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Unschooling Is Not Hands Off

Unschooling Is Not Hands Off

Unschooling is not hands off.

It’s not enough to leave a child to fend for themselves when it comes to discovering new interests and the world around them. Unschooling parents should look for opportunities to expose their children to to a variety of people, new ideas, the community outside your immediate one and activities that don’t normally come up in your daily life.

If your family life is rich and full, there will be things to do, places to go, projects to tackle, interesting things to discuss. Don’t watch and wait for signs of an interest. Go out and bring them to your child… your family.

And when they find interests, support them! Get interested yourself, at least enough to understand what they’re doing so they can discuss it with you.

This is not about money either. Go to the library, free concerts, museums that have free admission, activities in your local parks….there’s tons of stuff if you look for it and are open to new things.

Unschooling is anything by passive and direction-less.

It’s about lighting a fire.

© 2011 An Unschooling Life

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5 Responses to “Unschooling Is Not Hands Off”

  1. Jamie says:

    Morrigan, I’m not expert but just throwing out some ideas from the top of my head for ways you might facilitate. Because this is all about facilitating.

    Does your library have the ability to search for and put holds on books from home? (I love our new system, its awesome) Is it possible she can use that to find books she likes – but then you can go pick them up if she doesn’t like going there?

    And how about online courses? You might try some high-tech strewing. Searching around for things that she might be interested in and then e-mailing her a link and saying – wow, this was interesting and I thought of you. Sharing interests rather than saying you should read or do this. Especially if its something you find interesting yourself – but that doesn’t have to be the case. But its more authentic if some of what you strew is your interests, and others are things she may not have thought about.

    Or asking her if she wanted to plan an outing for you and her. That you were wanting to go out and do something together, and maybe she could research it online?

    At the same time, it sounds like she’s pretty content following her path. Maybe just making sure she knows you’re there to help her get access to any resources and things she needs for her interests, and that you’d love to share them with her. Smile

  2. An excellent reminder. Unschooling parents love to show their kids the world. The difference is that they let the kids take in just what they want and need and no more – they introduce things to their children and don’t force them on them if they’re not willing or ready.
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  3. jen says:

    Thank you. It has always bothered me that unschooling was equated with doing nothing. Unschooling is one of the hardest things I have done, finding new things to expose my children to! My friends are amazed that we are always on the go but I can’t imagine a more fun and full life!

  4. Morrigan says:

    What do you do when your child is very introverted, mildly bipolar, and just never wants to go anywhere??

    She is almost 14. I used to take her on field trips, and although she seemed to enjoy them, I think I enjoyed them more than she did, and more often than not, she’d end up not feeling well, and not wanting to go and we’d end up missing them.

    We also participated in an art group at my son’s school taught for families of students there by his art teacher, but she doesn’t have any interest in going anymore. She has no interest taking any classes of any kind, anywhere at all.

    She doesn’t want to go to museums, although she does seem to enjoy an occasional concert, no interest in going to any activities that involve other people being around.

    I have joined teen groups, gotten together with a lot of other unschooling families at camp-outs and other events… but she would rather spend the time alone, just thinking, than with the others.

    She spends many hours just thinking, but also writes very detailed books (she’s on book #5 now, I think)… some of them have more than 90,000 words, but she is only recently starting to find an interest in reading a few other books, and NEVER wants to go to the library no matter how many times I offer or go myself.

    She has created numerous games, including card games and role-playing games, as well as writing complete step-by-step instructions out on her computer. She also spends many hours doing art projects on her own and is VERY talented!

    She will spend hours outside alone just walking, and very happy and content. But she has no interest or desire to go anywhere else or to interact with anyone at all.

    I don’t want to push her to go when she really doesn’t want to.. or to try to make her find friends when she really doesn’t want to… but it concerns me…. her isolation. I know she is in her early teens.. and maybe this is just a stage for her.

    Do I just give her space and let her be on her own and wait it out? Sometimes I really do feel like I’m just leaving her alone to fend for herself.. because she seems to do fine on that for the most part… and I don’t know what else to do?

    It’s hard for me, though, I confess… because I really feel that I SHOULD be doing more… involving her more… but I can’t. Any suggestions??



  5. Sylvia says:

    Exactly! I’ve known a few people who just keep their kids home from school, without really spending any time interacting with their kids, then called it unschooling.

    Unschooling is all about spending time following interests, talking with and supporting them as they explore their world.

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