It's official and I'm going to share it with you all. We... are an unschooling/roadschooling family. There, I've said it. I've known this for a while but just haven't shared it with everyone we know. What is unschooling? What is roadschooling? Unschooling is known to be an interest driven, child-led, natural, organic, or self- directed way of learning. You don't learn the traditional way by having text books, tests and things of the such. You learn by what interests you and seek out the information you are wanting to learn. Roadschooling, is basically learning while on the go. Some people live in RV's and teach their children while they travel (my dream) while others may move from place to place ! I consider us to be the crossovers... a little bit of both. We are not traditional in the way we school the kids and if I had it my way we would never be home but rather on the road and learning along the way. Finances and my husbands job of course, don't allow that at the moment but we don't let it stop us from taking our kids to as many places as possible to learn, see, and experience this little thing called life. There is no right or wrong way to learn. If you are living life... you are always learning.
When we "sit down" to school the kids it's usually to read and do some math. I use the term "sit down" lightly because I don't feel that my kids have to sit to learn. I don't need them to read the science books over and over when nature is right out the back door. Instead, we go to parks, museums, the woods, the computer, watch movies, etc. They learn everyday and they learn in a very hands on environment. We have memberships to aquariums, museums and zoos and the kids partake in many homeschool day activities when they are offered. Just last week they went to the Virginia Aquarium Homeschool day and learned about many extinct fish while watching IMAX. This week they will attend the Virginia Living Museum Homeschool day and take a class called "The Stars above Jamestown" at the planetarium as well as visit the many exhibits they will have. It's not like they aren't involved or they aren't learning. We just don't use a set curriculum. If they want the answers to something, they will find the way to figure it out just like you or I would.
Have you ever thought about just how much a child can learn with their own will to explore? Montana has been his own teacher on many levels. He comes to me alot asking questions on numerous subjects. He's very interested in geography, maps, flags and loves to travel. He remembers so much because of his hands on experience. How often do children get to experience things outside of the text books? He's been to Austria, Germany, the Domincan Republic, 26 states with two of those being Hawaii and Alaska. He can tell you what he saw in the Dominican Republic and was able to experience their way of life. It's important to my husband and I that our children are "learning" life. They need to know that everyone is unique and a gift from God. If my kids learn anything from life, I want it to be that everyone is different, we are all human and no one is any better than anyone else. They can't learn to love and give unless they experience and see it for themselves. When they are truly out there living and learning what they see and experience, that's when they are retaining the most knowledge and creating their life long memories. Those are the moments that can't be taken away.
We do alot together as a family, which is also an important factor in the way we school our kids. We go on bike rides, swim at the beach, go camping, play at the river and travel. And every one of those activities is a learning experience. For example, the beach.. they learn about rip tides, jellyfish, or learn an activity such as bodyboarding. When camping, they learn how to start a fire and what burns or doesn't burn, they learn how to cook, set up tents or even get a chance at whittling. Every single thing they do, they learn. It's just a matter of how you go about it. I like that my kids are getting to learn in a fun, loving and hands on environment. Not only that, I get to spend more time with them during the years that are so important and I get to create so many wonderful memories. Even though there are some hard and very difficult days, I'll never regret this time with them. The world is their playground and we are just helping them to explore it.
*handy dandy iphone at the Virginia Aquarium
Here are some the places we have seen and some of the things we have experienced while homeschooling. There truly is no limit to what you can explore and learn. Every situation, every place and every day gives us the opportunity to teach and share with our kids.