You've been curious about unschooling - so let's dive into this together just for the summer!
How about Unschooling This Summer ?
It might be easier for you to look at unschooling - and look at your child - without all the pressures that come when the school season kicks off.
I’m not talking about a Summer Reading Program, or seeing where you can slip in some math games. I’m talking about Real Unschooling. The kind that let’s the kid be in the driver’s seat - where parents play SUPPORTING roles instead of a DIRECTING roles.
Maybe you’ve been Kind of Unschooling, but you’re not quite ready to let go of all that schooly stuff. Maybe you could use a break from trying force all that - and unschool for REAL for these next few months.
What do you think?
Want to try Unschooling for the Summer of ‘22?
Let’s talk about what that would look like - Right here. Right now.
I’m Sue Patterson and this is the Unschooling Mom2Mom podcast.
I help parents like you figure out how to unschool.
That usually means dismantling quite a few fears.
Connecting with your kids in a different way.
It’s more of a partnership when it comes to learning. You’ll need information and support to make this happen - and after 25 years in the community and 3 grown unschooled kids of my own, I can help you do this!
I’ll add resource links here …but let’s get back to this Summertime Unschooling idea.
Unschooling for the Summer?
I see you pondering. I hear the wheels turning…
Thinking, “OK, what would that entail?”
It’s going to take looking at learning from a different vantage point.
No more fear-based, “What if they don’t know this by…” whatever date people have told you is critical.
No more power struggles to make sure they “live up to their potential” or “stay on course.”
The “course” so to speak, is determined by the child. I know, hear me out.
Humans are hardwired to learn and be curious. We like a challenge - not too big of one, but enough to feel good about what we’re doing.
We don’t, typically, like to be told what to do.
We have ideas we’d like to pursue. Kids are no different - they're humans too!
And yes, that might look like trying to get a higher level on Minecraft, or playing legos or make believe for what seems like all day.
But what if I told you that the actual THING they’re doing isn’t as important as practicing what it’s like to chart your own course.
To follow through, succeed, fail, adjust and try again. Because these are the things that happen when you get to pursue something you really enjoy.
Truth be told, kids can pick up their times tables whenever they need them. Or they can use the calculator on their phone. They can learn to spell based on the words they need - probably in text or reading along in some fun book they’ve picked out for you to read with them.
The World Moved On... Schools Didn't
We’re no longer an Industrial society where it’s all about creating a good factory worker that has the same set of knowledge and skills as the guy next to him. Memorizing isn’t good enough. Rote facts don’t help you learn how to problem solve or collaborate. We’re in the Information and Innovation Era now. Schools have not adjusted - because they’ve created a big System whose wheels turn slowly. And while they might be onboard with makeing little shifts and incremental changes, they’re not willing to do the major overhaul that’s needed to catch up with the times.
My coaching group just read the book: Most Likely to Succeed, Preparing our Kids for the Innovation Era - by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith. They aren’t unschoolers - they’re school proponents, actually. But they see the problems we’ve all seen. And they lay out a lot of details that will help reassure their readers that the school path is not moving in the right direction by hanging on to the past and focusing on more testing - instead stepping back to change the whole system.
I always thought that having opportunities in a library or even a community college way of learning would be so cool - no forced attendance, no testing - you know it or you don’t. You only learn the things you need. While this isn’t the direction SCHOOL is going, it can be a direction that we can go. Because we can offer flexibility on all the ways our kids can grow their knowledge and skill set. We’ve already seen how quickly things have changed since we were kids - it’s going to continue to grow at an exponential rate! Let’s help our kids learn more about how to communicate, collaborate and problem solve what’s in their paths. Let’s not continue to reinforce working for a grade, class rank, or some teacher approval. The real world doesn’t care about any of that anyway. It only matters when you live in the school system.
This is why the unschooling perspective is so effective. We want to know something, and that becomes the catalyst. We don’t need a task master or a factory boss to make us stick with it - we ourselves want the information or the skill, so we move toward attaining it.
Case in Point: Jackson
The question often then comes,
“Yeah, sure. But what about The Basics? They can do all that AFTER they know The Basics.”
But that’s not true.
My grandson, while I’m talking to you, is sitting on his grandpa’s lap watching and discussing a YouTube video about atoms and energy and matter and Einstein… He’s 7. His reading level doesn’t keep him from this information - he doesn’t have to read it. He listens and discusses it with his PawPaw.
Who knows what he’ll do with this information?
Who knows what direction they’ll go off in?
Who knows what all he is retaining?
But I can tell you a few things that are certain,
- He knows that YouTube can bring him information in a way that he can understand it.
- He knows that he can ask his grandpa questions about what he hears.
- He knows that learning is interesting and intriguing.
- His vocabulary and knowledge is growing.
- His connection to the adults in his life are strengthened.
And these are the kinds of things that make you brave enough to be more curious and love learning.
So… I could have said, “Yeah, they’re in there watching Youtube.”
But it’s more than that. A lot more than that.
OK... I got derailed.
Unschooling this Summer.
Think of it as an experiment you’re going to dive into.
You’re going to learn about unschooling - you can go to the Unschooling Mom2Mom website and start working your way through the information. Or you can take the Jumping Into Unschooling course - it’s going on sale next month - but it’s always on sale for those in the membership group.
You could grab the Strewing Calendar, just to loosen the grip Fear has, telling you that some things to learn are legit and others are more fluff. I’ll put the link below for that - I’m offering a 3 month - summer only - subscription.
Move in the direction of their curiosities. If you have fear about them, like you think it’s too much screentime, or whatever is worrying you, lean toward the fear. Gather more information. This will help you understand what’s happening…. What they like about it. And that will help you know more about your child and help you connect.
And the key is in the connection.
Podcast #16 is called Unschooling Curriculum. That’s a good follow up to this one, so you can see more specifics about HOW to unschool this summer.
I have a ton of worksheets to help you do this in the membership group - so it might be a good thing to join us and use those tools - even if just for the summer. Even if you don’t think you’re going to continue to unschool next fall.
How to Unschool this Summer
Your Tips on how to be Intentional about Unschooling.
Say “Yes” more - and if the request is too much, what PART of it can you say “yes” to? Let them feel what it’s like to have you be on their team, or there to help them achieve what they want - instead of being an obstacle they have to work around. And if you're not sure what to talk about with them, these are so fun:
Brainstorm with them about fun things they’d like to do while they’re in charge of their days. Then see what you can implement. What part can you say yes to?If you’re not sure what kinds of things they're interested in, I have a Brainstorm Tool - it’s an unschooling Guide. And it can help you see all the options out there - that don’t have to do with academics - if you’re feeling a little less than creative.
Take it a week at a time - don’t create some big Master Plan. Schools condition us to live for the future. “Someday you’ll use this.” “Someday you’ll be glad you suffered so long.” Nahh… Let’s live in the Now. What’s doable THIS Week?
Game Time! Do your kids like family games - is it time to get some new ones? Do you need to MAKE time for playing? I have a blogpost of a bunch of games that other unschoolers said have been fun at their houses. And some Pinterest boards FULL of ideas.
Games: Unschooling Favorites
Family Movie Nights might be better? Pop some popcorn, bring pillows, lower the lights - make it special! Then talk about it afterwards - was it realistic? Did they see those actors in other things? What did it make them think about? Remember, it’s all about your connection with them. All these conversations are going to give you glimpses of what they need rom you.
Pinterest: Unschooly Movies
Take a lot of pictures. Even if they roll their eyes. This will help them remember fun things that happened or that they did. Photos of them on the tablet on the couch. Photos of everyone huddled around a board game. Photos at the pool. Whatever you’re doing together. And be sure to be IN them too. We have so many photos without Mom or Dad (whoever is the photographer). Trust me, you may not like how you look in photos, but 10 or 20 years from now, you’ll WISH you looked that good! Hahaha Plus it’s modeling for the kids - we are who we are - and we are good enough. They need to see you EMBRACE that message too.
Your Turn to Learn
While you’re playing with the kids, take a little time to read more about how unschooling works. Over at the website or through this podcast. I’ve done 65 of these already! Listen to one a day. Think of it as your Unschooling Workout this summer. And the more you read and listen, the more you loosen the grip of that schoolish approach to learning.
Humans learn - it’s part of our nature, you just need more information and support to help you notice it all...to help you see that you don’t have to have such tight control over it all.
And you’re always welcome to join us in the membership group where we’re talking about these kinds of things all them time in the membership group. So if you need more support, join us. !
Unschooling for the Summer…
Even if you’re only Kind of Unschooling, Almost Unschooling, or Not that sure how this can work out. We all start out unsure. It’s ok. I’ll help you.
So that’s it for this week - enjoy the kids - dive into Unshcooling this summer! And I’ll talk with you again next week.
Get the Unschooling Support you need!
✔️ Conquer your fears!
✔️ Join a private unschooling community
✔️ Group coaching calls with Sue
✔️ Exclusive unschooling resources for members!
Learn how to put unschooling into practice!
So many awesome reasons to join the membership group!
Sue Patterson shares 25 years of experience, brainstorming with group members and offering an enormous library of members-only unschooling resources.
You don't have to do this alone!
Create a Strong Unschooling Foundation!
✔️ How to GET STARTED Unschooling!
✔️ Learn how to Overcome Obstacles & Fears!
✔️ Find out what Unschooling Parents DO!
✔️ Develop your Unschooling Confidence!
Are you ready to jump into unschooling but wishing someone could hold your hand a little bit? This course does that!
This step-by-step approach will help you create the foundation you need to be successful at unschooling.
Imagine how many missteps you can avoid when you have someone walking along with you on these early steps!