I tried something new and recorded the post for you, if you’d rather listen to the blog post:
For the first 10 years or so (it’s hard to define when it began…at birth I suppose) we were Unschoolers and it was exactly the right thing for us.
I read everything I could find about Unschooling, online and in books.
I listened to Pam’s Podcast for years and took her incredible course “Childhood Redefined” with Anna Brown and Anne Ohman.
Unschooling changed my life and I’m so thankful for everything I learned and experienced over the years because of it.
Three years ago our oldest child chose to go to school (she just turned 11 at the time) and up until now she has mostly been enjoying the experience.
When the dynamic in our family changed and our middle child was the oldest at home, somehow our needs shifted as well. With his sister being gone most of the day I noticed that he wanted a bit more structure and direction for his days.
I had been reading about the Charlotte Mason Philosophy and thought it might be interesting to try some of her ideas. So I bought some sketchbooks and we went outside for Nature Study, we listened to Beethoven and Niccolo Paganini, and we looked at paintings by Botticelli and Vincent van Gogh.
I also picked a few living books from AmblesideOnline (a free Charlotte Mason homeschool curriculum) and Wildwood (a free secular Charlotte Mason Curriculum). We read these classics and historic books together which sparked many interesting conversations.
Whenever I felt any resistance from my son I backed off and we went back to just following his interests. I often continued reading books by myself though.
After a few weeks or months, however, he began asking for these books and some of the activities.
One of his new interests became history and geography, and he spent hours researching the answers to his questions and finding out where in the world certain countries or cities were. I couldn’t keep up anymore.
Around the same time he started a new Youtube Channel devoted to certain history and geography topics and he has quite a following and community now (he recently reached over 1.2k subscribers).
Over the last few years we’ve been moving between Unschooling and the Charlotte Mason Philosophy, which is a bit similar to what Melissa Wiley describes as tidal homeschooling.
Since I never push anyone to read these books or join in the activities, I feel it’s still a bit more like Unschooling, but real Unschoolers might disagree because we are often sitting down with a plan in the morning rather than just following the flow of life (which we do when we are not in the mood for a plan).
This mixture of flow and structure seems to be working really well for us these days.
Our youngest (8) joins us now and I recently made him his own morning plan, which he has been enjoying a lot.
I think these two educational or rather life philosophies compliment each other quite well as they both consider children to be whole from the beginning.
I’m hoping to share a bit more about the things that have worked for us over time. Each homeschooling family is unique and has to find their own best way of learning and living together, but maybe there are one or two things that might resonate with you and help you on your own homeschooling journey.