriculum for their children to use.
* Learning how their children process information and learn.
* Determining their children’s reading level.
* Deciding where “school” will take place.
Unschooling – Some of the steps involved with making the decision to Unschool are similar to those for homeschoolers, but there are some that are unique. Below are some of the steps that may take place as a family decides to Unschool their children.
* Review and understand state and local educational laws.
* Understand how children learn the best (visually, auditory, etc.)
* Collect books and other materials to pique their children’s interests.
* Become familiar with resources such as the local library and others so they are ready for the moment their children express interest in something and want to learn more.
The main difference between the homeschooling and unschooling models is that homeschooling is more directed then unschooling. When unschooling, you are allowing your child to lead the process – you teach about a topic when the child expresses an interest in it. Unschoolers don’t usually follow a curriculum nor do they take regular tests or have regular homework.
As with everything, homeschooling and unschooling is subject to a variety of myths and misconceptions. Below are some of these myths along with the actual facts.
Myth: A child’s education is neglected with unschooled.
Truth: The parent, or teacher, doesn’t neglect the child’s education. He or she just looks for the opportunity to “seize” the learning moment when it arises. Unschoolers have to teach the basic subjects and since unschooling is child-led, these teachers are never tuned out.
Myth: Homeschooled children aren’t properly socialized.
Truth: Just because these children aren’t going to school every day does not make them un-socialized. They are still active in a number of community activities such as sports, church activities, Scouts and other clubs. Additionally, it is worth noting that homeschooled children are introduced to different people every week, whereas traditionally schooled children are seeing the same kids and teachers daily.
Myth: Parents who unschool are lazy.
Truth: These parents are most definitely not lazy. They have to make an effort to continually be watching and listening to their children so that they can take advantage of teaching a child at any given moment. Unschooling means that parents teach when the child takes an interest in something…it may be in the morning or late at night or in the middle of the week or on a weekend.
Myth: Children who are homeschooled don’t do well in higher education.
Truth: Surprisingly, the opposite is true. Many believe that homeschooled children have “an edge” because of the high amounts of discipline and character that they have as a result of homeschooling. In fact, many of these children are awarded scholarships from colleges and universities.