Forcing the Bloom

Happy, Healthy Mommy Blog

Curriculum vs. Unschooling for Homeschools


As my little toddler (26 months) grows, I am becoming more and more interested in education systems and philosophies.  The latest one I am researching is called “unschooling.”  I won’t try to explain it because I am still learning about it.  I will say that is has my full attention at the moment and I am eager to learn more.  Have you heard of it?  Here are some resources I found so far:  1.) ; 2) public vs. homeschooling Youtube video; and several interesting blogs including an Unschooling Life and Racheous on deschooling.

These ideas made me rethink my last post about a Summer Curriculum and opened me up to a more flexible learning approach.  I kept my Shelf Work Chart and Weekly and Daily Goals because I like structure but I’m not as concerned whether everything gets accomplished.  Maybe it will go soon.  I like the idea of letting my child lead and following what he is interested in learning.  It’s less stressful to consider myself a resource rather than instructor.  I still work very hard to make an appealing, attractive work/play room with rotating, learning activities.  I also found after 1.5 weeks that the Shelf Work Chart is helpful for me to see what things we do regularly and what we tend to skip.  I can easily see that art and science do not get done often and that we consistently read books everyday.  This is helpful for planning the next day activities.  As I said, I am still learning all about different teaching methods.  I have decided, however, that “curriculum” is probably not the word I want to use from now on.  What do you think?  What do you think about unschooling?  Do you prefer a curriculum?

Although summer may not have started for you next or you may actually be going to fall (the other side of the world folks), our summer started the first week of June.  After about 1.5 weeks, here are some shapshots on what we have been up to.  We found a snake at the back door – yikes!  B knows alot about snakes now.  We have started learning about states, planets, and world monuments.  B really likes our planets poster.  We have been working on phonics.  We started with vowels and are now on “m” and linking vowels with “m”.  He can now read “ma”, “me”, “mi”, “mo”, “mu” and “mi”.  He seems really excited to be reading.  We are working on numbers 11-20 and B has started saying these numbers aloud.  B really loves all the practical life skills activities like scooping beans, pouring water, and sifting flour.  We went to our first children’s play and B loved it!  We also road on the lightrail for the first time.  We joined our library book club and start vacation bible school next week.  We have been swimming or biking or walking almost every night.  Next week, I want to play more in the woods near us (as opposed to parks) except I get poison ivy easily.  I also want to learn more about unschooling and how I can integrate those ideas into our home.

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Author: Adrienne

Attorney and Professional labor and postpartum doula.

12 thoughts on “Curriculum vs. Unschooling for Homeschools

  1. That was one big snake.

    Sent from Samsung tablet

  2. We have always been a mixture of unschooling and curriculum. I would say our style has always been “relaxed.” I have things that must be taught (whether it is appealing to the child or not – hopefully I MAKE it interesting!) and then there have always been things that THEY wanted to seek more about, so it has balanced out. 🙂
    Next year, my daughter will be in 9th grade and my son in 5th so I will begin giving grades and keeping track so that the oldest will have a transcript at the end of 12th grade.

  3. I agree with Valerie; I think there should be a balance. We find a good routine that works for us and make sure to incorporate plenty of free time for our children to explore their personal interests.
    Perhaps, like Valerie, it is because our children are getting older as well. I have four, with my oldest hitting high school during this next year.
    Best wishes on whichever path you decide to take.

  4. Beautiful beautiful shelf work!

    We’re relaxed ourselves. I require time allotments for shelfwork, reading, and writing assignments on a weekly basis, but WHAT the children decide to work on, read, and write about, is up to them.
    That makes us not exactly unschoolers, but not traditional homeschoolers either.

  5. My family…We’re radical unschoolers. I’ve decided not to continue teaching my seven year old to read. I know he can and he knows enough of a start. The key is to turn him lose. Teaching my daughter to read led to her hatred of reading. As a result, I’m not even doing that with the youngest two. We’re hoping to get on the road and learn from the world rather than just our local area. It could be so much fun for my history loving kids!

    • That’s cool! It does seem like when I push my two-year old a little too hard he completely shuts down. Better to not go down that road at all. And he learns SO much better and more easily when he does it HIS way. For example, we never just count on our number board – B drives his little car over the numbers! I’m so fascinated by the unschooling idea and can’t wait to learn more. Thanks for sharing!

      • We used to randomly count or skip count when walking. It was hard to get to the written numbers, but the oldest two learned addition and subtraction before they could recognize their numbers.

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