Unschooling and homeschooling both involve your child learning outside of the traditional school system but the two methods can be very different. Yes, they may both happen at home, and while unschooling is considered a form of homeschooling, there are some key differences that sets it apart from the common, mainstream practice of homeschooling.
Why Home Education in the First Place?
Homeschooling and unschooling can be very different but the reasons why parents would want to educate their children outside of the classroom can be the same. Many parents feel the public school system, or perhaps even private schools, aren’t providing a quality education to their children. They may feel that their child can’t get enough one on one attention to help them learn or might feel that the pace is too slow and their child requires more of a challenge to remain interested.
Some parents may not agree that the material being taught is useful, or they may feel that a school is not equipped to educate a child that has special learning needs. The atmosphere their child is learning in can be a major concern for some parents, between bullying, cliques, peer pressure, and unhealthy competition. Whatever the reason, some parents, as well as children, feel that the home environment is a better place to learn. Once this has been decided, the question remains on how to approach at home learning.
What Is the Definition of Homeschooling?
Homeschooling, by definition, is simply the education of children at home. Unschooling can fall under this umbrella, but typically when talking about homeschooling, people are referring to teaching your children the same or a similar curriculum at home that would be taught in school.
What Are the Benefits of Homeschooling?
Homeschooling and unschooling both have their merits and one method may be more effective from one child to the next. Understanding how they both work then assessing your child’s needs, skills, strengths, and interests will help you decide which method would work best for your particular family.
Homeschooling is very much like traditional schooling in regards to structure and course material but instead of going to a school, the classroom is your home. This can be a great way to provide one on one support and guidance if your concern involves overfilled classrooms and uninvested educators.
The teaching methods a parent uses can be much more customized to the individual learning needs of their child when they are taught from home. They can tailor the course material to suit their child’s personality and this might make learning more fun or more effective. The course materials can also be as high quality and engaging as the parent is willing to make them.
Homeschooling can also provide a safe learning environment for children that feel bullied, pressured, stressed, or anxious. It can be a good option for children suffering from social, learning, or sensory disorders that make attending public school difficult. If a parent wants to add a religious element to their child’s education that wouldn’t be provided in public school, this can be done as well.
What Is the Parent’s Role in Homeschooling?
With homeschooling, the parent assumes the role of the teacher. They deliver the curriculum by providing the subject matter, activities, learning materials, and assessments. They determine the schedule and direct the flow of the day.
A major draw for homeschooling is that while the student is receiving basically the same information as they would in school, the parent can customize the pace and add or remove content to fit their child’s needs. They can slow down the learning plan and go at a gentler pace or speed it up and make it more challenging, depending on the learning speed of the child. They can get as hands on and involved as they’re willing to in order to make structured education as fun and engaging as possible.
What Is the Definition of Unschooling?
Unschooling may fall under the general umbrella of homeschooling but the methods involved are considerably different. To put it as simply as possible, unschooling is a method of education that allows the student to choose the subjects, activities, and pace of their own education.
What Are the Benefits of Unschooling?
Unschooling may be a form of homeschooling but it’s very different in the methods that are used and the results that parents would hope to achieve. Because unschooling is completely child led, it encourages creativity, independent thought, critical thinking, and independence.
Unschooling isn’t just about bringing the classroom home and getting away from the school environment, it’s about completely rejecting the structured system of learning from a curriculum and allowing the child to choose what they’d like to learn. This lets kids pursue whatever they’re interested in and can create a passion for education that cannot often be found from sitting at a desk with a textbook in front of them.
Children who are unschooled are provided with inspiration and guidance but are otherwise free to choose how their schooling will be structured. They will learn through playing, household chores, social experiences, and self-guided study. Children can learn to set their own educational goals, take the initiative to achieve them, and learn to be accountable for reaching these goals on their own.
Unschooling will also teach children how to use all the resources available to them to access information rather than just turning to a textbook or asking a teacher. As a parent, it’s essential to share as many sources of knowledge with your child as possible. The idea of unschooling is that they should be the one pursuing the information, but it’s important to keep them inspired, provide them with ample resources, and give them the guidance and mentorship they require.
What Is the Parent’s Role in Unschooling?
There are plenty of critics who think unschooling involves neglect or lazy parenting but when a parent fulfills their role in the unschooling method, they’re actually quite involved. Unschooling leaves the pursuit of knowledge totally up to the child, but that child needs to have access to inspirational, stimulating, and educational materials that will ignite their passion to learn.
Keeping plenty of books, games, puzzles, art supplies, musical instruments, and educational software around will give your child access to everything they need to be inspired. Taking them to interesting places to give them hands on education is an exciting way to help them learn about the world. Exploring the forest, combing the beach, or planting a garden in the backyard are all much more interactive ways to learn about biology and nature than what would be taught in a typical classroom.
Parents also need to pay attention to the child’s interests and progress so they can determine if more advanced materials are needed or if new opportunities or experiences may be interesting to their child. Sometimes this may involve meeting people in fields the child is interested in, joining groups or clubs within the community, or doing volunteer work together.
Unschooling vs Homeschooling: Deciding Which Method is Right for Your Child
Deciding between public school, private school, homeschooling, or unschooling can be a difficult and confusing decision. We all want what’s best for our children and we want to give them every opportunity to succeed in life, be happy, and feel fulfilled. Every method of education has different pros and cons. Understanding your children’s needs, determining what level of help and guidance you can provide them, and even giving them a say in which method they would prefer will help you figure out the best route for the education of your children.