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Unschooling: Using the World Around You to Teach Your Child
Two little boys playing at the water's edge

Would These Informal Learning Strategies Suit Your Child?

Unschooling is a philosophy based on the idea that children learn best in their natural surroundings and that the typical classroom stifles educational opportunities, creativity and independence. Unschooling has recently gained popularity with home learning groups, who prefer to allow their children to learn naturally as they experience the world, rather than through lesson, repetition and what they consider meaningless make-work projects.

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Unschoolers use informal learning strategies to turn everyday experiences into a chance to grow and discover. Parents use play, household chores, work days, and social interactions as lessons. Grading is also not something that is focused on in unschooling. Attention is paid to the value of the experience, rather than judging the child’s performance.

While these parents like to consider this an informal education, it is a philosophy of learning that has been adapted by several different private school educators, who also prefer to get their students out of the classroom and into the real world.

Unschooling Handbook

While the informal learning strategies that are highlighted in the unschooling movement work against the idea of creating an unschooling handbook, there are many different websites and unschooling groups that can offer parents new to the technique tips and hints about ways to help their children learn.

Parents considering unschooling should be aware of the stream of thought that argues that this type of education harms children more than helps. Some people argue that the unschooled are unprepared for the structure and social interactions of post-secondary education and the work force.

Arguments against unschooling suggest that although children are taught lessons through real-life experiences, they lack in actual real-world experiences, where teachers and bosses have specific expectations and do judge the performance of students and employees.

Christian Unschooling

Christian unschooling follows the tenets of the typical unschooler, but through the framework of a faith based lifestyle. Christian unschoolers aren’t just exploring the world, they are exploring God’s world, and how it works in the framework of Christianity. Children are taught lessons using such things as play and housework, but they are also encouraged to see the lessons of the Bible demonstrated in these activities.

Christian unschoolers recognize that they are not only training their children for participation in the world, but they are training their children to fulfill their Godly character.