Friday Ramble on Unschooling

A big reason for our unschooling expansion over the past two years has been to allow our children to learn new things outside “the box” and to follow their passions.  I believe these two items are so linked that they are one reason, as in order to truly follow their passions, they must first discover what those passions are, and in order to do so, they must be allowed to try and try and try new things, and then try more.  I’ve been working hard to knock down walls and plow through traditional blockades in order to allow them these opportunities.  Many times for me, this means overcoming a fear that I’ll receive a lot of outside judgment in the form of “aren’t you afraid they won’t learn ____________?” and “but what about ___________?” and “oh my goodness I can’t believe they aren’t doing more of ____________!!”  So it has very much been (and continues to be) an educational experience for me, as well as an opportunity (many opportunities actually) to push myself out of my comfort zone.

Something my two older girls love to do is arts and crafts, and this seems to be a major creative outlet for both of them.  I fully believe in allowing children to expand their creative expression in just about any direction they desire, and so one HUGE leap I’ve made this year is to change my policy create a policy where before I just had a habit, around art and craft supplies.  The new police is “YES.”

You see, previously I tended to hoard art supplies.

Wow, that was really hard to type.

We love to hit up our favorite craft and hobby stores, and browse the sales at the office supply stores.  And we especially enjoy bringing our treasures home and organizing them into their various lovely storage places (I love to organize!).

And there they would sit.

And sit.

And… sit.

I always had a mental inventory of what we had, you know, just in case we needed something.

But I didn’t spend all that money on all those beautiful crayons and markers and colored pencils, and hundreds of pipe cleaners and a gazillion foam stickers, and oh-so-many paints, just to have them ALL.  USED.  UP.



Then what did I buy them for???

I don’t do that anymore.  Now when the kids ask if they can do a craft, the answer is a resounding “YES!” unless of course they have other responsibilities to take care of first.

And it’s been really fun to watch them think and imagine and design and create.

In the fall, after I vowed to say “YES” to more crafts, the first time I was asked, “Mom, can I do an art project?” I felt a little twinge as I watched the bins being raided.

But now I look forward to it as much as they do.

5 comments for “Friday Ramble on Unschooling

  1. February 16, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    Oh, I so understand this. Six years ago, this was me. Matter of fact, if you look carefully on some of the shelves and bins in my study, you’ll find where my label-maker was employed.

    Letting go was HARD!

    But so very,very worth it.

    Because we extend unschooling into all areas of life, there really aren’t any responsibilities that come before creativity, and, through creativity, they discover so many other parts of life. For instance, my daughter is very into Littlest Pet Shop. She prefers older models to the newer ones, and buys them on Ebay from all over the world. She’s learned a lot about geography, counterfeiting, budgeting, filmmaking, customization, storytelling,and more through this play – and I’m sure there’s more that we haven’t discussed yet.

    I’ve got hundreds of examples like this, in only six years. May your unschooling journey bring many more yesses, much more delight, and the wonder and magic of the results!

    So glad you shared this! =D

    • February 16, 2016 at 1:07 pm

      I think of you often as we travel this unschooling journey!!

      • February 16, 2016 at 1:21 pm

        I can’t speak for everyone, but, for us, it keeps getting better and better. All those things that I used to worry about fade away when one of the kids suddenly decides to spend a couple of hours cleaning the house (yes, that happens!), or my son talks to me about the FIMfiction he’s editing for writers, or so many other things.

        Those “What if they don’t learn ———– ?” moments tapered off as we went along. No, they don’t know everything they would have been taught in school – but then, even the kids in school aren’t guaranteed to learn just because they were taught, and, besides, the actual usefulness of a lot of that could be debated.

        What my kids have that they just couldn’t, if I “took charge” of their learning, is the confidence that they can learn what they need to learn to do the things they want to do. That they are capable people with resources, and parents who want to help them as they need it.

        It goes way beyond schooling, this way of learning and growing. I don’t remember the age ranges of your family, but I can say that, as the teens progress, unschooled kids tend to shine (and often get along a lot better with their parents than society might have us believe possible).

        Enjoy that creative chaos! <3

  2. February 5, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    That’s great you’re encouraging them to find things they’re interested in outside the standard subjects. So many parents get hung up about school subjects that kids don’t develop any outside interests.

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