Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Unschooling in a nutshell

"But what, exactly, would I do?"

  1. Involve your child in your life. Cooking, cleaning, running errands, fixing the toilet, looking after little siblings, working in the garden.
  2. Talk. Just natter on about interesting things. Listen to the questions he asks and ponder them aloud with him. Share your thoughts and experiences.
  3. Be an interesting person. Model being a curious, impassioned life-learner yourself. Pursue your own interests.
  4. Strew around your home a few interesting resources that you think might interest him. Don't get yourself attached to the idea of him doing anything with them, but put them out there. Watch to see what catches his interest. Strew more of that sort of thing.
  5. Read aloud to him. Visit the library. Choose books that are at a level beyond what he would likely read to himself and read for at least 45 minutes a day. Historical and cultural fiction are a great way to spark new interests.
  6. Don't assume he won't want to do sit-down bookwork, but make this completely optional and be flexible about the level.

That's about it: facilitate, support, include, talk, model.


  1. Would your recommend some of your favorite read aloud longer books you read to your kids when they were toddlers?

  2. Loved this post! Sweet and simple, but perfectly put! :)

    I especially like number 3. I recently started scrapbooking (I know...weird example, but it's what I got). It was something that I wanted to try but kept coming up with excuses. There were too many supplies I needed. I was not creative enough. Who would want to see what I did? When would I find the time?

    My boys heard me make all these excuses. They would in turn make up excuses to NOT do or try something.

    I hated that. So I decided to stop making excuses and do it. And I did. And I have loved every minute I can scrounge up to scrap! :)

    If I can stop making excuses, I hope they can too...

    Again, I enjoyed reading this and I am looking forward to reading more of your blog!

    Transitioning two boys, ages 11 and 6, from “school-at-home” homeschooling to unschooling... and enjoying the results (and the sanity it has seemed to restore) so far!

  3. Miriam, when my kids were toddlers we read pretty much just short picture books. We didn't start longer books until they were 3 or 4.

    Our favourite early picture books? "When Sophie Gets Angry" by Molly Bang, "Owl Moon" by Jane Yolen, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle, "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak, "Noah's Ark" by Barbara Greenwood, "Wild About Books" by Judy Sierra, "Old Turtle" by Douglas Wood.

    Longer picture books like "Stickeen: John Muir and the Brave Little Dog" by Muir/Rubay, "Melisande" by E. Nesbitt/Lynch and "The Quiltmaker's Gift" by Jeff Brumbeau came later. Along with early chapter books like My Father's Dragon, the Sophie stories by Dick King Smith, Cynthia Rylant's "Lighthouse Family" books and the Paddington books.

  4. Sarah Gauld11:31 am

    how timely for me. I have decided to pull my oldest out of school and it looks to me like the best fit will be unschooling. Having read much of you blog he seems very much like your eldest. Very Defiant when pressured to do things he feels he is not ready for. You and your family are an inspiration.

  5. Hey I just noticed your new "about us" link. Beautiful photo and it gives a well-rounded view of the whole family. Great.

  6. Great list. This is good advice for anyone with kids whether or not they homeschool.

  7. Great summary. Thanks! I shared it on my website.

  8. Hi Miranda,

    Thanks for the recommendations. Many of the books you recommend are books we're reading. Thanks for the response. I just checked it now:) Love your blog.


This blog is moving to archive-only status. Please consider posting comments instead at the active version of the blog at nurturedbylove.ca/blog

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.