Considering Unschooling? Here Are 3 Baby Steps

Hey there, confused and overwhelmed parent. I am like you. I am you.

Maybe you’re homeschooling with a curriculum and every day is a fight. Maybe your kiddo is still in school but you know it’s not right for them and you’re seeking another way. Maybe your circumstances are different, but you worry that you’re Doing It Wrong.

Babysteps.

There is no wrong way to homeschool, unschool or whateverschool our kids, if we keep our hearts attuned to the actual kids we love.

  1. Set aside what isn’t serving us.
  2. Notice the unique, beautiful and struggling child in front of us.
  3. Visualize a day that meets our kids emotion, physical and connection needs.

A kid with a stressed out brain isn’t able to learn. So our first goal as a family (and at 6 months into unschooling, we’re still here!) is to create an environment and daily rhythm that supports a calm, connected kid. This helps her beautiful, resilient brain be more open for natural, unschool style learning.

1. Set Aside…

Set aside what you wish/want them to be… either right now, or what you envision for their future. Be here now.

Set aside someone else’s curriculum. I know you just bought it and it sounds lovely. Set it aside.

Set aside the way you learn best.

Set aside the expectations you have based on beautiful #unschooling or #homeschooling instagram posts.

Set aside the desire to jump into Big Learning, anything that feels academic or schoolish, or what you think is a non-chalant way to work in spelling.

Set aside anything that is eroding your connection, attachment and affection for your kid.

Set aside anything that makes you feel like you’re “faking it” or repeatedly trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole.

2. Lovingly Notice…

Notice what your kid likes doing when there is unstructured, cozy, unhurried time at home.

Notice what helps your kid have a good day (or what helps them prevent having a bad day).

Notice what your kid talks about when you sit and smile at them, and keep saying “oh really!”

Notice what your kid resists, what frustrates them, and what dysregulates them completely.

Notice what your kid’s love languages are. How do they express love to you? It’s likely how they most feel loved themselves.

3. Visualize a Daily Rhythm…

A day that is mostly at home, not rushed or watching the clock, together as much as is healthy for everyone.

A day with meals and snacks at times that sync with your actual kiddo’s biological rhythms.

A day with protein every 2-3 hours and lots of water.

A day with physical and sensory play that burns off energy and is happily satisfying.

A day with time spent outside together, getting fresh air and play, in the sun or snow.

A day with no screens (if possible) or limited screens with clear boundaries (if appropriate).

A day with lots of direct, attuned attention given to your kiddo. A day where you’re not waiting to talk next, but give lots of space and time for your kiddo to talk.

A day with lots of hugs, hair tousles, shoulder pats, tickles, silly faces, foot rubs, snuggles, high fives, winks or whatever kind of affection makes your kid feel loved.

A day with some self-care for you, in whatever form is most meaningful and resetting for you.

A day with the barest minimum of errands or plans (I aim for one maximum) and plenty of lead time to transition to and from this activity.

This is our baseline.

This is where we start.

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