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: stalk
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 sneakily.

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. Corn.
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. < g>

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?
SandraDodd: Stockings.

HollyLynnDodd: yes
HollyLynnDodd: ahh I see

SandraDodd: Like ho-ho-ho stockings

HollyLynnDodd: ?
HollyLynnDodd: ho-ho-ho?

SandraDodd: Although a stalker might have a stocking over his head, but that wouldn't be very sneaky.

HollyLynnDodd: OH I get it

SandraDodd: Christmas...
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 thinking.

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 Deschooling Typical Unschooling Days Connections