life learning…

Welcome to the September Carnival of Natural Parenting: We’re all home schoolers

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how their children learn at home as a natural part of their day. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Before we were married, we made the decision that someday when we had kids, we would homeschool. At the time, we weren’t exactly certain what that would look like. When we eventually had children, we seemed to have stumbled into unschooling, sometimes referred to as life learning.

It’s a different concept for many. In fact, I think it falls into the category of one of those concepts you just don’t understand unless it clicks with you. When our oldest was three, we were involved in a small homeschool group with other families with young children who planned to homeschool. The thought was that our children would grow up knowing other children who wouldn’t go off to school at age five.

Over time, we realized that our families had different needs. Our family wanted less structure than the group had, whereas some of the other families wanted more structure. One mother in particular seemed to find our unschooling philosophy offensive. She stated, in a superior tone, that she was having conversations with her children all day and couldn’t refrain from teaching them, as it was such a part of their lives. I replied that I could understand not wanting to change something that was such a part of a family’s life.

We have cool conversations with our kids throughout the day. We do projects with them and read books together. We go fun places. Our children are learning all of the time. The difference is a bit of a paradigm shift for many from the idea of teaching to that of learning. When we teach, we decide what another person should know. When we facilitate learning, we support another person in their quest for knowledge. Just as my husband and I pursue subjects we are interested in and learn, so do our children. It would be rather impossible to go through life without learning. Our children are continually learning through life.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated September 14 with all the carnival links.)

19 thoughts on “life learning…

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  3. The difference is a bit of a paradigm shift for many from the idea of teaching to that of learning. When we teach, we decide what another person should know. When we facilitate learning, we support another person in their quest for knowledge.

    This is so true!! I am always amazed at what people want to teach our children! My neighbor wants to teach Beanie to pump her feet and arms on the swing to make it go by herself. When she couldn’t get the concept through, she tried to recruit a child at a play date here to teach her. My IL’s and their children will come over and try to teach my kids how to work toys that belong to my children! As though they haven’t figure out how their own toys work! It has always been my opinion that I can’t teach them anything more important than they are already learning through their own play, so I just do my best not to interrupt their flow.

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  11. I really love your distinction between teaching and learning, and the definition you give of teaching. I was reading an article on not forcing good manners on kids, and one of the commenters said, “But how will they ever learn to have good manners?” and what she really meant was, “How will they learn if you don’t teach them?” But, of course, we do learn! We learn by example and by experimentation — with manners, with academic subjects, with relationships and all sorts of other things. I really love your attitude, and you’ve perfectly described how I feel about unschooling. It just feels right to me, even though I know it seems out there to many other people.

  12. I think it’s hard for people to understand unschooling because it SOUNDS like it’s so far from what most of us grew up doing…when in reality it’s seems to me to just be a less contrived way of learning. Great post!

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  16. I think that’s such an important distinction – learning vs teaching. I teach adults for a living (or I did, in pre baby days) and that’s the reason I chose adults over children. Children HAVE to be there, so you have to teach them. Adults WANT to be there, so all you have to do is facilitate learning. It makes the experience so much better for everyone involved!

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