Unschooling is a form of homeschooling. It’s legal in the USA, and it’s a recognized approach in other countries, too–even in rule-loving France, from where I’m now writing during strict lockdown.
Unschooling is a form of learning that recognizes, respects, trusts, and encourages a child’s self-led interests and natural curiosity. While unschooling families are not all the same (some are seemingly more ‘radical’ than others, especially from the view of non-homeschoolers), it is generally understood that unschooling puts a child in the driver’s seat of his/her own education and learning experiences. To many, including my own family, unschooling is about so much more thanacademics, it’s a lifestyle. A lifestyle where learning never stops. Where everyone in the family is free to pursue their passions and discover at their own pace.
Unschooling allows children to follow their own interests and passions, sometimes to the point of exhaustion–I’m thinking about my own unschooler who would spend 24/7 programming and learning advanced coding if I didn’t periodically remind him to take a break to eat, shower, brush his teeth, and get sleep.
Our response, as parents, communities, leaders, and governments, to the COVID-19 crisis will forever shape our children and the generations to come.
We can react to the situation out of fear, or we can choose to react to the situation out of love, strength, and courage. Choosing love, doesn’t mean that concern about the crisis isn’t warranted. It doesn’t mean that the situation isn’t scary and uncertain. Choosing love doesn’t mean that it’s unreasonable to feel nervous or anxious about the unknown.
Rather, choosing to react out of love, strength, and courage means we can acknowledge our fears and respond with productive behavior. In the end, choosing to react out of love gifts our children and future generations with strength, resilience, and hope.
If there’s a silver lining to the Coronavirus crisis, it’s the explosion in the number of free or cheap homeschooling resources and classes online. There are so many exciting opportunities for children (and parents!) online right now thanks to the generosity of businesses and shut-in economy innovation.
Here are some of these free or cheap opportunities that will make your homeschooler’s experience easier, fun, and enriching, regardless of where you are stuck, shut-in, or confined in the world.
Free or Cheap Resources for Easy, Fun and Enriching Homeschooling
Fender Guitar Lessons. Get 3 months of free lessons with a limited time offer code (first 100,000 downloads). If you don’t already own a guitar, you can sometimes find used beginner guitars on eBay or Craigslist. You can find reasonable priced ones with decent reviews on Amazon, like this Fender beginner model or smaller 3/4 sized models. I recently purchased a Fender guitar for my 12 year old, and she loves it. Over the years, I have also purchased a few other guitars (lefty specific, acoustic and electric) on Amazon for my children and have had good luck with them, so if the reviews look decent, don’t hesitate to try an online instrument purchase.
Outschool.com. My homeschoolers LOVE Outschool, and they have taken many classes here. You can find music classes, including How-Tos, tutorial style classes, and music theory classes.
Rosetta Stone. Rosetta Stone has just announced 3 free months of Rosetta Stone Language Study for students. Seems like a great opportunity for students to learn a new language or improve in current foreign language studies.
Duolingo. Learn a language for free through Duolingo. Offers online or App based study.
British Sign Language. Free for under 18. Now charging a nominal amount due to demand and server overload.
MEGA COMPILATION OF FREE COLLEGE/IVY LEAGUE CLASSES:
450 Ivy League Free Courses. Computer programming, psychology, business, science, history classes for your older homeschoolers or you. Paid option to obtain a completion certificate.
If there’s a bit of advice I can offer after homeschooling, roadschooling, and worldschooling my kids over the years, it’s to let go of your homeschooling worries, especially during this uncertain, stressful, and scary time.
Your kids are going to be just fine academically. Use this opportunity to be present with them and to enjoy them. Cook with them, fold laundry together, teach them how to sew on buttons, make spaghetti sauce from scratch, plant seeds together, or plan a future outing or trip together. Simply spend time with your kids doing things you might not otherwise have time for. Add enriching activities on top of your time together to keep the days interesting and fun, but most importantly, keep yourself healthy and don’t stress about homeschooling.
Your kids will thank you. And so will your sanity.