Passions

This post was going to be about something else, but I got carried away with storytelling and we have ended up here. Passions.

Like most parents, we want our children to follow a path that allows them to explore their passions. Radical unschooler or not, I really believe that most parents want their children to find something that makes them truly happy and for them to be able to make that a big part of their life.

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Are You Worried About Screen Addiction?

There is a lot of fear out there. Do people actually believe that ‘screens’ are like heroin for kids? Apparently they do. Apparently a lot of people do.

Well, we have no limits on screen time and I am not worried about screen addiction in my home. I am assuming that the vast majority of you have found your way to this article on my blog because you are interested in respectful parenting. If that sounds like you, good news! There is a great chance you don’t need to worry either. What a relief!

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What Is Unschooling Really?

I know it is difficult for a lot of people to conceptualise what unschooling ‘is’. Unschooling can seem like a pretty scary term, and for people who associate education with school, it can generate some inaccurate assumptions. You see a lot of catch phrases like ‘life learning’ and ‘child led’, maybe you see some photos and some articles featuring kids in nature or completing some project and it still doesn’t translate into ‘education’ in your mind. What is unschooling, really?

You might be surprised to know that ‘unschooling’, in essence, is a very well documented and researched method of learning which, when educators attempt to translate it into a classroom setting, is called ‘experiential learning.’

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How To Find Your Community

If someone asked me what I felt were the most important elements of unschooling and respectful parenting, community would be at the top of the list. Make no mistake, if you haven’t found your people, this path can feel like a lonely one. When you connect, some families ahead of you and some just starting out, what once seemed complicated and impenetrable, suddenly becomes a clear and well-trodden path, with others sharing their maps.

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My Son Spent All Day On A Screen

My six year old spent all day occupied by a ‘screen’.

We had a busy day with friends yesterday and I sensed that it was going to be a quiet day around here today. There is so much fear and judgment around the use of technology so I wanted to document what ‘spending all day on a screen’ really looks like and why I don’t care.

Here is what I saw.

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Unschooling A Neuroatypical Child

I have thought about writing this post for a while, and I haven’t up until now for a variety of reasons. Firstly, each of my children have a story and it is theirs to tell. I try not to share their highs and lows, successes and vulnerabilities without their permission. The second reason is because I don’t really think there is any difference in approach to unschooling a neuroatypical child vs a neurotypical child.

My eldest child is the former. My other two children are the latter.

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How My Unschoolers Learnt To Read

When we started unschooling our children, the biggest fears I had were around ‘reading’ and ‘maths’. How would they learn?!

This is not a blueprint. This is the story of my three children learning to read. I have seen unschoolers write online about much later literacy in children and also of children suddenly learning to read completely independently. That is not our story, and that’s ok. I hope our experience adds to the dialogue to show the myriad ways children can learn to read and write. And, as you will see, the way this has developed in each of my children has been quite different. My eldest two started reading at around five or six, and my youngest daughter has just started expressing an interest in some early literacy skills. She is three.

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This is what it has looked like in our home.

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Sibling Bonds Are More Important Than You Think

My children love each other. Like, really love each other.

We spend our days together, every day. Not just a couple of hours in the afternoon. All day. We are unschoolers. We don’t spend days separated at home doing age level curriculum, we spend our days with interests intertwined, learning together. There is conflict and conflict resolution, a natural multi-age peer group, and endless opportunity to experiment with social skills in a safe space.

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Unschooling On Tuesdays

Another installment for those following along. I am actually really enjoying recording our days in this way. I am paying closer attention to everything going on than maybe I usually would. And it has filled me with so much gratitude that we get to spend our days together in this way. Seeing negative comments around about unschooling, I just can’t imagine anyone thinking that this wasn’t ‘enough’ and I hope this series demonstrates how life throws up so many opportunities for learning. For those of you unschooling, perhaps these posts aren’t that useful, because the flow of the day is different in every family. But for those of you considering making this leap, I hope these posts make unschooling seem accessible and doable because it is!

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