I recently answered a very long list of questions from a woman working on an article for a local magazine. We had met at an informal info session where I related the story of my oldest son's college application process to other parents beginning the "apres" homeschooling journey. I have realized, that my son's application process was a natural continuation of the "child-led" unschooling education that my husband and I made possible for all four of our kids. SOmetimes a scary and difficult method, it did allow my son to narrow his "search" down to only two schools (that didn't require SATs and happened to be tops in his chosen field of Animation), and this after somewhat belatedly(in 11th grade!) realizing that he would have to attend college as internships in his chosen field only went to college attendees. What he did have going for him, in large part due I think to being "unschooled" and allowed to spend countless hours pursuing his passion ("set-building"— first in blocks and later in computer animation) was conviction and certitude about what he wanted to be when he grew up. In the hope that other parents may derive some encouragement to allow their kids the same freedom, I am publishing below my answer to: > What does your homeschooling look like (ie. what's a typical day)? As the children get older it changes. For some reason their bedtime slips later and later...though Oldest Son now keeps more normal hours again. Second Son sleeps from about 4AM to noon....he loves the quiet and freed up internet at night. When they were younger, we would get up about 8 or 9, eat cereal, and then for many years we would have "Second breakfast" which was waffles or scones or pancakes or something extra yummy like that. The kids would start playing sometimes together. Lots of block towns and cathedrals with accessories made in paper and cardboard. There were banking games involving real estate swindles...as in one kid selling a space in the house to another, etc. Newspaper venders. SOmedays, we had somewhere to go...music lessons, or homeschool group activity or friends came over. The kids often asked me at night "what are we doing tomorrow?" and I would answer, "Oh, we are just home" or "We go to violin lesson at 3 or whatever." As they got older, I felt increasingly comfortable leaving them to teach 2 mornings a week, work in my studio for 2-3 hours, and also working at web-design work and blog, etc on the computer. There were occasional periods mostly with the oldest one and the third one when I felt compelled to try to teach them to read before they were ready, and so we would sit and try to learn to read a bit for a period of days and then my confidence in unschooling would return and I would let it rest. The 2 older boys both learned to read when they were 11. The 3rd one actually turns out to have a vision problem and is still working on it. My daughter taught herself when she was about 8. I read alot to Oldest Son until he was 11 (and leaned to read) I sometimes read chapters of Howard Zinn's "People's History ofUS" to Daughter(YOungest) and Youngest Son. Daughter(youngest) has sometimes asked for instruction in specific things like geography, so we go to the library and get books or look up info on internet... I sometimes pull out a math textbook with the younger two (12 and 14) and we do a few math problems on the kitchen table which is made of slate. We sometimes review times tables on car trips. Their older brother sometimes almost inadvertantly introduces them to math concepts and I will overhear complex discussions about the concept of zero, or somesuch. We do not have regular TV. We now have internet movies and all, but until Oldest Son was about 12, we only had 2 or 3 videos...the English claymations of Wallace and Gromit that he watched over and over.
- Unsuccessful Unschoolers (raisingthedough.wordpress.com)