How Does Unschooling Work?
Samples and Examples of What Actually Happens
June 24, 2005, Sandra Dodd:
Here's a fresh example of how this works in real life, kids learning to write
and spell. Holly's upstairs in the kitchen or Kirby's room, I don't know
which. She's 13 and writes LOTS better now than she did a year ago. I know
there are unschoolers her age who write better, and some who are doing other
things than writing, but she's getting faster and more at ease.
HollyLynnDodd: hey do spell stalking like stalking like to stalk someone?
or is that like to go out and kill a whole bunch of stalks.
SandraDodd: It has to do with walking quietly behind someone,
SandraDodd: hunters might stalk a deer.
HollyLynnDodd: but they don't stalk a stalk?
SandraDodd: stocking is what they do to shelves at new stores.
a new store had opened two days earlier right behind us
SandraDodd: The stalking isn't the killing, it's the following around
HollyLynnDodd: or is a stalk not a kind of bird
SandraDodd: You can't stalk the stalk because it's not moving.
SandraDodd: Stalk is a plant that grows up straight and hard. Celery.
SandraDodd: Corn stalk
HollyLynnDodd: maybe I'm thinking of a stork
SandraDodd: or a stalk of celery
SandraDodd: One could stalk a stork, until the stork flies away.
SandraDodd: I think if you follow by air you're trailing, not stalking. <
HollyLynnDodd: what about what like the stalking I got in london
SandraDodd: I didn't know you were stalked in London.
HollyLynnDodd: the tights
SandraDodd: Did you get stockings? Socks?
HollyLynnDodd: ahh I see
SandraDodd: Like ho-ho-ho stockings
SandraDodd: Although a stalker might have a stocking over his head, but
that wouldn't be very sneaky.
HollyLynnDodd: OH I get it
SandraDodd: oh you get it.
HollyLynnDodd: okay, thanks
SandraDodd: okay you're welcome.
Pam Sorooshian commented:
That was great to read and such a good example of how an unschooling
parent can interact with their kid.
Rosie and Roya spent several hours yesterday organizing Roya's cd
collection. She has 284 cd's. They debated categories, and then debated
which category to put each cd into.
This kind of thinking is hard to "categorize" in school subject terms,
but deep in my soul I know that it is incredibly valuable kind of
I guess that's because the biggest limitation I see in my college
students is just a general lack of ability to think clearly — it is
like all their thoughts are mushed in together and they can't separate
out what is relevant and what isn't — they can't categorize what is
more significant from what is less.
In organizing the cd's, what the girls were debating was what the most
relevant characteristics were of each cd and looking for patterns in
what characteristics they had in common.
And Brandie wrote:
I totally loved reading that. I know the point was more to show Holly's writing, but what I loved so much was how patient and wonderful you are to your children. This to me was a PERFECT example of how unschooling should work. It is parental involvement — taking time with them — to answer their questions — to be there for them. This one little message showed all of that. So many parents will say they do this, but don't.
How involved a parent must be to successfully unschool is big on my mind right now as someone on a local homeschooling list seems to think that unschooling means that we as parents don't do anything. So, I have been explaining how unschooling works quite a bit today.
Communicating with Kids (and teens, and other adults)
"Leaning on a Truck," an article on ways to create good discussion conditions
Precisely How to Unschool including a chart on how much time to spend with your children
Building an Unschooling Nest
Typical Unschooling Days •