Unschooling by Default?

Another question for y'all:  I am not real organized, so I'm not sure if what I'm doing is unschooling because of default, or if I'd be better off finding some kind of curriculum as a guide.  Is unschooling kind of living and doing this and that, like I am, or is it just an excuse?  Help please.


I think this often!  I struggle with the whole labeling thing!  I think, "What AM I doing, exactly?"  We are back at some math textbook use!  I really have come to the conclusion that my method, or lack of one, can't be labeled.  As a friend wrote to me the other day, "When you learn something new, isn't it a combination of reading about the subject, talking about it to others, and experimentation?"
Why, yes it is!
Bottom line, I think I introduce things as appropriate, and leave plenty of time and space for their own discovery process, and I answer questions, discuss ideas, and cheer them on!
This Monday, I took out two math texts with the idea of introducing terms and ideas until I reached a point in the material that my son no longer was familiar with or understood (trying to find his level, and filling in terminology).  So we reviewed a lot of things, kept it fast- 5 chapters that morning...Tues we did a little more.  Yesterday I decided to do a "change up" and set both boys (4 yo, 8 yo) up with a project out of Math for Every Kid.  The younger one followed directions, and was quite pleased with the results...the older one considered it lame (I could tell) and went about trying to foil the experiment.  Well, I was angry at first, but then I told him that what he did had merit.  If he had kept to the project's perimeters and had come up with a different result, he would have "disproved" it.  An experiment should be able to be repeated with the same results each time by different people, etc...
A few minutes later, as I was preparing lunch, I heard him reading another experiment out of the same book.  He busily went about getting all the materials to make a parachute.  Measured it out, tried different plastic bags with different results...etc.  He worked on this the rest of the day.  Aside from a little reading about Roman Numerals, while he tried out the parachute in the back yard, I let him go.  He learned a tremendous amount, but if I hadn't introduced stuff, it wouldn't have happened.
I really think a mix is good for us, and I try not to be bound up by any one method.  Our learning journey is a constantly changing and growing thing.  I know that if I tried to follow some artificial educational plan written up by someone, I would fail miserably!  So whether by default or not, this is the way it is.  We should relax, but be sensitive to the Lord's prompting, I think. 

Wow- this is long- sorry!  Hope it helps a little....

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Unschooling is never done by default.  All unschooling means is a child led education with parental guidance.  For example:  We decided to do a field trip to the Indian Reservation.  So today we went to the library and got books on Indians, Indian Culture, Indian Games and Food.  We are also doing a field trip to a Hindu Temple so we are also studying about India and now she knows there is a difference between Native American Indians and Indians from India.
She is also participating in a Youth Police/Fire Academy and we are doing a field trip to the Police Academy and Museum.  She is practicing Listening Skills, Reading, Writing, History and Spelling.
We go to the Children's Museum a lot and she just thinks it's fun and games when in my eyes she is experiencing Science, Life skills, Math, Reading.
My daughter talks on ICQ with other children her age.  She is doing reading, typing, & spelling. 
I'm sure by now you get the picture.

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Hoo boy!  I could write a novel just agreeing with both Ladies!  LOL This is where I get into trouble with some people who like to label people and put them in boxes!  They go on about what unschoolers 'have to be' and on and on.... (Which is hilarious because unschoolers are supposed to be 'outside the box,' yet they want us to inside a box they create for us in order for us to be unschoolers....)
It's the reason I started using the label (drat it!  I hate labels!  We always seem to get so hung up on them!  :-Þ  )  "Christian Unschooler" to refer to our method of homeschooling.  Then I got uppity enough to even come up with a definition of what that is!  =:-O
Here it is (in my usual brief, succinct manner  :::::smacking Jeanne upside the head to keep her quiet:::::  <gg>):
"It isn't 'child-led learning.' Not strictly.
It's G-d led learning. If G-d is on the throne and in control of our families, then we, and subsequently our children, are being led by Him.
We are sensitive to His leading, and pray and watch over our children, providing love, reassurance, assistance -- whatever is needed, while they pursue those G-d instilled interests and develop those G-d given gifts to be used for His Kingdom and His Glory.
I can't think of a curriculum more perfect than one created for each unique child by G-d Himself to fulfill that child's life and calling."
(Yes, you caught me, Jeanne!  I cheated!  I took that right out of my article on my Unschooling Forum!  :-Þ  )

In Messiah,
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Someone else can much better answer this because I am more a relaxed than unschooling kind of person - I am one of the more highly organized ones!  BUT, it sure felt like an excuse last year when we had 2 weddings and moved a houseful of stuff to a new place and I just didn't feel like doing school work.  So Ben was truly unschooled but I kept feeling twinges of guilt - these ladies on this list helped soooo much to relieve that though.  Not doing much of anything in the line of curriculum generated bookwork, I can happily say unschooling worked just great for Ben.  I am not expressing myself very well here but hope you get the idea.  I personally think the younger your kids, the easier to unschool - every day life is new and exciting and there is so much to "absorb".  I also have high school kids and they are a bit harder  - although I guess I am unschooling them as they choose what interests them and go for credits in those areas.  (Nate is taking a popular music class at the community college and I will count it for history credit since he does not need anymore music credits).  It seems a bit more difficult at the high school level for me because we have a homeschool resource center that does give the kids credit at the high school level and then I have to drive them there and back and that gets to be a pain!  bye for now. 

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