I recently made vision boards (view them here) and one of them is for unschooling. I think it is important to have a visual reminder of why we chose to unschool our son, verses more traditional homeschool methods.
Sometimes the pressures of society and those that don’t know the vast benefits of unschooling can allow doubt and worry to creep in, especially with my teaching background. Having a list of traditional schooling and unschooling differences and a quote from “Free to Learn” by Peter Gray can help clarify our decision with just a quick glance.
“Children (rid of us) are biologically designed to educate themselves through play and exploration! We don’t need to educate them; we need to provide the conditions to allow them to educate themselves!”
Having things to remind us to live in the present and be mindful of our child’s interests and needs is so important. Sometimes we can let the stresses of life take us out of the moment, causing our child to be ignored or rushed and not have their curiosity fostered as well as it could be.
What do I mean by fostering their curiosity? Well, answering questions through speech, a book, a dvd, or better yet, giving a hands-on opportunity for them to answer the question for themselves. For example, my son LOVES orange juice. He thought it just came from a bottle (he is only 3), so I took an orange and helped him stick a glass straw through it and he was able to both touch and taste the orange juice right from the source; making the connection of where orange juice comes from. He loved it and now asks for his orange juice like that. When he is done drinking the juice he eats the orange.
Being present for unschooling isn’t just answering questions the child already has, it can be inspiring them. We have a large range of books and manipulative of varying age levels that we play with all the time. We also do a lot of vocal counting, reading, spelling, letter sounds, and color recognition, plus allow multiple opportunities for him to see us write in cursive (yes, he is learning cursive first and his favorite kindle game is teaching him to write in cursive). We try to make this a habit for daily learning opportunities. He seems to enjoy it, since he repeats what we say and is already counting and adding to 4, recognizes the letter A and number 2, knows all of his basic colors, knows what words are for, and can recognize a few sight words in both print and cursive. This is why our vision board includes an “ABC and 123” picture and “ASL” picture, as a reminder to demonstrate knowledge throughout the day.
An added bonus of having a homeschool vision board is as motivation for older children. (Thank you, Tashara for pointing that out!) They can see why homeschooling is important and focus on concepts they want to learn. To enhance this, it would be great for the family to plan and make their vision board together.
Do you have a visual reminder for your homeschool/unschool goals? What would you place on your vision board?