Sweetpea Speaks: Unschooling Advice from My 8-Year-Old

The other day I was working on a blog post. My 8-year-old Sweetpea asked me about it. Then she said “Oh I have some thoughts that parents need to hear!” These are her words, narrated using voice-to-text. I edited by adding punctuation/formatting and minor tweaks for readability. Really, why listen to a boring adult when you could listen to an 8yo? This is pure gold, people! 

Your kid will learn the most by having fun and using their hands. So I think you might want to do what I say! If kids don’t play and learn with their hands, then they’re building up all this stress from the whole entire day. And they let it all out by kicking or screaming… and that’s never fun, trying to get them out of that those emotions. It’s just too much stress being at home and doing the same stuff [schoolwork] every single time at the table or desk. It’s not fun… trust me. But when you do it the unschooling way, you basically have less stress. So you might want to do less homeschooling and more unschooling. It’s a lot funner. You shouldn’t rush your kids by saying “So after playing with this we’re going to go do this [schoolwork].” You want them to have fun right? Right! So you can say “How long do you want play with this?” or “We can play for this with a long time.” Or, you could just not ask any questions, and just play and play!

Homeschooling rocks, but unschooling rules the world. You won’t have all that built in stress. You won’t have all that anticipation for when the day is done. So parents: remember how it was being a kid – stressful! Being at school, but you don’t get that much recess. So you want to homeschool, but not do it the same as school. That’s why you want to unschool instead of homeschool. Kids will have much, much more fun doing it this way, like: playing Barbies, playing on the tramp[oline], playing with their dollhouse… whatever you have that they play with! They won’t get all worked up about it, like “I hate doing this!” or “I don’t want to do this!” or “I’m bored, I’m finished”. Cuz they’re having fun.

There’s some other stuff you might want to hear: Unschooling doesn’t mean “My kid won’t learn math! My kid won’t learn science! So I’m just going to keep giving them math worksheets.” That’s not going to happen with unschooling. You can get a microscope and look at stuff… and that’s science! When you say “We have to go do this [schoolwork] and then we can go play for a little” … it’s just not fun just doing it that way. It makes people want to go back to school. Cuz they don’t like the way their parents doing it.

Sometimes the hardest part is being like “She won’t remember to read!” That’s what you think. Kids like reading when you’re not like “OK, after math we’re going to go start reading.” It’s not fun doing it that way. One way to have fun reading is for parents to read a good series: “Junie B Jones” is so hilarious, there’s this book series “Nikki and Deja” that’s good, and series called “Sugar Plum Ballerinas”. Those are all good books. Have a parent read big books, and when you get to a big word you stop and you have the kid help you out reading it, like “What’s this word?” and they will help sound it out. When parents read, kids will learn to develop their reading skills…. when they want to develop them and you don’t force them. You don’t want them going to school and being like “I know how to read, but I’m so stressed!” That’s just not cool man, not cool. So you can learn your developing reading skills as slowly or as fast as you want when you unschool.

You can let the parents read, I know it sounds crazy! And also audiobooks. Kids usually want to copy the parents, so that’s how kids start learning to read. But it’s so crazy, I know! You can also read the same book over and over. It’s very fun when you do things together. Like you can read big words together. You learn you can read Disney books. You can imagine you’re in this lovely world of Disney… or anything like that. It’s like you’re in a book when you use your imagination, cuz you can picture everything. But it’s hard when a parent is like “After this you go do that”. It’s hard.

Sweetpea OUT!

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