Unschooling can come at any time and in any form. As a parent, you may need to do very little and your child will learn all about the world around them from the resources at hand. However, there are a few ways that you can encourage them to branch out, become inspired by new things, and have a lot of fun exploring everything the world has to offer.
Strewing Through Experiences
Strewing typically refers to the practice of leaving interesting and intriguing materials out for your children that they might enjoy and possibly investigate further. This could include books, art supplies, musical instruments, or any other number of things that a child might want to learn about. Objects aren’t the only thing that can be strewn though. You can invite your children to explore the world by keeping open invitations to outings around the house or through conversation.
Every town and city has their own variety of attractions and activities to explore. If you want to keep some exploration options open for your kids you could create a board of local activities that they can choose from on days that everyone wants to get out of the house. You could also create a bookmarked list of local attraction on your computer that they can explore and learn more about before deciding to check it out.
You might be the one who decides where the family outings and field trips will be but if you want to include your child in the decisions and let them pick what they find the most interesting, leave plenty of info out about the places in your area and let them see what the options are. These excursions could include things like nature walks, museums, kayak tours, aquariums, or community events. Most cities have a tourism website that offers a calendar of events and a list of local attractions if you need a hand in seeing what’s out there.
Learn Real Facts From Fictional Entertainment
There are plenty of parents out there that cringe when the see their child stare at a screen for any length of time but there are so many ways that “screen time” also translates to “learning time”. Aside from the typical education games and videos, there is often a lot of real life facts incorporated into video games, television shows, and movies that are designed strictly for entertainment.
To take it a step further, an activity your child might enjoy could involve picking out the truth from the fiction in some of their favorite media. There are plenty of popular video games and movies that are based on actual history or famous legends. Kids that really enjoy a certain TV show may equally enjoy discovering the origins of what its story is based on and researching which facts are taken from real life.
Investigate the Timeline
A fun activity your child might like to try with whatever subject they’re most interested in at the time can be to investigate that subject’s timeline. This can apply to almost any topic or interest they might be into. The idea is to research the details of the subject’s past, understand what is going on with it currently, and think about what the future might have in store for it.
These exercises are usually very fun for kids because they can see how their favorite interests have progressed through time. Looking into the past can teach them about history. Understanding the present is a great lesson in current events. Pondering the future encourages creativity and imagination.
This technique can apply to nearly any subject but as an example, your child might be interested in horses or horse back riding. They might enjoy finding out when horses were first domesticated, what practical roles they played in everyday life, and what the different styles of riding were throughout the ages. Then they may enjoy learning about why people ride horses now and what types of competitions they might participate in. To look to the future they can attempt to predict how popular horseback riding will be 10-20 years from now, using the knowledge they’ve already gained.
Explore All Five Senses
Taking in new information using a combination of two or more senses can build a much more solid foundation of knowledge. Multisensory experiences creates more cognitive connections allowing information to be triggered and remembered much more easily in the future.
The five basic senses are sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. As an example for this technique, if your child has taken an interest in Paris they could watch a virtual tour of the Louvre Museum, discover the music of some French artists, sample some French perfumes at a department store, bake some Parisian pastries, or fabricate a Parisian cafe in your kitchen using crafts, fabrics, and decor to make it feel like they’ve been transported there. In planning these various activities your child can also learn a ton about Paris fashion, the history of French food, the geographical landscape of the city, and Parisian architecture and style.
Become Engrossed in a Subject
Kids who are unschooling should have the freedom to pursue a subject as casually or as deeply as they choose. There will likely be times that your child becomes so interested in a subject it’s all they want to talk about. When they encounter these topics that they truly love you can help them come up with ideas on how they can dive into the subject much more deeply and possibly become an expert.
For example, a child that loves soccer might be interested in more than just how to play but might not know what information is even out there aside from just the rules. If they’re interested, show them where they can find information about the evolution of the sport, interesting history facts about it, famous soccer players around the world, and what soccer means to people in various different cultures. In every subject there is so much more to learn about than just what’s on the surface. Without a little bit of guidance kids might not even know how deep a certain subject could go.
Nearly every experience and activity can teach your child something new. They will gain insight and knowledge through every new action and encounter. So much of this will occur naturally as they go about their day and some of it may also come from your influence or the time you spend together. Paying close attention to your child’s current interests will help you be able to guide them to new experiences and activities that could be very exciting for them. These unschooling ideas can make for fun projects, inspire new ideas, and may encourage your kids to look deeper into a subject rather than simply enjoy what lies upon the surface.